I have a database of 100,000 contacts. I am running a promotion. I set up a campaign, enter in a punchy subject line and then hit the "Send" button. Viola! I have just reached out to all of my contacts to inform them about a superb offer. Job done. Who says batch and blast doesn't work?
Ten years ago, this approach worked. And on a rare occasion, it still does. However, marketing professionals, as a whole, can expect the batch-and-blast email approach to deliver more negative than positive impact to a business.
Looking at those 100,000 contacts, do we know, who (a) recently completed a purchase, (b) updated their preferences, (c) recommended us on social media, (d) checked out the store and left an inquiry, or perhaps, (e) had an open support ticket with us? If the answer is no to any of the above, this spells trouble.
So, if you’re thinking about taking a batch-and-blast-approach, what do you need to consider before clicking “Send”? The key is to fully understand your customers and follow them on the entire consumer journey, then re-assess to decide if the batch–and-blast approach is the most appropriate form of outreach.
When dealing with unhappy customers who may have an outstanding ticket on a recent purchase or another historical issue, the last thing we need is to continue sending them marketing communications on the hot deals and exciting offers we have in store. Not only are they not going to give a hoot about the promotion, we can expect a handful of them to take to social media and start ranting about their unpleasant experience. If we don't manage this carefully, it can become the catalyst of a PR disaster. In such situations, there's no doubt batch-and-blast is going to invite a lot of trouble for the brand and the marketers.
Picture this. Christina, a shoe lover, got herself a pair of sneakers. The following day, she received an email from the brand with a 20 percent off coupon for that exact same pair of shoes. Did we just blow the relationship? For sure! This highlights the flaw in the batch-and-blast email strategy: it lacks in personalisation and is not intelligent enough to recognise factors about the customer’s existing relationship with the brand.
Just because the brand can afford to give every customer a 20 percent discount doesn't mean it should do so for every customer and without a real strategy behind it. If the intent is to do a win-back or a re-activation, this offer does come across as a nice gesture. However, let's not forget that on the other end of the spectrum, we may also have several advocates or loyalists who have developed such a strong an affinity with the brand that discounts no longer exert a significant influence on their purchase decisions. Doing batch-and-blast emails with the same 20 percent discount messaging to every customer in this instance isn’t best email strategy.
From a marketing-communication perspective, the biggest risk with batch-and-blast emails is the potential damage associated with it. It can can a real and negative impact, and it does not deliver on the brand’s promise of a great customer experience.
These mistakes are ones that modern marketers can learn from and avoid as long as there is an unwavering focus across the organisation to deliver the most consistent, most relevant and most timely communication to each and every customer.
As the saying goes, marketing is about the art and science of understanding and influencing consumer's perception and behaviour. Data and technology can help to address science. The art is all about you and your customer’s mindset.
Charlie Loo is principal sales consultant at the Oracle Marketing Cloud.