Responsys tailors e-mail marketing solution for Liz Claiborne

For a successful e-mail marketing campaign, off-the-rack just won’t do, fashion retailer Liz Claiborne Inc., recently found out.

The New York-based company recently enlisted application service provider (ASP) Responsys of Redwood City, Calif., to develop a highly individualized e-mail marketing program to replace and existing system.

Basically, Liz Claiborne wanted to be able to maximize customer visits to in a manner that would compliment the conglomerate’s online marketing campaign.

Previously, the firm was able to capture site visitor data and behaviour through its Web analytic tool but had no way of interfacing that information with its e-commerce platform to carry out an effective e-mail marketing campaign, according Jeff Hassemer, director of product marketing for Responsys.

With the use of Interact, Responsys’ on-demand, multi-channel hosted product, Liz Claiborne is able to incorporate both functionalities into the Responsys platform, Hassemer said.

By integrating commerce platform, Web analytics solutions and off-line direct marketing channel, the company is able to “leverage existing information to send highly relevant messages that immediately catch each customer’s attention,” said Suzanne Norris, vice-president of e-commerce for Liz Claiborne.

“We can reach out to our customers on an individualized and personal basis,” she added.

Responsys positions its product and marketing strategy around the concept of “individualized lifecycle marketing.”

“It’s all about context,” says Hassemer, who believes marketers must know when to send the relevant message to a prospective customer.

Traditionally, clients go through a cycle that’s defined by stages such as: prospective customer; new customer; active customer; loyal customer and return customer.

Customers, he said, react differently to marketing messages depending what stage they are at. “A marketing message that is compelling for a prospective customer may be highly inappropriate and ineffective for an active customer.”

By keeping track of a site visitor’s, access point, search selections and other online behaviour, Interact is able to determine at what stage of the cycle the individual is at. A report is then forwarded to the e-mail platform which sends out the appropriate marketing message.

Responsys also develops anti-shopping cart abandoning programs.

According to the e-mail marketing firm nearly 70 per cent of online shopping carts are ditched by online consumers at the last moment. Only 15 per cent of Websites do anything to get those customers back.

Should an online shopper decide the drop a shopping cart, the program will enable companies to e-mail that client after three days with a better offer on the refused product.

“We try to time it so that the customer perceives a bargain rather than suspect an element of Big Brother is at work,” Hassemer said.

The program can also be geared for cross-selling. Products complimentary to a purchase can be offered just before a customer pays.

According to analysis firm Jupiter Research LLC, this type of targeted online marketing is more effective than massive e-mail blasts that subject consumers to a seemingly endless barrage of unsolicited unwanted messages in their computer inboxes.

The research firm estimates that online consumers will receive more than 6,390 unwanted e-mails per year by 2008 as spending on e-mail marketing in the U.S. rise to above US$ 6.1 billion.

A large number of those messages will be immediately deleted as consumers reach a saturation point. To keep marketing e-mail from the thrash can follow these handy pointers:

Ensure relevance – Engaging your audience in more relevant communication increases net profits by as much as 18 times more than broadcast mailing, says JupiterResearch. Tailor your message depending on what stage of the buyer-seller relationship your customer is at
Make time for makeovers – Take the time to review your e-mail template. Upgrade the subject lines, lay-out, action buttons, text links, icons, testimonials and footers. Incorporate multiple points of personalization on outbound communication
Build subscription – The average consumer will sign up for only 10 company e-mails. Take advantage of every customer contact point to build your master opt-in e-mail database. Market leaders grow their list by 20 to 30 per cent each year with aggressive use of web traffic and easy sign-up forms
Increase touch points – Determine the best combination of touch points (postal mail, e-mail, telesales and website landings
Use segmentation – Segment your prospect/customer list based on behaviour, preferences, demographics of person
Test – Try different strategies to find out what works and what doesn’t
Audit – Continually evaluate your e-mail marketing program. Beware, most e-mail service providers count an e-mail as delivered even when they land in the junk mail folder or corporate filter holding tank. Ask provider for comprehensive reports that spam triggers such as content and coding issues. Set up white lists with ISPs and ask customers to add your address to their address book

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