When I started the discussion around the email maturity model with my wife, Madhumita, her instant reply was, it is usually applied in the context of the stages of business growth. She continued, are you sure about the email maturity model?
Yes, my understanding about the maturity model is very simple. I think, it is used to determine the growth of anything be it business, campaign, or idea. A maturity model can be viewed as a set of structured levels that describes how well the behaviours, practices and processes of an organization, business, product, process, services, campaign, etc., can reliably and sustainably produce required outcomes. The logic of maturity model, hence, can be extended to email marketing as well.
There is no good or bad reason to get into email marketing. The reasons can be as simple as the fact that others have got good results out of email marketing services, and you have decided – let us also do it. One smart sales guy pitched you the benefits of email marketing and you decide to try it out. Seriously, in this stage everything that you do with email marketing is an ad-hoc activity be it content, target group, technology or any other email marketing tools and hence, the success is also ad-hoc. It’s not repeatable and it’s not sustainable.
This is the time when you should think of sustainable email marketing activity and may be the email maturity model. It is to make you less dependent on individuals and more dependent on processes.
Two of the most important element of any communication is understanding the products or services, which you are offering and the target market or target audiences for the same. These are very basic and anyone who understands basic of marketing knows it very well. I still believe that for every product or services you still need to define the same and reinforce it every moment. It is like you know that you love your wife but still need to tell her ‘I love you’ again and again. I call it identifying ground zero.
Once you have identified ground zero, the immediate big thing for the success of email marketing is to understand and acknowledge the value of content. The role of content is to be distinct and talk to the audience directly. There is great amount of noise pollution over internet and mobile. It is important for the communication manager to design the content which breaks through the noise online. In my view, the core of the communication should be on solving customer pain points. It should be about telling the story around the product or services, and not about it. You should always know what to talk?
Once you know what to talk, you need to work on the story; the story that connects with the target audience. The content of story, in my view, should always be systematic, logical, technically aligned with the brand road-map, and business goals. The email marketing story should always be part of the integrated communication plan.
Now that you know what to talk it is important to tell it in style. These days the marketing style is just not important, you also need to back it with logic. The logic comes with gut, and lots of marketing analytic. This is the time when you have to be focused on creating a systematic email marketing processes, which include delivery technology, customer relationship management and marketing automation tool, marketing analytic, etc. In short, it is the time to identify and implement email marketing infrastructure. Now that you know how to usage customer relationship management and marketing automation it is also important to integrate it with other digital marketing and social media tools.
The email marketing needs to be measure at each stage of campaign and you need to measure the success of each piece of email campaign. It is important to understand the marketing goal, communication, growth, and measurement. At this stage, you will realize that every system, technology, measurement and process is well in place.
The email marketing maturity should always take care of the email impact and purpose, create relevant content, integrate email with other marketing process, monitor email hygiene, deliverability statics, and email optimization. It can be said that email marketing has stages of implementation. It can be defined as ad-hoc, structured, engaged, managed, and optimized. I have realized that for some businesses, getting from stage one to two is a reasonable goal. For some other set of business, it is easy to start from stage two and progress to the next level. Yet for another set of business, it would need to be done in a very structured way – to engage and manage the communication effectively.
I think, unless you understand what the stages are all about, it’s hard to design email marketing strategy.