E-mail technology provider Responsys last week announced the formation of the Individualized Lifecycle Marketing Forum (ILM), an industry group designed to promote personalized, lifecycle-based outbound marketing approaches.
ILM’s framework, according to Responsys CMO Scott Olrich, is built not only on understanding what stage in the sales cycle a prospect falls into but also observing and reacting to unique life events and behaviors such as online purchases, requests for information or Web site activity. The ILM Forum will provide research and best practices designed to help marketers succeed, Olrich said.
“Most marketers are one-hit wonders,” he said. “They build a campaign, deliver results and go on to create a new campaign. It’s sort of the renter model versus the owner model. You’re creating ad hoc campaigns instead of a strategically placed program that follows a prospect or customer.”
The ILM, which will have its second meeting in September, is promoting creation of triggered, automated campaigns based on actions such as an automatic messaging after a customer abandons a shopping cart or requests a white paper. The Forum will push to develop industry standards relating to each practice, Olrich said.
Responsys isn’t alone in its convictions. Take targeted e-mail campaigns, another best practice supported by ILM. Not only are they important, they also work, according to a report released this week by research firm Jupiter Research. The report—“The ROI of Email Relevance: Improving Campaign Results Through Targeting”—detailed Jupiter Research’s findings that targeted e-mail campaigns can generate nine times more revenue and 18 times more profits than so-called batch-and-blast broadcast mailings
Unfortunately, explained David Daniels, research director with the New York-based company, few marketers are using personalization tactics. For example, only 9% of marketers send out product replenishment e-mails and only 34% target their top customers with marketing designed specifically for them.
Marketers, Olrich and Daniels said, can move a giant step closer to the goal of relevant, personalized marketing by implementing a centralized customer relationships management system so marketing and sales have access to the same customer insights and needs. For example, they should consistently ask prospects and customers what interests them and what they need when they call or e-mail, and then build campaigns around those results.
When marketers address real needs, the results can be impressive. Jupiter Research’s report found that 60% of e-mail respondents who made immediate purchases did so because the e-mail they received contained information about a product or service they were already considering.
Although the ILM is still in its infancy, Daniels said it’s worth keeping an eye on. “Anything that helps to raise the marketer’s awareness of the tactics that improve relevancy and campaign results is a good thing,” he said. “To that end, this forum assists in accomplishing that.”
The ILM Web site (www.ilmforum.org) is expected to go live in September. Companies interested in participating can submit requests for information and inclusion on the site.