With all of this year’s showmanship, grandstanding and controversy, it might be hard for some of us to imagine any valuable lessons coming out of the 2016 presidential election. Others may think the entire thing so far has been a demonstration of exactly what NOT to do.
But, despite all the arguing, finger-pointing and raucous dissent, there are several very important lessons email marketers can learn from the current campaign. So, even if your favorite candidate doesn’t win, at least you can find something good that came of the craziness.
1. Personalization is paramount. A new Associated Press-Gfk poll out this week shows that most voters are unhappy with the 2016 presidential candidates. The majority of Americans feel that none of the candidates represent their opinions or ideals. In fact, at least half say they would be disappointed or even angry if either of the front runners—Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump—were to win their parties’ nomination, and another quarter would feel neutral, at best. That’s a HUGE statement: 75% of us would be “meh”—or even angry—if either of the top candidates were to be on the ballot!
The fact that none of the candidates mesh with the majority of Americans’ opinions underscores just how important personalization is. Just as many of us are asking, “Where’s MY candidate—the one who represents MY point of view?” your customers may be asking the same thing about your emails: “Where’s MY content—the stuff that’s relevant to ME?” In the Era of Personalization, where consumers expect a customized experience, giving them exactly what they want is critical to winning them over. Personal relevance is essential…and it appears the frontrunners in this election are learning that the hard way.
2. Variety is vital. Perhaps the real problem isn’t just the candidates, but the “system” itself. Our two-party system seems to set us up for divisiveness, bitterness and a grudge-match mentality pitting two parties against one another. This “us vs. them” posturing affects not only the election itself, but progress and unity in economic matters, foreign policy, and virtually every other piece of government business. Some have gone so far as to say the two-party system is destroying America, causing both sides to be more concerned with “winning” and demonizing the other than they are with working to do what’s right for the country. Americans have become disgusted and frustrated with the lack of choice, but the massive D and R machines make it almost impossible for any other choices to cut through the roar.
In email marketing, a lack of variety can also frustrate and alienate your customers. By continuing to batch and blast the same content week in and week out, you risk this valuable and captive audience becoming disinterested and tuning out your messages—much like some Americans have done with the election. Keeping customers engaged, opening and clicking through on your messages requires variety, relevance and freshness in your content.
3. Static is stale. Of course, every marketer knows that a consistent message is important to maintaining brand resiliency. But, political candidates can sometimes take this a bit too far, sticking with the same soundbites or “party-line,” even if things change or their own opinions differ. “Staying the course” can become tired, static and lose the audience’s interest. Now more than ever, voters want to see that candidates have convictions, their own opinions and beliefs and that they won’t be pressured to toe the party line just to get a win.
Email marketers must also beware of the risk of a static platform. Repetitive emails based on the same boring templates quickly lose the audience’s attention because they don’t add value to the experience. Like voters, recipients get tired of the same stale soundbites. Incorporating dynamic elements—such as live video, countdown timers or content recommendations—into an email campaign can help bring pizzazz and flair back to emails, reinvigorate campaigns, spark recipients’ interests and lift click-through and engagement.
Regardless of your party affiliation or favorite candidate, it’s safe to say we can all agree that elections seem to grow more contentious—even vicious—every year. But, instead of just complaining or losing interest in the process altogether, as marketers, it’s a great opportunity to learn some valuable lessons that can help us make sure our audiences NEVER feel disappointed, disgruntled—or perhaps worse, disinterested.
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