For contemporary email marketers, big data management is a critical tool for segmenting email lists and delivering relevant content offers. However, a recent survey of 1,300 email professionals indicated a serious ineffectiveness in how marketers apply big data assets to decision-making. VentureBeat’s analyst Jon Cifuentes described the issue as an “education problem,” citing issues with both major vendors and the data management skills of email marketers.
According to the subject matter experts at TowerData, the most commonly-reported data management issues among email marketers include:
- Centralizing multiple sources of big data
- Managing storage, application, and access processes
- Applying real-time data for best results
For organizations who already have storage, application, and access managed via a data management platform (DMP), the cause of poor email marketing metrics is most often connected to data quality. Tower’s research indicates that brands too often rely exclusively on first-party insights, or outsource their data assets entirely to a third-party vendor. While the addition of the vendor’s third-party data can enhance understanding of contacts, these organizations are often sacrificing data recency for the sake of perceived simplicity.
Email isn’t Getting Simpler
Marketing experts have acknowledged that yielding positive returns on email marketing campaigns is growing more difficult, and the average open rate is just 16.5% across industries. Data is a “common denominator” for email marketers, but the companies who see positive returns are those who are bold enough to look beyond first-party insights and seek out solutions beyond the dated offerings of many major vendors.
Delivering email marketing messages that earn opens, click-throughs and sales requires an up-to-date understanding of prospective buyer’s needs that is typically only possible through a real-time Data Exchange Platform (DXP).
How Real-Time Big Data Impacts Email Marketing Metrics
For modern marketers, applying real-time data to email marketing efforts is among the top five ROI-driven priorities discovered in The Relevancy Group’s research. Additional studies indicate that the majority of marketers believe real-time data will have a bigger impact on email metrics than any other channel. By participating in a real-time Data Exchange Platform such as BDEX with a variety of vendors in an open marketplace agreement, brands can significantly improve their segmentation and targeting efforts without needlessly complex data management processes.
According to Adobe’s Mickael Bentz, real-time data is just as critical as technology when it comes to effective email marketing. For execution of high-return email marketing, you must look beyond internal understanding of customers to create “context-aware” communications. Important sources of real-time data, in addition to your own CRM insights, should include:
- Surrounding context insights, such as weather or stock status
User web analytics from desktop and mobile devices
- Behavioral and event-triggered data, including career searches, loan applications, and transactional insights.
For organizations who utilize a marketplace such as BDEX to purchase insights directly from vendors, improving your email marketing campaigns requires a simple, two-part process:
- Obtain: By integrating a data exchange platform directly with your database of emails, you can select from a variety of real-time data insights driven by your contact’s web behavior, transactions, behavioral-triggers, and other factors. You’re able to purchase as much — or as little — as you wish, ultimately depending on your budget for the email campaign.
- Match: Matching data insights with your contacts can be managed within your data management platform, allowing you to refine your segments and develop targeted offers in real-time.
Instead of relying on a third-party vendor to develop segments based on months-old search habits or other factors, marketers gain the ability to create real-time segments for truly targeted offers.
If your data insights are limited or aging, there’s a good chance that typical data management technologies aren’t enough to yield best-of-class email marketing practices. By shifting towards a real-time segmentation and offer delivery model, you can ensure you’re sending the right messaging to the right contacts, at precisely the right time.