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Why and How to Stop Batch-and-Blast Marketing

During the Thanksgiving sales period, we performed an audit of Black Friday/Cyber Monday emails sent over a 6-day period from 26 different brands. This audit was intended to understand holiday email trends and best practices, as well as to uncover opportunities for marketers to engage customers more effectively – especially during key shopping periods and high-traffic holiday sales. One of the most surprising things we learned was that, of the 26 brands we collected emails from, 11 sent more than 1 email per day: two clothing retailers, shockingly, sent as many as fifteen emails in less than a week. Additionally, the more emails a company sent, the more likely they were to resort to batch-and-blast – for example, a popular pet store delivered 11 total emails in six days, but only 4 different campaigns (each of which was sent to us several times, with only the subject line changed).

A survey by the Aimia Institute revealed that of 10,000 surveyed shoppers, 71% have closed accounts with brands because they didn’t like the communications they were receiving, and 56% now avoid certain companies or brands purely because they found their messages annoying. (And speaking personally, after conducting this audit I can think of a few brands that I’d be very glad to never hear from again, due to the repetitive messages I was inundated with.) Sending the same messages over and over again to try and weed out prospects might work for a few customers, but it isn’t as effective in terms of determining who your higher-value customers are and engaging with them in contextually-relevant ways – in fact, it’s actually more likely to drive customers away than encourage them to start shopping.

We looked more closely at the numbers from our internal audit and noticed that the brands that were doing batch-and-batch were fairly well-known, with several billion dollars in revenue each year. A deeper analysis showed us that:

  • 15 of the 26 brands we looked at see more than $20M in revenue each year.
  • 8 of those 15 sent the same email campaign multiple times within the six-day period.

We could play Devil’s Advocate for a moment – perhaps in worrying about making sure that costs of acquisition don’t exceed costs of retention, these brands are trying to utilize whatever low-cost method of communication will catch a customer’s attention. If a customer is likely to be a higher-value shopper, they should theoretically be responsive to the messages you’re sending, and they may end up self-selecting and demonstrating further engagement that you can then act on. In short, “throw as much as you can at the wall and see what sticks.” But especially for brands that are seeing more than $20M in annual revenue, it’s much more effective in the longrun to understand what each customer’s preferences and needs are, then personalize your communications to honor those needs.

It takes just one irrelevant message for a customer to hit the “unsubscribe” button, and that’s not a risk that any marketer can afford to take – annual revenue notwithstanding. In order to prevent prospective shoppers from disengaging before they’ve even made a purchase, marketers need to double-down on personalization efforts as early as possible. This means NOT delivering the same campaign multiple times, but instead being mindful about the preferences your customers are demonstrating with their initial explorations into your website. Every click-through is a new piece of information that you can use to better target your campaigns, and start those customer relationships off on a strong foot.

So what’s the solution? The key to delivering an effective campaign is understanding each unique customer’s needs and acting on that knowledge with the right message on the right channel. Segmenting your customers lets you deliver the most contextually-relevant campaign, based on where they are in their shopping journey and what kinds of preferences they’re expressing through their actions. And bigger brands actually may end up having a slight advantage here – when a larger company takes the care to deliver a personalized campaign, customers can see that they’re valued and are that much more willing to keep coming back.

To learn more about how to collect, analyze, and act on customer data to deliver more timely and relevant campaigns the moment a customer needs it, visit our website – or reach out to us directly at or at 877-658-2570.

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