email cost

The future and relevancy of the monthly newsletter, as I outlined in my column last month, may be in doubt – as the requirement for integrated and personalised customer communications becomes increasingly prevalent.

But let’s be clear, email marketing is an essential tool for brands wanting to drive engagement throughout the entire customer journey, so it should be omnipresent throughout.

Email is not only a key relationship building tool which brands can use to educate their customers – both existing and potential – about their brand; it’s also a key influencer in the sales cycle, particularly for retailers. A highly targeted email, sent to the right customer at the right time can have a profound impact on influencing the end sale. In fact, according to a survey we carried out in December last year, 40% of senior marketers cited email as a “very important” channel for generating additional sales revenue during the festive season, with 93% stating that email will increase overall consumer spending.

In the wake of the collapse of Blockbuster, Comet, HMV and Jessops this has never been more evident. Each of these retailers, have to some extent be crippled by their failure to invest in developing a digital business model and embrace changing consumer behaviours.

Marketers therefore need to be clever with their approaches to marketing. They need to ensure they are capturing the right customers at the right time, particularly when they are facing increasing pressure to track and justify the value of each element of their marketing campaigns to their sales departments in addition to ensuring they are delivering the highest level of ROMI possible. In light of this, it’s essential that marketers emphasise the value and positive impact that email and other channels – which may not be the final channel that customers are exposed to, before completing a purchase – have on the customer journey, to make sure they are not undervalued.

According to Google, 72% of marketers and agencies agree that marketing attribution enables better budget allocation across channels and even better returns. Attribution tools make it easier to create and compare all the different elements of your campaign so that you can enhance your future marketing activities and adopt a more responsive approach to your communication output, which is rooted in customer insight and behaviour. However, in order for this to be truly effective, marketers need to identify and understand what role each element of their campaign plays in the overall customer journey. To do this, they need to identify what the key touch points are that will influence a sale and which channels are best served to capitalise on these stages from the initial point of contact/demonstration of intent to buy, right through to the final sale. Ultimately, marketers need to look beyond a single entity approach and ask – Am I getting the most impact out of all my touch points?

Different channels will impact on different stages of the customer lifecycle at different times. Some of these may not have a direct link to the end sale but that doesn’t mean they are ineffective. Email for instance, is ideal for driving direct responses.

If you are looking to buy a new kitchen, you’ll naturally do your research online and hunt around for the best deal. If you’re a retailer like Homebase, with a specialist kitchen offering, you want to make sure you capture these customers at this key point of consideration. By targeting “kitchen clickers” with a triggered, personalised follow up email, Homebase generated a huge surge in engagement, with 48% of recipients booking hundreds of in-store appointments to meet Homebase design consultants.

So if you notice that you’ve had a number of visits to your website, why would you not send them a personalised email showcasing your latest products, along with an invite to book an appointment in-store? That email, may not be the final piece of marketing that touches them before they make a purchase, but it is still incremental in accelerating them further down the customer journey. The timing and relevance of this email is crucial. If it’s too generic, it will likely end up in the trash. If it directly responds to their needs and their behaviour on your website, it’s likely that they will want to engage with you further.

Ultimately you have to add value to the customer and make their decision process easy and simple. It may not lead to a sale, but at the very least, it should enable you to boost the number of in-store appointments and reduce the chances of those customers deflecting to one of your direct competitors.

Why do marketers need to identify the “Cost per Influence” of their email marketing strategy?

Traditionally, marketers have always needed to measure the success of all the elements of their digital marketing mix and the level of influence each had on the end sale. However, as channel proliferation intensifies and campaigns become more integrated, it’s impossible to pinpoint which channels are directly responsible for the end sale, mainly because customers can be influenced in a variety of different ways.

The solution to this is “Cost per Influence”. Rather, than looking at the cost per click of your online advertising campaign or the open rate of your email campaign, marketers need to look at the level of influence their campaign had across its duration. The email campaign may have led to an appointment being made in-store, but it might have been activity on social media, a display ad or a TV commercial that finally convinced them to buy. The email may not have triggered the final sale, but it was vital to the sales process.

Customers are now spread across multiple channels, the customer lifecycle is continually evolving and the marketing channel is now larger than it’s ever been, so it is important marketers don’t split the cost of running separate campaigns. Adopting “Cost per Influence” bridges that gap and provides marketers with a robust reporting mechanism which unites all their channels together, and allows for a fair system of evaluating and costing the impact of an entire campaign over siloed channels.

Mark Ash

Mark Ash


Mark Ash is Managing Director Teradata Interactive International.