How Email Marketing is Responding to the Shifting Power of the Consumer
The use of email as a direct marketing solution continues to grow rapidly due to its affordability. At the same time, however, email as a marketing medium continues to struggle to find its voice with consumers. The low price of email marketing, a monetization model that encourages vendors to send too much email on behalf of their clients, and the general increase in messages to consumers has only made it more difficult to drive email effectiveness and help email maintain relevance.
Despite these factors, some email service providers (ESPs) and vendors in the email marketing space are successfully demonstrating new capabilities and approaches that are driving results for clients. From email optimization to integrated email marketing, these providers are proving that the right mix of capabilities and services can drive marketing and sales results through this oft abused channel.
Email and database marketing systems
Most talked about are the suppliers who package traditional direct and digital marketing services with email capabilities. These suppliers are realizing that email delivery sold by managed service providers as a “one-channel pony” just won’t do the trick any longer. So they've acquired, built and grown traditional offline and online database/direct marketing capabilities in an effort to increase the breadth of their product offerings.
In the last few months alone, several traditional large and midsized ESPs have acquired database marketing shops in an attempt to provide packaged offerings that bring the ESPs into other channels.
Email's integration with sales and marketing systems
Some service providers are attempting to more tightly integrate with clients’ hosted and outsourced marketing and sales systems to provide more interactive capabilities. Through highly touted application programming interfaces and other technologies that originally were established to push customer and prospect lists to outsourced ESPs, vendors are pushing for tighter integration with operational systems. So when a customer calls to question a bill, an automated email can be sent from the ESP asking about service levels and suggesting upsells and/or cross-sells.