Have Your Email Campaigns Undergone Cephalization?

Have Your Email Campaigns Undergone Cephalization?Many of you don’t know that at one point in my life, I was planning to become a veterinarian. So, I was a science guy for quite a while, did the premed thing, etc. My love of science hasn’t stopped. Recently I was reading an article that discussed the evolution of the human brain and what we can learn from it. Since I’m a bit of an email nerd too, I have a habit of bringing things back to email marketing. Stay with me.

The article talked about how jellyfish were among the first group of animals to evolve neurons, the cells used to transmit messages from one part of the body to the other. The problem with jellyfish was that the neurons were arranged in a diffuse net across the body. There was no central processor. Then came cephalization — the clustering of neurons at one end of an animal. This resulted in the formation of a central processor, which communicates with decentralized sensory organs, such as the eyes.

The challenge with many email-marketing programs that we’ve reviewed is that they have become tactical machines for sending emails. There’s not necessarily a problem with the code of the emails, the rendering of the emails, or how A/B split tests are conducted. They’ve become rote engines that have become another checkbox for a marketer’s plan — “Yup, sent that email blast.” (This term in and of itself can indicate an issue.)

So the question is: Has your email program undergone its own cephalization of sorts?

Is There a Central Strategy?

Creating a central strategy for email marketing is critical to your success with email. It’s important to know your explicit goals for list building, revenue generation, engagement, and retention. When we conduct our 10-Point Assessment for a client’s email-marketing program, it’s not uncommon for us to discover that their list hasn’t grown much in over 12 months or that the number of inactive email addresses has grown upwards of 75%. If you have a strong strategy in place, these types of issues can be considered and addressed before you are faced with a turnaround challenge.

Do You Have an Annual Planning Process in Place for Your Email Efforts?

Getting results from email takes much more than sending the emails out every day or every week. The big question is whether you are sending out the right emails and getting the desired results. A proactive strategy will help ensure that your entire team thinks through your specific goals and how you will meet them. This becomes the guiding principles of your program.

It will define what you must optimize for improvement. It drives the testing that you do. It gives you direction for the optimal types of people to add to your email list. In the article about the brain, the author mentioned the “Hobbit” brain — a small brain that exhibited higher intelligence. This is a reminder that a highly functional, small department driving email marketing can easily outperform a competitor’s large, dysfunctional group.

Are There Measurable Goals Relating to Conversions?

When you create your strategy, be sure you attach measurable objectives to it. We all know that tracking open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates are important, but do you know how they support your goals? Which are most important for your goals? Do you have a problem with open rates? Perhaps the issue is with your list. In that case, figure out exactly how much faster your list must grow to reach your objectives. Then, figure out the plan and tactics to get the list growing at that level, with realistic signup rates from each of the many list-building tactics you may be considering. Use a tool such as ROI Goalsetter® to help you establish your high-level financial model for revenue, profit, and return on investment (ROI).

Does Departmental Communication Ensure Strong Coordination among the Groups Involved?

Another area in which we have seen breakdowns is in the communication across groups. The rest of the body can’t possibly work if the brain isn’t speaking to it. To deal with this problem, make a single person accountable for results. That leader then must ensure that the goals and strategy are communicated to all involved. When you get everyone who is producing your emails on the same page, any team member can become empowered to uncover ways to meet the overarching strategy. And, beyond your email-marketing group, be sure you have clear communication with your social media, advertising, public relations, direct mail, and other marketing groups.

So, don’t be a jellyfish. Be the high-performance powerhouse you are capable of being.

Please share your thoughts and feedback or how a centralized strategy has turned around your results.

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