Integrated Email Marketing part 1 - Stand alone or integrate
Email may be one of the oldest digital marketing channels still in use, growing out of the early internet. It has endured because of its ability to adapt to new digital circumstances, and because it continues to prove its worth in conversions and on the bottom line. Recent DMA return of investment (ROI) figures show an increase from €35.71 last year to €54.43 this year, which indicates that not only is email marketing still alive, it is resurgent.
However, email marketing is no longer a stand-alone activity, but something that integrates well with other channels and platforms. It is merging with ecommerce and other marketing tools to support personalized and automated experiences across channels. The combined approach offers a whole new valuable potential for increasing revenue.
Most organization are aware of the opportunities, but are having difficulties executing because their email marketing and ecommerce are working separately as two isolated siloes. The consequences of not exploiting the full potential are inadequate marketing efforts and missed sale potential.
Looking at the numbers, recent analysis found in the Email Marketing industry Census 2015 shows that on average, companies are attributing 23% of their total sales to the email marketing channel, compared to 18% in 2013. This equates to a proportionate rise of 28% in just one year. The number confirms email marketing’s reputation as a trusted marketing channel that pulls its weight and consistently delivers a positive return.
It is however important to note that the positive development is driven by marketers who succeed in incorporating new email marketing trends and techniques – and not by those who rely on status quo.
A recent survey by Email Vendor Selection shows a common denominator among professional email marketers, who all agree that the key to succeeding in email marketing comes in a user-friendly email marketing setup:
“Consider the Cessna pilot who climbs into the cockpit of a Boeing 747: That pilot will be confronted with a lot more dials and gauges, and not be sure how to fly the bigger plane. That’s what it can be like for marketers when confronted with new platforms that offer an increasing number of features along with an increasing amount of complexity.” - Marco Marini, CEO of ClickMail Marketing
This raises a series of challenges for companies using external or stand-alone email marketing providers, as they are forced to handle multiple systems that continue to evolve as separate units – meaning that integration becomes more and more complex. Companies using an integrated email marketing setup on the contrary, may not experience the same challenges, since new technology is simply added to a single platform that automatically combines content, ecommerce and marketing.
Before looking at the different techniques, here is a brief recap of the differences between a stand-alone and an integrated setup.
Stand-alone or integrated?
The choice between an integrated vs. a stand-alone platform often depends on professional requirements, ambitions and budget. The following illustration shows the architectural difference between the two setups:
The stand-alone is typically a cheap and efficient choice for companies who only wish to establish a basic email marketing presence with occasional AB split testing and basic personalization. However, for companies who want an online marketing machine to support their business goals and processes, any stand-alone solution becomes insufficient at some point. It would require the stand-alone software plus a lot of plugins, maintenance and integration.
In comparison, the integrated setup offers a single and comprehensive platform gathering all customer data and content in one single place. The equation is pretty simple – less time spend on technical setup means more time for executing and improving your ecommerce email marketing.
Here is a case based on Dynamicweb customer data that shows just how many hours can be saved and utilized on a yearly basis by using an integrated setup:
The numbers clearly show the advantages of not having to spend time cross-checking products and prices, copying content or updating user data between different platforms. All the processes can be automated in the integrated setup, which gives you extra time for executing your ecommerce email marketing and increasing your sales.