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Email continues to be the marketer’s workhorse.

Thanks to continuing innovation, email is also a multi-trick pony enabling a variety of tactics that can up the effectiveness of campaigns.

The data proves this. The Direct Marketing Association’s 2015 Response Rate Report found that email campaigns conducted with house lists achieved an ROI that was double that of social media and almost 50 percent greater than direct mail.

Moreover, a 2017 Consumer Usage and Behavior survey by Adestra (watch this space for the release of that!) found that close to 34 percent of all respondents reported having signed up to receive emails or text messages from companies seeking their business. That’s up from 28 percent in the 2016 Consumer Usage and Adoption survey.

But marketers can’t enjoy these benefits without some sophistication. Email blasts may have their place, but top marketers are moving to what we call “First-Person Marketing.” First-Person Marketing is the next evolution of one-to-one marketing. It incorporates an individual consumer’s preferences, behavior, interests, stage in the customer lifecycle or journey, touchpoints and other data points to craft an email experience that makes the recipient feel understood and valued.

Here are the elements of a successful First-Person Marketing strategy:


List segmentation is the cornerstone.  After splitting your email list into multiple groups containing consumers with similar characteristics, you can target each segment with a different email. Lists can be segmented in a variety of ways, and how you go about it depends on what’s relevant to your business. However, many companies are limited in their ability to create discreet enough segments by a lack of data. Therefore, the ability to access data from your other marketing channels, as well as third-party data, is critical for success.

Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, are what allow you to import data from other systems so that you have enough data for successful segmentation.

One of our clients, BlindsToGo, for example, uses list segmentation to target users who are at different stages of the purchasing journey. If a consumer orders samples or catalogs, he is likely high up in the purchasing funnel, so the company will send informational emails. Once he gets closer to purchase, BlindsToGo begins to send promotional emails aimed to get him into the store or into the online ordering process.


Automation and behavioral triggers

Combine better segmentation with advanced marketing automation, and you have one of the biggest game-changers for email in recent years. While automated emails to confirm a purchase or registration are common, modern automation allows you to send emails that are triggered by a variety of behaviors, such as accessing a particular piece of content or visiting an area of a website.

You can also send emails based on logic: If certain conditions are met, a particular email will be sent.

NASCAR uses logic-based emails to further segment fans who opt into its newsletter. For example, it sends a weekend preview newsletter every Friday. Fans who open that email are added to a new segment that receives a weekend recap email on Monday.

The open rate for the preview email is high, and the open rate for the Monday recap email is even higher, reflecting the greater interest of those who open the preview.

Best-of-breed platforms

In order to execute a solid, First-Person Marketing strategy, you need to have an email partner that can support these tactics. Here’s a checklist of features we think are essential:

  • Detailed, granular reporting
  • Responsive templates that automatically adapt to mobile
  • Integration with databases for segmentation, automation and triggering
  • User-friendly interface
  • Continual evolution of the platform to meet changing market needs
  • A responsive customer service team

Don’t be left behind; make sure your email strategy and technology are ready for the era of First-Person Marketing.

To learn more, download our latest report in partnership with ClickZ: Email and the Age of First-Person Marketing.