Email Marketing Strategy - Brand Alignment

This time, I am talking about aligning your program with your brand.

"Nearly a third of survey respondents (32%) said they have stopped doing business with at least one company altogether as a result of its poor email practices". says Merkle (Feb. 2009). This quote highlights a key point: your email campaign is often the first point at which a prospect or customer gets to interact with your business. Good practices early on project a positive image of your company's brand.

So, when considering brand alignment, consider the following:

  1. At a strategic level, your programme should be consistent with the brand direction 
  2. At an operational level, the content & layout needs to communicate the brand message.

As an example, take two different example approaches for a hypothetical luxury brand.  Imagine the company wishes to introduce a new model & buyers receive a personal appointment as part of the decision-making process.

Approach 1: Good Practice 

The company employs a focused email marketing strategy using a highly segmented, exclusive list.

Segmentation is by:

  • Geographic location - buyers come from Europe, the Middle-East, Asia
  • Previous purchase history - model, value, when it was bought & when the service warranty is due to expire

The email program consists of an initial awareness campaign to launch the new model, in multiple languages. This goes to clients who last bought 5 years ago, and who have previously purchased at least one other item. A second, follow-up, email offers a personal appointment, based on the prospect having clicked on a "request for further information" link in the first mail. This approach is likely to yield a better "click-rate" due to better targeting - it also fits with the brand, which promotes "exclusivity" & "personal service".

Approach 2: Bad Practice

This brand has a target list that is a mixture of high net-worth, regular customers & a lot of one-off purchasers. A program is implemented starting with an undifferentiated weekly newsletter, sent to everyone. Many recipients click the request more information link out of curiosity, but with no intention to buy. The manufacturer sends the same email, to the same list, again over the next 3 weeks due to a high "churn"* rate. The results:

  • Actual prospects are irritated by regular undifferentiated mails & they unsubscribe.
  • An increased cost to the company of losing contact with genuine prospects within the one-off purchasers reduces the campaign ROI.
  • The brand image of "exclusivity" & "personal service" is damaged, with the brand being perceived as "mass-market" & "impersonal". 

At this point you have looked at goals and established KPI measures - don't waste this effort by not managing your company's brand image in the eyes of your customers!

Next, we will talk about the idea of SWOT analysis as it applies to email marketing