A good e-mail campaign is no longer enough to deliver success to b-to-b marketers. Today, marketers are expected to coordinate e-mail with other channels and perform the necessary analysis to make adjustments on the fly. Multichannel marketing is hardly a new concept, but it remains an enormous challenge for many marketers.
Integrating e-mail across media was a topic of much discussion at the Direct Marketing Association's first Email Evolution Conference, held in San Diego last month. In a session on the convergence of search and e-mail, for example, Brian Ellefritz, senior manager-global direct marketing at Cisco Systems, said that putting search and e-mail together can be effective, but it still entails a learning curve.
“We're trying to revisit [our customers'] buying processes and figure out which channels are being used at which point in the process,” he said.
Integrating such media as search, direct mail and e-mail can potentially get and keep the customer's or prospect's attention, and move them along in a buying cycle, which could then result in a sale. Chris Baggott, founder and CEO of Compendium Blogware, added that search and e-mail are measurable.
Wacom Technology Corp., a pen tablet manufacturer, won the Email Performance Award, presented at a luncheon during the conference, for its “PowerofthePens.com” campaign. Created by eROI, an e-mail marketing agency, the campaign incorporates e-mail with a robust social community, which included a blog.
“This is a brand new concept for our company,” said Diane Moore, marketing manager at Wacom. “Not only do they love our products and want to buy our products, but they want to talk to each other.” Moore said the campaign was so successful that the company more than doubled its revenue.
The biggest challenge to incorporating e-mail into the multichannel marketing strategy is that, typically, customer databases are siloed. Usually, the larger the organization, the harder it will be to integrate customer information.
Cisco faces that challenge. “We are a big company, and we're a complex marketing organization,” Ellefritz said. “We've got legacies [legacy databases] like you wouldn't believe.”
He said it is difficult to combine e-mail, search and other media channels with, for example, behaviorial data.
It also requires a change that extends companywide and involves breaking down departmental silos to allow people from different parts of the company to work together, said Andy Goldman, senior partner- senior director, North America, e-mail and digital dialogue services at OgilvyOne Worldwide.
Jim Champlin, director of e-mail at Allstate Insurance Co., said integration is becoming a requirement because customers expect marketers to understand their preferences and communicate accordingly.
“I don't want to send mail to anyone who doesn't want it or won't respond to it,” he said. “The way to do that effectively is to give customers rich preference capabilities” so they can tell you through which channels they prefer to receive your messages and how often.
Determining preference management can only be accomplished by analyzing those multiple marketing channels.
Enterprise marketing management systems offered by companies—such as Aprimo; Eloqua Corp.; Vtrenz, a division of Silverpop; and smaller companies such as Bronto Software—are becoming more popular as the demand for sophisticated cross-channel campaigns and measurement and analysis of those campaigns on the back end grows. The EMM systems provide the technology backbone to tie marketing efforts together into one central system.
“It's a timeless challenge,” said Joe Colopy, CEO of Bronto Software. “You have these different systems that do different things. It's a lot of work to get multiple systems to talk to each other.”
In the end, it all has to gel.
“Measurement metrics must connect to the big picture of consumer behavior,” said Aaron Kahlow, managing partner of BusinessOnLine.
“If we don't have these things aligned with a consistent message, you miss [the] boat of reaching these customers,” he added. M