Email Marketing: The Link Between Digital Transformation and Customer Experience

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Efrat VulfsonsCEO & Co-Founder of PR Soprano

Thursday, January 28, 2021

In an ever-evolving landscape of technological advancements and growing customer expectations, brands need to achieve customer-centricity to survive.

Article 7 Minutes

To achieve customer-centricity, brands must incorporate technology into all enterprise areas to put customer experience at the center of their digital transformation strategy. Email marketing enables a customer-centric digital transformation as it provides brands with a personalized, data-driven, 360-degree representation of the customer at every stage of their journey.

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation allows your brand to integrate different digital assets or capabilities across an entire enterprise. Deloitte’s successful digital transformation requires seamless consolidation of seven capabilities or digital pivots across a brand. These capabilities include making pivots to an adaptable business model that trains and hires digitally acute staff, implements automated workflows, prioritizes data-driven insights and offers a seamless customer experience. This research also demonstrates that brands who apply all these multiple capabilities across their enterprise can experience better product quality, greater efficiency, higher customer satisfaction and better revenue.

Digital transformation isn’t about technology

While advances in technology continue to exaggerate digital-driven disruption, customers are a more significant digital transformation catalyst. Brands will need to focus on a customer-centric digital transformation to increase advocacy and loyalty.

Findings show that a customer-centric brand can improve a customer's lifetime value (CLV) 1.6 times more than its counterparts. This requires developing a seamless experience with both digital and human touchpoints that helps customers understand and increase the value of their purchases.

Digital technology can provide a personalized, data-driven, real-time experience for a customer. When combining it with human interactions, brands can use this system to help rather than only sell to the customer continually.

How email marketing can drive a customer-centric digital transformation

Statistics show that 84% of customers state that the experience a brand provides is as important as its products and services. A customer-centric digital transformation focuses on delivering a seamless experience that revolves around a 360-view of the customer. In this way, brands can ensure that customers experience a digital-human exchange that offers value.

Email marketing drives a seamless experience as it encapsulates and utilizes data from all stages of the customer journey. It can also transform a product into an experience before purchasing through emails that builds a better reputation with shared values and your brand’s heritage. Then, brands can deliver relevant, personalized experiences during purchase with emails so that customers understand how your products support their lifestyle.

For instance, those that personalize their email content see an ROI of 44:1 compared to 36:1 for those who don’t. Finally, organizations can reinforce their brand’s value through post-purchase emails that maximize future purchases’ benefits to form a deeper connection. Furthermore, as email marketing is data-centric, it also encourages your brand to create collaborative teams that deliver a customer’s connected experience through various channels.

Gather customer data needed to create tailored messages

Email marketing can help brands collect geographic, behavioral, psychographic and real-time demographic data, enabling hyper-personalization. Hyper-personalization enables brands to go beyond tracking preferences to interpreting and acting on customer data in real-time.

Email marketing propels a customer-centric digital transformation as brands can use technology to decipher and create a more meaningful customer experience from a customer's data. This is supported by figures which state that 79% of customers are willing to share personal information in exchange for relevant experiences that demonstrate an understanding of their specific needs.

Similarly, Heathrow airport in the UK also uses hyper-personalization to distribute 130 targeted email campaigns every month. Using and interpreting real-time data enables Heathrow to deliver the right offers to the right customers at the right time while improving click-through and open rates by 25%. For example, as the average Heathrow rewards member spends around £140 per year, it can differentiate the look and content of the emails sent to these types of customers from standard retail customers to improve conversions and revenue.

Allows you to be more proactive in helping customers

Research demonstrates that 69% of customers expect connected experiences when dealing with your brand. Customers want to move seamlessly between channels; they want to use one to browse and then another to purchase. Personal customer data gathered from emails enables automated solutions like chatbots to learn to from human interactions to offer a better experience. This combination of human interaction and technology is customer-centric as it also empowers a brand's employees to provide a better-connected service.

For instance, Capital One's virtual assistant Eno uses conversational AI technology to understand more than 99% of a customer's questions and responses. Initially built in 2015, Capital One has continually used historical data and human interactions to make it more intelligent. If there’s unusual behavior in a customer's account, this tool also allows them to solve any app issues rather than needing them to change the communication channel.

Builds a better reputation with customers daily

Advances in technology have given customers demand experiences on their own. They’re now valuable stakeholders in a brand's ecosystem that rewards principles or values such as family connections, sustainability or religious beliefs. Rather than only competing on price, product quality and customer experience, email marketing allows brands to differentiate on purpose.

Brands can use an email marketing strategy to spearhead customer-centric digital transformation by telling a story. Build trust and loyalty for your brand by being transparent about your manufacturing process or showing proof of the attention given to ethical and supply chain issues.

For example, eBay created mock emails as part of a study that tested whether sustainability benefits could encourage customers to sell more pre-owned items. Its messaging stated how the reader could help save the planet by selling more. As part of the same study, McDonald's also tested whether customers are more likely to recycle if they were empowered by language and images to contribute to a good cause.

While both testing programs showed that participants viewed brands better after sustainability messages, McDonald's test was more successful. This was because they used imagery in addition to language to reinforce its purpose through emails.

Provides accurate marketing metrics needed to transform an enterprise digitally

With 46% of customers preferring email over other channels, brands can appreciate the importance of email marketing for a customer-centric enterprise. This statistic indicates that brands need to track emails more frequently, so they embrace agility when achieving digital transformation. Research supports this by showing that a brand can achieve a successful customer-centric digital transformation by rewarding agile employees that continually develop new ideas and opportunities to improve areas of the enterprise.

Monitoring email metrics like your open rate lets you know whether your subject line is engaging and relevant for your customers. A lower click-through rate can demonstrate that a brand's customer won't take action as the content isn’t valuable or personalized. A higher unsubscribe rate also indicates that a brand needs to think about revising an email’s content.

For instance, Natera uses historical customer data and technology to send emails at the optimal delivery time for users who opened, received and engaged with their emails. They discovered that engaged users were 2.5% more likely to open emails and 23.9% more likely to click through to its content. By increasing the open rate and click-through rate for engaged, unengaged and new customers, Natera experienced an 85% rise in new contacts from email marketing in the first six months.

Final thoughts

Growing customer expectations and advances in technology will continue to accelerate a brand's digital transformation strategy. Brands need to become hyper customer-centric by using technology to serve, target and personalize products and experiences. Email marketing can help brands achieve customer-centricity by utilizing personal customer data to create more personalized messages and be more proactive and helpful. Additionally, email messaging can also bridge the gap between digital transformation and customer experience. It gives brands the agility to improve practices for customers in all parts of their enterprise.

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Efrat Vulfsons

CEO & Co-Founder of PR Soprano

www.prsoprano.com/

Efrat Vulfsons is the CEO & Co-Founder of PR Soprano and a data-driven marketing enthusiast, parallel to her soprano opera singing career. Efrat holds a B.F.A from the Jerusalem Music Academy in Opera Performance.

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