2020 – The year we unlearned everything we learned

Five facts to bear in mind as we prepare for the New Year.

This is not surprising. In 2020, everything I predicted or predicted, will certainly not have happened. A mother who spread early in the pandemic sums it up best: “ Who made your five-year plans? It didn’t work very well.

We are all planning a better year. For a more interesting and innovative year. This would be a ‘normal’ year. It didn’t happen.

So I’m not going to waste time predicting 2021 trends for my final post this year. I don’t know of anyone who can do this with the hope of precision. Instead, I have five facts about 2021 that can help you plan your year.

Fact 1: Retailers should explore ways to market their customers based on the many changes in 2020

In the past, we have had predictable patterns of behavior in our customer base. We had a group of customers who always shopped in the store. The group that mainly orders online. The group that needs discounts to buy. We had models, segments, and lists of people you can always trust, X, Y, and Z.

Then, in 2020, everything was crushed, put in the blender, and the “mash” beaten.

The people who went to the store? They stay at home and shop online. Will they stay there? Now we have people who were never our customers, but now we are. Should we keep it?

How will marketers determine what types of experiences they will bring to customers?

Take me as an example. I used to go shopping. I am the cook of the house. I never shopped online because I loved going to the store and buying my stuff for dinner.

But I had to use Instacart for the past nine months and loved it. Now if they let me go to the store I’ll be back instead of using Instacart every time. But there may be days when I let Instacart do the work for me.

My purchasing model has changed. Now marketers must learn to anticipate these behavioral changes.

Fact 2: all of our data is constantly changing

These behavioral changes hinder the shopping cart. In addition, the United States will introduce a vaccination program where some sectors of the community can go where they want because they can and others cannot. Because of this change, the old behavioral patterns will no longer be correct.

Marketers regularly updated their models. “Normal” can mean a few terms. Now the pace of change has accelerated.

So no one can predict in a model what will happen in 2021 or help you figure out what to look for.

Fact 3: We “learn” what we know

To quote Yoda, this is going to be the year we will learn what we learn.

In a recent Sparkpost webinar, I said to the participants, “Nothing you’ve done before will work like before.”

That means going back and revising all the strategies you had and adjusting to the new customer dynamic.

• Your email address: Are you promoting your mobile app? Does your mobile app have new features or does it reflect the new 2020 policy?

• Monitor your automation. Are the times correct? My dealer sends me an email every 90 days to bring my car for an oil change. But since February I’ve driven maybe 1,600 miles by car. So I ignore these emails and this is a missed opportunity for my marketer.

• View your transaction messages. Do you manage e-commerce and stores, limit or retrieve your mailing list in-store? Have you refreshed or updated your return policy to reflect the changes in 2020? All of this information should appear in your transactional messages.

• What about your customer segments? You absolutely must update it. You may need new data in your ESP if you are repeating data from your CRM. And what do you think of the segments for 2021?

Fact 4: We need new models and data

If you do not have extensive templates that no longer have a CRM and are regularly sent to ESP, you will need to request new data. And you need to not only find a way to get the data, but also the best way to get it.

Recently, at an online conference on Deliverabilitysummit.com, where I attended the panel, someone asked me how to find the best customer information.

“Ask him,” I reply.

Progressive profile does not run as often as it should. If done right, it can produce good results. Yes, this information is provided by you and has an expiration date and a bias. This is because the information someone gives is usually what they want you to think, not who they really are, as evidenced by their behavior.

So link it to behavior to see if the information your customers provide is correct.

Here’s how to make it all work:

Create or edit an email address where you can ask the best questions in each message, based on the answers your customers have given in previous messages. This is essential for retailers whose business plans and models have changed dramatically over the past twelve months.

Fact 5: We need to help each other learn

As shocking as this pandemic era was, and while we struggled to find the right path, it reminds me of the early days of email marketing.

I started the email business in 1998 and opened a new company in Omaha, Neb where I ran email programs and affiliate marketing.

It was a stimulating environment because people shared what they had learned, what they felt, and what worked. I remember heated conversations with important people about abandoned cars and abandoned email pages and what to do about them.

What we could do was limited, but we learned from each other and shared everything in white papers, lectures, educational sessions, and lectures.

I hope the free flow of information and the willingness to share it with others will continue. This is no time to protect our secret sauce. Yes, you can keep doing what helps you succeed. But now is the time for marketers to talk, exchange ideas, ask questions and learn from each other.

What we will see now is a boom in the email industry: learning what is no longer relevant and learning again from our experiences and the lessons of our colleagues who will work in the new environment.

The base does not change. Email is still the most powerful digital channel. Together with the key elements – hosting, promotion, transaction, process, and automation -, these are the key elements that need to be secured. How to manage everything: here’s what you need to change and update.

Zoom in:

Also at the Deliverabilitysummit.com online conference, someone asked to get started with artificial intelligence and machine learning. My response was to call the ESP or email office and ask for help.

This is my answer for those who want to renew a program:

Ask for help. Do it today. Do not wait.

When do you usually take a break during the week between Christmas and New Year? Now is the perfect time to think about what you can review and improve on.

It will be a Heckuvian year in 2021. Those who survive will talk about the period for years.

I want to create a badge for each trader who survived until December. So, pat yourself on the back. You did a great job.

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