Email Re-Engagement Strategy #3: Email Engagement without the Email

Recent EMI blog posts discussed the growing importance of email engagement and the roles of preferences and pursuing new tactical approaches in re-engaging customers. But it’s also important to remember that there are many people who don’t enjoying reading and interacting with email. They get too many; they find it difficult to scan; they didn’t grow up using email and aren’t completely comfortable with it; they taint all commercial email with the “spam” brush—there are a variety of reasons for non-engagement with emails that are based on the medium itself. In light of this, it’s vital to explore alternatives to the low-cost siren song of email such as direct mail, telemarketing/call centers, and even social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

There are two important reasons to consider these types of media as possible solutions to the challenge of email engagement:

  • Any form of engagement that helps you maintain a viable communications relationship could, at some point, could open the door to email engagement.
  • Demonstrating responsiveness to the implicit media preferences of recipients will make them more favorably inclined to all your communications—if you continue to send them email they will be less likely to mark it as spam.

Obviously, because non-email media generally carry much higher variable costs, it’s necessary to be selective about when and how to utilize these channels. Targeting the highest value email non-engagers would be one logical approach. Segmenting based on the customer lifecycle is another possibility; for example, you could target those whose recent email activity has declined in the hope that they would be more likely to respond and then re-engage by email. Whatever the approach, it’s important to utilize non-email channels to maintain the relationship because the alternative (continued email non-engagement) will only result in a shrinking email list.

Relationship Marketing Is…

A client asked me today when does old-style direct mail turn into relationship marketing? I said…

  • When it’s about the whole relationship—web, emarketing, mail and human channels—and all of these know the customer equally well.
  • When all of these channels are enabled to deliver offers and services that demonstrate that customer knowledge.
  • When the focus is on the customer’s lifetime value, with measurement to match, rather than making a single product sale in a silo.
  • When the lines between service, marketing and sales are seamless and invisible to the customer.

Citi retail banking/card reorganization illustrates importance of having strategy and structure in synch

An article in Dow Jones Newswires yesterday reported that Citi has reorganized its U.S. retail banking and credit card operations, in order to improve sales and service.  The reorganization is based around customer segments, product development, and distribution.  In announcing the reorganization, Citi acknowledged that its previous structure was too product-centric.

In recent years, banks have emphasized their renewed focus on relationship banking.  These banks are now starting to understand that, to achieve their vision of relationship optimization, strategy and structure need to be in synch.  Benefits of having customer-based organizational structure:

  • The company has a much greater ability to anticipate, and react to, changes in the marketplace
  • Customer ownership rules are more clearly delineated
  • Product development starts from the perspective of the customer rather than the product
  • Employee compensation is based on the attainment of customer-focused metrics (acquisition, retention, lifetime value), rather than reaching sales goals for products that may adversely affect long-term relationships
  • Sales teams become more specialized around different segments, develop a more holistic understanding of customer needs, and can present more comprehensive solutions.  Training and sales support are also recast to focus on segments rather than products