Today’s digital marketing initiatives are fragmented across a broader range of channels than ever before. In addition to established digital channels like blog posts and paid search results, a whole universe of niche apps and social communities have added tremendous complexity to the challenge of connecting with each customer in ways that resonate.
But throughout all this transformation, one digital channel continues to deliver stronger impact than any other. Email’s ROI holds steady at 36:1 — with some studies citing even higher returns — and it’s not hard to see why. While social platforms come and go, most customers continue to check the same email inboxes multiple times a day for years, if not decades.
The sheer consistency of email offers unparalleled opportunities for building meaningful long-term customer relationships.
However, that’s not to say all email campaigns are created equal.
Just a few years ago, even the most advanced email marketers were limited to a relatively basic toolkit: subject line personalization, audience segmentation, A/B tested campaign variants, and timed sequences of emails. All these tactics were orchestrated into an email marketing strategy designed to foster precisely pre-planned customer journeys. Yet despite all that effort —
The vast majority of carefully planned emails end up in customers’ spam folders and trash bins. What’s going wrong, exactly?
Let’s examine that question more closely — and discover how a more intelligence-driven approach to email automation and campaign strategy can deliver the ROI you’ve been looking for.
Audience segmentation eventually hits a point of diminishing returns.
When you’re working with an audience of millions of subscribers, it’s obviously impractical to hand-design an email for every one of those people. At the same time, sending the exact same emails to every subscriber on your list is a guaranteed way to end up in the spam folder. Is it possible to find a happy medium between these two extremes?
For the past decade, most email marketers have answered that question with the tactic of audience segmentation. By grouping customers according to their ages, locations, income brackets and interest areas — then designing a separate campaign for each of those audience segments — marketers have aimed to boost the relevancy of each email sent to each subscriber, and avoid the spam filter as a result.
This segmentation-based approach worked extraordinarily well — for a while.
Problems began to arise, however, as audiences came to expect increasingly tailored personal communication — and grew increasingly sharp at sniffing out personal-sounding communication that was clearly designed for a mass audience, rather than specifically for them. Today, the “cheap” feeling of half-baked personalization has become an annoyance that makes many customers tap the “Trash” button.
The good news is that a new wave of cutting-edge personalization tools — like the email marketing solution developed by Coherent Path — enable marketers to advance beyond segmentation and into email automation, by solving the problem behind the original problem.
Intelligent email automation develops a self-optimizing journey for each individual subscriber.
The core problem, remember, has always been the challenge of balancing personalization with time and resource investment. You’ve got millions of subscribers, but only a limited team of marketers with a finite amount of time to design an email campaign.
Not even the hardest-working team of marketers, working in around-the-clock shifts, could possibly design millions of unique email series tailored around every customer’s tastes — much less learn from each of those customers’ reactions to every piece of content, and adapt every one of those hand-tailored campaigns in real time.
But this is precisely what Coherent Path’s solution does every day!
Instead of starting with a pre-planned journey for each customer segment, Coherent Path’s software begins on a much more fundamental level, by treating every image, message and offer in your content library as a potential component of an email.
Coherent Path’s email marketing solution then works within guardrail rules you’ve specified — for example, “Always feature winter boots in emails about coats” or “Never show Gucci and Prada products together in the same email” — to assemble an utterly unique series of emails for every individual subscriber on your list.
Individually personalized campaigns deliver magical moments of customer connection.
What’s more, Coherent Path’s solution actively learns from each interaction with every customer, refining and adapting its approach in real time as that customer’s tastes and aspirations evolve. The result is a self-optimizing email journey for each subscriber on your list — all for less investment than you’d traditionally need to design a single campaign.
Companies from Orvis to Neiman Marcus have already achieved revenue increases from 4% to 22% using this exact approach — and along the way, their customer engagement levels have skyrocketed. That’s because these retailers’ subscribers feel understood on a level they’ve never experienced in any traditional email campaign. By taking steps beyond segmentation, and turning each email into a unique piece of content hand-tailored for every subscriber, intelligent email automation solves the problems behind yesterday’s email marketing challenges — forging meaningful customer relationships that last far longer than the end of a campaign.