In today's omnichannel world, consumers are not as predictable as they used to be. They are mobile and engaged around the clock, and they receive and open email—often the same one—across computers, tablets, smartphones and other devices. Their interaction with brands, as a result, may occur more often. But email on its own is not enough in a multichannel and multi-device world.
Email's power is its relevancy, which occurs when the message, timing and customization are predicated upon what you know about a customer at any given time. To capture the consumer's attention at a specific moment in time and leverage email to lead consumers to their next action, today's email must connect consumers with a brand at various points in the customer lifecycle, across all touchpoints.
Email can motivate, inspire and engage, and be a vital part of a rich customer experience—but rarely on its own. Here's how Sony Electronics used email in combination with Pinterest, a social network that allows members to "pin" images to their digital "pinboard." The result was a unique view of the consumer achieved by engaging in real-time cross-channel marketing.
Case in Point: Sony Electronics Integrates Email and Pinterest
In an effort to drive engagement with consumers and grow the Pinterest channel, Sony Electronics created a digital campaign integrating email and Pinterest. The goals were:
- use email to spread awareness of products beyond the email channel;
- educate subscribers about Pinterest and the Sony Pinboards to encourage use, and;
- leverage social content to increase engagement in email.
The campaign kicked off with a Pinterest-dedicated email to Sony email subscribers promoting the boards, educating consumers who were not familiar with Pinterest and inviting people to "pin" their favorite products. With a subject line calling out the social channel, this email campaign drove one of the highest open rates for Sony Electronics, at 67 percent above goal. The launch email doubled Sony Pinterest followers and drove a clickthrough rate of 16 percent over goal. A few weeks after the first deployment of the Pinterest dedicated email, a resend of the email was sent to those consumers who did not open the first email. The resend accounted for another significant jump in followers, with approximately 15 percent subscriber growth.
After the introduction of Pinterest in email communications, twice-monthly emails included visuals on various product lines with "Pin It" buttons next to each image, keeping Pinterest top of mind and making it easy for subscribers to add Sony products to their own Pin boards. The first of these promotional emails was the new VAIO Summer Line-up Product Launch. The inclusion of the "Pin It" buttons in the launch email showed strong customer engagement with 3,000 clicks to pin, and the campaign produced 172 percent of the revenue-per-delivered email goal.
In addition to promoting Pinterest and Sony Pinboards, the social content was brought back into the emails by including a Pinterest "most-pinned" banner image with the top-pinned products every month, providing social proof that the products have buzz around them and encouraging greater interest in those items.
The strategy promoted a virtuous cycle—the integration of Pinterest "Pin It" buttons in email drives social engagement on Pinterest; the social content from Pinterest drives interest in products and delivers revenue.
The campaign continues to increase email engagement, create opportunities for customer engagement through Sony's Pinboards and drive revenue for the Sony brand while it underscores the social opportunity of email as part of an integrated marketing strategy for all marketers and brands.
Jeannette Kocsis is executive vice president of digital engagement at The Agency Inside Harte-Hanks, based in Yardley, Penn. Contact Kocsis at (845) 339-0022 or via email at email@example.com.