Making Your E-Mail Marketing More Centralized

Oct 28, 2008 12:37 AM  By

Companies rely on e-mail for a variety of customer communication functions ranging from marketing to transactional and customer service. But these messages are often sent without any knowledge of each other, much less coordination.

That’s because the various departments in charge of customer service, marketing, promotions, sales and e-commerce have historically been responsible for managing their own e-mail messaging solutions. But this siloed approach is inefficient and costly, not to mention potentially confusing for customers.

As a result, e-mail centralization is emerging as a new paradigm to overcome these traditional challenges. By implementing a single, centralized solution for marketing, transactional and service-based e-mail, merchants are able to access all of the customer data necessary to optimize outbound customer communications with superior targeting and relevancy.

Equally important, merchants are able to control the branding and frequency of messages, which allows them to prevent customer frustration from over-mailing or confusion stemming from multiple styles, formats and other branding discrepancies.

A centralized solution for customer e-mail delivers the visibility and data integration required to enable that coordination. By having all customer e-mail managed from one centralized system, e-mail marketers can also better coordinate sales and marketing initiatives.

For example, a marketing message could contain a cross-sell offer for a recent purchase or include an account update. Additionally, by having visibility into customer service mailings, you can avoid sending a promotional message to a customer currently resolving an issue with your company.

From a technical standpoint, having one centralized system reduces the IT burden for ongoing maintenance and management. Limiting the number of systems to manage can result in significant resource savings, which can be applied to other marketing initiatives. Consolidating all outbound customer e-mail on one system also facilitates the training process for system administrators and end-users, making marketing teams more self-sufficient.

Managing and maintaining integration with customer databases and other enterprise systems is also easier when e-mail is centralized. With this approach, IT only needs to develop one set of integrations instead of various connections between multiple e-mail applications.

Likewise, a centralized approach gives the organization the visibility and control needed to deploy and enforce an e-mail strategy across all departments and channels.

But the most compelling argument for centralization lies in the results. A recent Forrester Consulting case study on The Parent Company uncovered several significant benefits the company has experienced by centralizing its e-mail marketing for eToys, BabyUniverse and eight other online brands via a centralized on-premise solution, including a 253% risk-adjusted return on investment (ROI).

With such impressive results, it’s not surprising that many savvy marketers are implementing a centralized e-mail strategy to enable enhanced customer experiences and increased online revenue.

Ryan Deutsch is senior director of market strategy at StrongMail.