B2B Idea Bytes: Incremental Innovation

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For the last 10 to 15 years, email industry leaders have been talking – and writing and talking even more – about why marketers need to use data for better email results.

After all this talk, where do we stand? Pretty much where we were, although I see some signs of change.

Data-driven marketers still a minority

The Relevancy Group‘s newest study finds that more than 50 percent of email marketers don’t use data to segment their email databases. That means their email success still rides on sending the same message to everybody in the database regardless of click or conversion data.

On the plus side, this means that nearly half of all marketers DO use data such as clickstream and conversion, and likely are seeing better email metrics and revenue results than marketers who don’t.

This tells me that more marketers are getting comfortable with data that goes beyond basic demographic and geographic data. How can we help everybody else?

The answer: incremental innovation

I’ve worked with many marketers who are eager to innovate but get held back because they have too little time or money to support stepping away from the daily grind. It’s not that they don’t care; they’re just too busy trying to get the next campaign out the door.

It’s also hard to know where to start if you don’t know what to fix first. Should you add a cart-abandonment program to reduce lost sales? Create some triggered emails to increase cart size or persuade more one-time buyers to come back again and again?

Launching a full-blown program could take more than a year to move from concept to launch. So, take it one step at a time instead.

Get started with just one change

This week, find something you could change in your next campaign. Make that change. Next week, change something else, and add it to your list. The week after that, add another change to the two you’ve implemented already.

Build on your incremental innovations every week, and, some day, you’ll be able to look up and see that you have indeed driven meaningful improvement.

That’s the power of incremental innovation.

A word about big data

A lot of marketers I meet are intimidated by “big data.” Just remember this: Nobody was born a data expert. Everybody had to learn it somewhere, in school or on the job.

Don’t let your fear of the unknown keep you from exploring data to power up your email marketing. Find someone who does know, like the data wonks in your research department. Or, surround yourself with best-in-class technology to jump start the process.

Just do it

So what if it takes six months to produce one trigger? The next time it’ll be five months, and then three months after that. Don’t be scared to go slow. Be scared you aren’t going anywhere.

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Ryan Phelan
Ryan Phelan brings over 15 years of worldwide online marketing experience to Adestra as the Vice President, Marketing Insights. In this position, Ryan is responsible for the marketing efforts of Adestra in the US. Ryan is a respected thought leader and nationally distinguished speaker. In 2013 he was named one of the top 30 strategists in online marketing and serves on numerous boards and advisors positions in and outside of the industry.
Ryan Phelan

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