“The next generation email marketing platform is mobile”

by Sohini Bagchi    Jan 28, 2013

Kalpit Jain

Email marketing is becoming one of the most effective ways of promotion and client retention. In an exclusive interaction, Kalpit Jain, COO, Netcore, tells Sohini Bagchi of CXOtoday why email marketing is becoming a powerful medium for businesses to connect and engage customers and what leads to its success.

What are the key trends you are observing in the e-mail marketing space?
Email marketing has evolved over the past couple of years, however it is only recently that this form of marketing is been understood as a marketing tool – both by companies and their customers. The phenomenal growth of mobile devices is currently helping in the growth and development of mobile internet and this is a game changer. Today a good number of people are reading email on their smartphones and other mobile devices. The other trend is engagement. It is increasingly playing a greater role in email marketing making the tool more targeted and consolidated. In the past, email marketers sent bulk emails to customers resulting in spam emails that did not serve the purpose. Today a lot of attention is paid to analytics and customer intelligence. It has become essential to collect data about the existing and potential customers and to use the data for targeted, dynamic content as part of the entire email marketing program.

In India, which verticals are driving the adoption of email marketing? What are the challenges in the current scenario?
In India, the retail and e-commerce segment has shown maximum adoption in email marketing. With SMS costs going up, a lot more sectors especially, the SMB segment is heavily relying on this tool. Going forward, we will see more of targeted email marketing activities from the BFSI, hospitality, insurance and healthcare industries.
From an enterprise perspective, not understanding the tool well often becomes the biggest challenge for businesses. Marketers often deliver emails - a large portion of which gets delivered in the spam folder and from there to the trash bin. So, selecting the right mailing list is often a challenge as most firms do not conduct proper research and analytics before sending marketing emails. The level of engagement is often missing in email marketing. Contents are often boring and that does not inspire the audience to open the email, leave alone connecting to your message. Moreover, many believe that email marketing is a direct competitor to social media marketing which is wrong. Unless companies learn to use social media in conjunction with email marketing, a gap will always remain.

Today video email is turning out to a big thing. What are your thoughts about it?
Yes, video email is a hot trend today and attracts a lot of customers. However, it is still in the nascent stage in terms of growth and adoption. It can be powerful when used with the right set of audience and with the right content and graphics. It can in fact boost a company’s selling experience if the video is engaging, specific and meaningful as it is more like story telling. Video email however has a way to go to reach maturity.

What should companies keep in mind for conducting an effective email marketing campaign?
The most important point is to focus on the subscriber. There should be a careful and targeted list to send out each email. The message should be engaging, customized based to the audiences’ need, demographics and sentiment. The email marketing message should be simple and relevant and integrated into social networking platforms. For example, the email should include links to your Facebook, LinkedIn profile and other social network sites. This will encourage subscribers to “Like” and “Share” by offering some call to action. It is also important to partner with a leading email marketing provider to ensure your email marketing campaign is a success. It is important to avoid high frequency, generic and HTML messages. Email on mobile devices has to be designed carefully with fewer links and images.

What is the Future of email marketing?
The next generation email marketing platform is mobile. With email marketing getting closer to mobile platform, the lines between mobile and email marketing are blurring. Email marketing will go through a lot of consolidation with the emergence of newer technologies in cloud, big data and mobility alongside greater data consumption. Analytics and BI will also play a major role in email marketing. There has to be a greater stability in telecom regulation as well. Flexible, open platforms can help content creators, aggregators and service providers to increase revenue share in this segment. As internet consumption through mobile or smartphones grow and companies find newer ways to engage customers, email marketing will witness a phenomenal change in the way it is adopted and consumed.