Email marketing

Experts weigh in on how emails can facilitate two-way communication

Emails may have dominated marketing initiatives for a while now, but some marketers and business owners are unsure if they remain relevant.

However, research shows that the email channel remains a top growth generator for businesses, with a whopping 89% of marketers identifying it as their major lead-generation strategy.

A recent Litmus study revealed that email marketing will remain the most relevant marketing channel. But it needs to be more balanced to strengthen business deals, with two-way conversations and powerful lead generation.

At a recent panel discussion, industry experts like Bhuvaneshwaran Velusamy, Director- Revenue and Growth, Myntra; Priyan Agarwal, Director – Marketing & Growth, 1MG; and Rajesh Jain, Founder and Managing Director, Netcore Cloud; deliberated on how emails could facilitate two-way communication while empowering marketing and driving profitability. The panel, on ‘The top email trend for 2023 – Bringing two-way conversations into Emails’, was moderated by Madanmohan Rao, Research Director, YourStory Media.

Email marketing in 2023

Jain began by speaking about the relevance of emails and how they continue to grow from strength to strength as a channel. “Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is the latest idea and a Google tech that’s been around for a few years, making emails interactive. The idea is to think of the email itself as the destination site – as a property equivalent to the website or app. So AMP can bring up web-like experiences within the mailbox.”

According to Jain, the biggest trend of 2023 is the idea of ​​interactive emails, bringing in interactions in what really has been a one-way channel.

“This is important because one of the biggest challenges that most brands face today is the cost of new customer acquisition, which is rising by almost 40-50% year on year. AMP can solve the problems of attention recession, and data poverty, as it can drive a 300,000% increase in actions inside of the email, and also help collect a lot of first zero-party data, for omnichannel personalization,” he said.

Emails for branding

Cookie deprecation seems real with Google declaring that it will phase out cookies from Chrome in a year.

Third-party cookies have been the primary mechanism for building and measuring digital ad campaigns, and this is bound to lead to a shift in the critical balance between adtech and martech.

Considering the above concept, how can we evaluate emails as a primary identifier?

Velusamy said it is exciting to witness the multitude of possibilities on AMP, adding that brands can “actually reach out to me at a place and time and I’ll be comfortable interacting with an email with that medium” and that they can “add and deliver more value”.

“For example, a brand or a platform like Myntra is looking at using emails to groom customers over a period of time. How do we do that? Certain customers are deeply engaged with Myntra and then there are those who require a lot of information before they start browsing. All of this cannot be sent on a push notification or put on a banner ad in digital marketing. So we use email as a predominant medium to kickstart,” he said.

Customers may not be fully “developed” with the shopping intent, but marketers can still tap their curiosity and get them to look at the catalog or a new gamification introduced into the platform. This means email is a slightly more updated channel to understand the customer better.

Amid changing consumer needs and priorities, what could be the possible paradigm shifts in email marketing with reference to the marketing domain?

In this context, Agarwal felt all brands should import the strategy of smart content integration in the emails. All brands are gradually picking up AMP, but combining it with smart email would give it an extra edge. Personalization in the domain of email marketing also helps understand the customer’s past behavior, while reflecting on the present and creating effective products for the future.

“Apart from these, automation and understanding of AI, leading to the self-learning mechanism is important. Customers can be targeted better, at the right time, and at the right place. Besides, they would be hooked for a longer period of time. These are a few paradigm shifts that I’m seeing in email marketing. It’s not dead; it needs a revamp,” he said.

Email marketing and AMP

How is AMP making email marketing more significant in today’s times?

Velusamy said global brands have used AMP to create user-generated content. They are now asking customers to come and create content on the app, but this creative work requires a lot of effort on the user’s part.

“Now, imagine having something custom-made for me just to input certain things, and create my own tailor-made T-shirt or trouser design, etc. I see tremendous possibilities in being able to take user-generated content activation forward, with capabilities in email, because it’s such a meaty connector channel in the personal lives of consumers. So yeah, this is a relevant demonstration of what email can add to the user journey,” he said.

The evolution of AMP emails as a website or app can make all customer interactions happen within the inbox. So, how will emails perform as a channel in this scenario? How can things be improved with respect to emails giving the best ROI at this point in time?

Agarwal said the last couple of years has primarily categorized email marketing in a transactional manner. Brands should try to leverage all features of an emailer along with AMP to understand customers better.

He added that ROI is also important and if brands are able to deliver real value in the consumers’ life, the ROI of that particular channel will definitely go up, reducing the cost or increasing the Loan-to-value-ratio (LTV).

“I think these are the two ways in which brands should leverage all features of email marketing and help the channel evolve,” he said.

With a $38 ROI for every $1 spent, conventional email has held its position as the most lucrative marketing channel for a very long time.

But recent developments like cookie deprecation and a realigned focus on profitability are fueling the rise of stronger and better AMP emails. It’s clear that we can anticipate exciting times and breakthrough innovations in the world of email marketing.

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