It’s the Message that matters…

“Our department is overstaffed and we don’t have enough to do,” said no email marketing manager ever.

Or at least no email marketing manager I have ever known has said that. And as an email marketing vendor-and-technology consultant, I have known a lot of email marketing managers.

In some ways, email marketing is like a hobby. You can spend as much time and money on it as you want. But as in all things business related, email marketing resources are limited and must be prioritized.

For years, email marketing pundits have been critical of so-called “batch-and-blast” email marketing and have been predicting its demise at the hands of targeted emails made possible by list segmentation.

But as someone who knows a whole bunch of email marketing managers, I can tell you batch and blast is alive and well.

Is it because so many email marketing managers are stupid and lazy? No. Most email marketers I know are insatiably curious and highly energetic. And they are certainly not afraid of hard work.

So why is batch-and-blast email marketing still so prevalent? Because it works when executed properly.

Pundits have also been predicting the end of email newsletters, but they aren’t going away either. And again, it’s because they work.

The predictions of the death of batch-and-blast campaigns and email newsletters are both based in part on the flawed premise that people’s inboxes are overloaded and if they haven’t already, they’ll begin tuning out marketers who send the same content to everyone on their list.

The predictions are also based in part on the supposed deliverability mandate that email marketers must strive to increase engagement. But that’s a debate for another post.

The predictions are also generally delivered with a certain amount of finger wagging, as in: “If you’re still sending batch-and-blast emails, you’re doing it wrong.”

And the great irony here is that these predictions are usually delivered in email newsletters sent in batch-and-blast campaigns.

Denigrating the tactics used by so many email marketing managers from on high doesn’t help. It just serves to illustrate that the pundits don’t live in the same world as the email marketing managers who actually push the “send” button.

This isn’t to say segmenting and targeting email doesn’t work. It sure does. But engaging in one tactic doesn’t necessitate the elimination of another.

If an email marketing manager has the resources to manage all the creative and collateral that go with segmenting and targeting, they’d be crazy not to try.

But batch and blast does not deserve the negative connotations associated with it.

People’s inboxes are only as crowded as they want them to be. And when someone hands over their email address, there is an implied contractual obligation for the marketer to deliver value.

And that, in a word, is what works in email marketing: value.

Whether it’s comes in the form of a discount offer or a newsletter, delivering value means focusing on quality and attention to detail in the subject line and throughout the content.

As the old saying goes, everybody’s favorite radio station is WIIFM, or: “What’s in it for me?”

Successful email-marketing team members keep the philosophy behind that saying—if not the saying itself—in mind throughout the process of crafting offers, writing subject lines and crafting content and collateral.

If the resulting campaign resonates with recipients, they will respond. The tactic behind the message is secondary.

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