contact database, email listHave you ever wondered how Fortune 1000 behemoths leverage email marketing communications with recipients in their contact database? Steve Olenski provides some insights into this question in his Forbes article published this week (click here for the link). Apparently, these companies have some pretty interesting email marketing purposes. But, even more important is the idea that SMEs should learn from these insights and have them applied in their own email campaigns.

This post takes a look at five key points implicit in the above post and examines each in the B2B setting. Although Steve Olenski’s article solely followed a consumer brand, there are things that email marketers working with a B2B contact database can pick up from his work. Reading between the lines, one can draw the below conclusions and ideas on how a large company strives to remain engaged with contacts in its subscriber and prospects’ email list:

1. Promoting customer loyalty. Emails are excellent marketing vehicles to facilitate the development and maintenance of customer loyalty programs, as hinted by the example cited by Steve Olenski. In his article entry, he mentions the loyalty and reward campaign run by Guess and explains how emails help in achieving the end results the company wants out of these programs. In this regard, emails hold a distinct advantage because of its propensity toward data-driven marketing models that many of today’s marketers adopt.

2. Nurturing prospective buyers. Multiple studies conducted by a number of think-tanks have underscored the tremendously important role that emails play in generating and nurturing leads. Data from these studies all indicate the value of accurately matching content with audience, something which emails are widely-known for. In the above-stated article entry, Guess counts on the almost-inherent ability of emails to influence the purchasing decisions of its target customers. In B2B, emails play a more subtle role of guiding the prospective buyer along the pipeline.

3. Integrating with other channels. This is the most essential point raised in Steve Olenski’s article where he focuses on how Guess is able to effectively integrate another marketing channel, social media, with emails in achieving not only the goals of each medium but the direction of the overall marketing plan as well. As a stand-alone, email marketing can only do so much but, when treated as a component in an integrated marketing mix, this medium can take the whole campaign to newer levels.

4. Conversing naturally and directly. Email marketing is most effective when it’s seen as a conversation between the brand and its customers or prospects. More importantly, the conversation has to take place naturally as extensions of or into other marketing media. In order to be as natural as possible, there has to be direct interaction between the company and its audience.

5. Understanding customer dynamics. Emails can help generate insights and ideas on current customer preferences, behavior, motivations, etc. as well as the shifts in these qualities. Companies, large or small, B2B or B2C, should constantly keep abreast with developments in customer attributes as the marketing and business decisions they make need to be based on sound and timely insights.

While you may think that Fortune 1000 companies look at email marketing differently as SMEs do, that may not entirely be the case. The exact campaign methodologies and resources may vastly differ, but the purposes remain identical. Try to revisit the above points and compare each of them with your own set of goals and objectives for your email campaigns. Which of the five do you prioritize the most in your efforts at engaging with your email database contacts?