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Using big data in email marketing to millennials

August 25 2015

Sara Frey

Even though inboxes are overloaded and the average person receives 70 emails a day, millennials prefer to communicate with brands via email.1,2 This means that companies have a lot of competition when it comes to reaching their audience. And for entertainment and experience-based brands seeking to engage Generation Y, standing out in the retail heavy, promotion-filled world of email marketing is especially important.

If your email marketing isn’t working, it’s not the platform that’s the problem. It’s your email.

The first step in creating a campaign that generates results is understanding what your audience wants from a branded email. In comparison to Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, millennials expect a lot from their digital experience. They expect it to be seamless with their in-store experience. They expect it to work appropriately on their phone. And they expect companies to know what they are personally interested in. We have found that big data – and the insights we are able to draw from it – makes all the difference.

FOLLOW THE DATA

We encourage our clients to use their data whenever possible to inform their email marketing strategies. All the data that is currently being collected on your customers – whether online or on-location – can be used to improve communications and nurture a stronger connection. In addition to providing information on your customer base as a whole, big data can offer unique insight into individual preferences as well as the typical customer experience. When you work with an expert who can dig deep into the data and extract relevant information, these insights translate into goals and content strategies that increase ROI.

Chart the customer journey

When you understand the path a target customer takes to becoming your ideal customer, you are invincible. After that, it’s all about recreating that experience. Say you work at a sports venue and the ticket data shows that customers aged 18-25 who attend two games a season are 70% more likely to buy season tickets. If you follow the data, your next course of action is clear: do everything you can to get those who attended one game to return for a second. With benchmarks like this in place, you can develop targeted emails that will help convert customers into your ideal customer.

Personalize your content

As the communication lines between companies and customers become more direct on sites like Twitter, it’s important that companies bring this approach to other channels. Communicating with customers on an individual level in email is key to strengthening your connection. When you demonstrate knowledge and understanding of personal interests and experience, you show your customers that you’ve been listening, that you value their time, and that you care about what they care about. A common email marketing strategy for retail brands is to remember what a user was looking at and offer related suggestions.

This personalized approach can work for entertainment brands too. When a restaurant connects credit card data with an email address, you can begin to see patterns like what day a guest is likely to visit or what they typically order. If you follow the data, you can create targeted content that addresses personal interests and purchase behaviors. An airline, for example, can send a targeted email campaign to a customer who takes a trip every July or frequents countries in Central America. By personalizing the content in the email, you make a shift from mass communication to personal communication. And every millennial appreciates that.

Brands that demonstrate understanding of past experiences and celebrate their customers’ individuality perform well with millennials. Sending a mass email every now and then isn’t going to cut it. If you really want your investments in data collection and email marketing to pay off, you have to take a step back and figure out how they can work together. Need help figuring it out? Get in touch!