Marketers also should be careful about making sweeping generalizations, such as lumping all customers and prospects into the same category. You may have only a small cross section of your prospect list subscribed to your e-mail newsletter, and those who do subscribe may be more or less savvy than the average customer or prospect. This means that if you base decisions only on the metrics that you have in front of you, you may be missing broader trends.
Those executives who aren't comfortable letting e-mail metrics shape their R&D or sales efforts may be willing to use them in the customer service realm. Marketers can track what people are clicking on as well as what types of in-bound e-mails they are seeing to help shape online FAQs as well as help direct customer service scripts, said Ben Rothfeld, global director for marketing strategy at marketing services company Acxiom.
For example, if you combine e-mail metrics—such as which terms or subjects are most commonly clicked on in a newsletter—with Web analytics, you can create a flow chart of other issues or questions a customer may have.
Marketers can then use that information to help reduce the number of calls coming in, McDonald said.
“We have one client that found it was getting a significant number of calls into the call center about really basic stuff,”he said. “The marketing team used e-mail to educate those customers by creating an FAQ and using e-mail reminders. That marketing executive's CEO loves him because he is saving the company a lot of money. An e-mail is 1/65 of the cost of a telephone call.”
But none of this is possible, said Ivan Chalif, director of e-mail product marketing for Alterian, a provider of integrated marketing software, unless you've defined what you want to measure. E-mail metrics are the start, but there's much more out there, especially with platforms that let you bridge e-mail, Web and database data, he said.
“If the marketing team is keen on driving and measuring the most revenue from their e-mail campaigns, tracking opens and clicks is not going to mean much to them when they have to validate their efforts,” he said. “You have to have access to metrics that confirm or refute the effectiveness of your program. If it's revenue that's important, it's revenue you have to measure. Imagine going to your VP of marketing's office and she asks how much revenue a campaign generated and all you have are clicks and opens data. That's not going to be a fun conversation.”
GO BACK to the Email Marketer Insight Guide 2009
Originally published July 20, 2009