For most consumer-facing businesses, the most promotionally-challenged Marketing channel is Email. As our benchmark report illustrates, marketers promote discounts across both owned and paid media channels including print, broadcast, and digital. However, email has historically been a popular vehicle for delivering offers to consumers relatively quickly and cheaply.
The low cost of email has tempted marketers to get lazy with their offer optimization strategies and resort to “batch and blast” tactics as the ROI tends to be pretty good for that channel. Such that marketers don’t feel to optimize Marketing ROI as much as they do with expensive paid channels. However, what they really should be focusing on is Sales margin, which is not typically considered.
The RevTrax Benchmarking Report illustrates how many brands are over-discounting in the email channel. That is largely driven by the fact that most marketers aren’t tasked with gross margin or profitability targets. Plus, batching and blasting emails with a 20% off discount offer is much easier operationally. Desired results via email discounts are achieved only when campaign planning and execution are just as easy as blasting off discount codes. The effort should be time-neutral at minimum, and ideally time-saving. Time is after all the most precious commodity for marketers.
That’s where AI technology and offer management platforms (OMP) come into the picture. Given the amount of promotional Sales volume-driven from Email Marketing and the 2x over-discounting in that channel, the opportunity is tremendous. So as a marketer, where do you start?
Here are a few logical steps to take immediately
- Identify the discounts you are currently running in email (likely a handful) and the broader pool of discounts you’d like to run. If in doubt, ask your OMP to provide a selection of offer structures and presentations that will likely work for different types of customers.
- Identify the current process for batching and blasting generic offers or dynamic coupon codes via email campaigns – which campaigns? How often?
- Collect the batch of unique coupon codes or barcodes per unique offer desired in the pool. This would likely come from previous internal sources of Marketing, Finance or Promotions. The big difference is you are asking for a more diverse set of offers and associated promo codes.
- Load those offers and codes in your OMP, configure sharing or security rules, and grab HTML code to embed in email campaign via existing email provider.
- Build your emails as usual without spending the time to mail-merge offers and codes with the mailing list. Embed the code from your OMP wherever you want the discounts to appear within the email relative to other content.
- Alternative to step 5 is for transactional emails triggered via online orders, but online pick up in-store orders or shopping cart abandonment emails. Same as step 5, embed OMP code within transactional emails.
- When emails are sent either via batch campaign or singular triggered email, customer opens email and sees the dynamically rendered discount offers selected for that customer based on AI models developed by your OMP. The desired outcome here is to ensure each customer sees the lowest possible discount offer required to purchase via a selection of offers pre-loaded in the pool.
- Ultimately, the outcome is to drive the same or more sales with fewer discounts given and less time spent on offer selection and targeting strategy and campaign creation/operations.
These steps will help marketers understand the path to time-saving and increasing margin on promotional emails, which are the majority of emails sent to customers today. Leveraging your OMPs dataset and AI capabilities to optimize discount value is the way to making it easier to executing smarter offers. Follow these steps and you will kiss goodbye the days of batching and blasting emails to save time. New are the days of greater discount intelligence with minimal effort. Thank you Mr. OMP for helping me deliver more profitable sales outcomes for my company and still make it home for dinner!
With email as the largest promotional Digital Marketing channel, perhaps with the exception of the brands’ website, there are many simple ways to reduce excess promotional expenses without sacrificing sales. Email is an ultra-customizable communication vehicle. With broader personalization use cases on the rise within most organizations, the biggest opportunity to save money and deliver customer experience value is through discount optimization.
Email marketers are the unsung heroes of Marketing teams and deserve the credit for transforming the historically broadcast channel into a highly customized customer experience that results in an increased bottom line. Email marketers are in a unique position to do both and ultimately lead heroic results for their organizations. Calling all heroes!