April 21, 2005, 12:00 AM

E-mail campaigns reaching for greater relevancy with more personalization

Greater relevancy equally more campaign success, says Bigfoot Interactive’s Della Penna. Toward that end, four trends are emerging in how retailers approach their e-mail strategy today.

Marketers are continuing to use permission-based e-mail as a means of driving customer relationships and marketing ROI, but the rules have changed since the earlier days of “blast and batch,” says Michael Della Penna, CMO of e-mail services provider Bigfoot Interactive. “To succeed, retailers must build an e-mail strategy around customers’ needs,” says Della Penna.

To achieve that, retailers are increasingly seeking to make e-mail communication as customer-specific as possible. Among various new approaches they’re using, Della Penna identifies several trends. Among them is the use of dynamic content and special customer appreciation offers. “E-mail offers an incredible opportunity to build a dynamic conversation and unique user experience, but only if you leverage the data, intelligence and expressed preference of your customers,” he says.

Other retailers are giving their e-mail communication greater relevancy with personalized gift reminders and alerts. “By implementing an e-mail reminder program, retailers have the opportunity to build ongoing relationships with customers by offering a benefit-oriented program that has convenience and service at its core,” says Della Penna.

A third trend in e-mail marketing is getting micro-level targeting into upsell messages, notes Della Penna, who adds, “Collaborative filtering based on past purchases offers retailers an opportunity to recommend relevant products and services to customers on ongoing basis.” In a final trend gaining popularity -- timely event-based messaging – e-retailers are beginning to move beyond the typical holiday e-mailed offers to launch event-based offers around specific products, such as new DVD releases, based on a customer’s expressed preferences, interest and purchase history. "Pre-order capabilities and order taking online also allows these retailers to be the first to tie up the sale, before competitors swoop in,” notes Della Penna.

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