Understanding the Evolution of Email Marketing

By: Gilbert Bailey, VP Beanstalk Engage at Heartland

Major brands are leading in consumer experience technology and, in turn, creating expectations around how to engage with customers. Customers expect that a brand understand their preferences and treat them individually. Expensive, complex email marketing solutions previously designed to allow large, enterprise organizations to segment and target messaging by audiences are now accessible to small businesses—affordably and executional without a designated marketing team.

Do you remember when your clients put out a bowl at their cashier or host desk inviting their customers to drop in their business cards to build their customer email lists? Not only were they limiting their list to card-carrying customers, they were opening up their business to promotion fraud. They had no visibility to the customer’s average ticket or lifetime value or their purchasing habits. Email marketing has evolved into a more robust marketing tool where businesses can target messages to their segmented audience, tie promotions to the customer and utilize data analytics to measure success.

Most email marketing providers offer pre-designed templates, opt-out list management and open and click-through rate tracking. When their Point-of-Sale (POS) system is connected to their email marketing, they have a broader opportunity to create targeted marketing campaigns based on data-driven business needs. They’re able to segment their email list and send out a campaign based on frequency-of-visit or a-b test different offers to see which drives the most top-line revenue.

Coupling email marketing efforts and a customer database with a POS allows a business to make smarter marketing decisions. By bringing these enterprise level analytics down to the store level, you can empower location managers to customize promotions with local store marketing. Running a specific promotion may perform differently in a suburban area versus downtown. You’ll be able to see these trends and plan future campaigns accordingly.

When emails are sent to a customer list with a coupon or deal without being tied to a POS, you lose the ability to target, track and control redemptions. Customers can forward their email to friends and family who then take advantage of the offer. Customers can also print multiple copies of a coupon to use again and again. In addition, the coupons open up temptation for employee fraud, charging customers full price then entering the coupon code and pocketing the difference. Now you can issue a coupon and when it is redeemed by the customer, that code becomes invalid and cannot be reused by anyone, whether customer or staff. Reduction in employee coupon fraud alone can pay for these platforms.

Targeting an audience, protecting promotion integrity or using analytics to measure success and plan the future through an integrated email marketing, customer database and Point-of-Sale system allows your clients to market smarter.

Look for our upcoming article on email marketing best practices to show how your clients can send targeted, professional email campaigns, no matter the size of their business.