Sophisticated Email Marketers Building Custom Campaign Management Tools to Heighten Customer Engagement

Matt Thelen, head of strategy, insights & research at SendGrid, believes there is an emerging trend among the most sophisticated email marketers.

SendGrid commissioned a study, Elevate Your Email Marketing With A Customized Approach, that was conducted by Forrester to evaluate the adoption of custom campaign management tools, and the challenges, successes, and opportunities that exist for businesses looking to create personalized digital conversations with their customers.

“What we found within our customer base is this emerging trend whereby the most sophisticated email marketers we’ve ever seen have been building their own custom campaign management tools in-house, leveraging their unique data sets and often using machine learning to power segmentation and content,” Thelen told Loyalty360. “They’re creating these custom tools to more effectively engage with their customer base. We saw the sophistication of some of these tools and we wanted to learn more about it and that’s why we commissioned the study.”

Founded in 2009, after graduating from the Techstars program, SendGrid has developed a cloud-based service that solves the challenge of email delivery by delivering emails on behalf of companies. SendGrid eliminates the complexity of sending email, saving time and money, while providing reliable delivery to the inbox.

Most of today’s marketers, however, still insist on prioritizing internal promotional schedules over customers’ wants and needs. As a result, many businesses still struggle with the ability to use their email marketing campaigns to create those critical one-to-one digital conversations that strengthen the relationship between brand and customer.

“We really focused on some of the trends and opportunities,” Thelen said. “We think this use case isn’t widely known in the market. We wanted to make sure that we could let the world know that this is a better way to do email marketing. What we found from a lot of our customers is they explored marketing cloud solutions and found those out-of-the-box solutions just didn’t quite fit the bill. They looked at comparative advantages that they had. They determined they could build their own email and marketing campaign management tool, but they didn’t want to deal with the email deliverability aspect. They see us as having a comparative advantage there. And with that, they get more brand awareness, better CX, and deeper customer loyalty over time.”

Thelen said SendGrid officials wanted to use the study to shine a spotlight on the emerging trends and understand exactly what is going on.

“What we see, especially with email marketing, is that every email marketer knows that the Holy Grail is highly personalized and highly contextual information, segmenting on a 1-to-1 basis, taking into account everything a customer is doing and providing them with the most relevant messaging,” Thelen explained. “We found that two-thirds of survey respondents have their customer data fully integrated with their email marketing platforms, but only a third could harness that data and make use of it in creating personal content. There’s a gap there. You have all this data flowing into different systems, but marketers aren’t actually able to fully take advantage of it.”

By building your own custom campaign management tool in-house with a partner like SendGrid, companies can actually solve some of those data problems in a much more effective way.

“If you’re a more sophisticated, digital-first company, if email is a channel of utmost importance for you to create a differentiated customer experience that is more tailored and more relevant, this is a great way to do it,” Thelen said. “We saw that more traditional companies actually have some form of this custom-built tool for email marketing. When I think of all the data sources we have, we really see the challenge that most marketers face is making meaning out of that data to personalize the customer experience. We didn’t realize how pervasive the problem is. One of the big insights we found was the companies that had built some custom capabilities were more likely to send more sophisticated emails such as triggered emails and drip campaigns, instead of just sending out blasts on a promotional schedule that aren’t tailored to the audience.”

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