Preventing Email Tunnel Vision

Gurbir Singh By Gurbir Singh Sep 25, 2019

To help marketing, growth, and engagement teams see their work from a new perspective, Braze has partnered with Tom Fishburne, CEO and founder of Marketoonist, for a 10-part series of marketing-themed comics.

Each week, we’ll share a Marketoon exploring a different aspect of the customer engagement landscape—and hear a thoughtful response from a Braze employee based on their own experiences and insights.

This week: Gurbir Singh, Director, Product Management at Braze on email tunnel vision.

Reading this comic really brings me back. I once worked with a top luxury retailer who took this exact approach—they’d send blast emails to their entire audience (which was about 6 million people) three times a day. For each email sent, they gained over $1 million. As a result, they thought sending more emails would naturally result in more money. It worked for a brief period, but it ended up being a really short-sighted approach.

The truth is, they didn’t fully understand the impact of sending messages at this frequency. And while their short-term revenue looked great, as long as you considered it in isolation, the long-term trends showed a higher level of customer disengagement and rising acquisition costs for new customers. Their end users eventually got used to getting spammed and started tuning out the messages that were sent. And as the wider economy started to struggle, the company suffered setbacks in revenue because they’d wedded themselves to an unsustainable model. In the end, they spent a long time trying to re-engage their customer base with the goal of hitting just a 1% open rate. When even that failed, the company shifted gears and decided to switch ESPs and re-warm onto new IP addresses, resulting in two years of lost time.

It was pretty grim.

Ultimately, the issue was that they were too focused on email instead of thinking about converting their customers in a holistic way. Rather than taking a channel-specific approach, you need to focus on understanding how your customers want to be messaged. That could be via email, or it could be in another channel, or across a variety of channels. And for each of those channels, think about what can be optimized within that channel to keep customers engaged, and identify the friction points that are keeping your customers from converting.

At Braze, we support a lot channels—email included—but we don’t think about them in a vacuum. Instead, we make sure the Braze product can support the entire customer journey and the various touch points where brands interact with their end users. As a result, we have a lot of built-in functionality that helps with frequency capping, optimizing for the right channel, sending at the best time for each user, and providing a lot of flexibility and guardrails around who the marketer is targeting.

We make it possible to reach your customers thoughtfully and to speak to them the way they want to be spoken to. But to accomplish that, you need more than best-in-class technology—you need to care about the experience you’re providing to your customers. And, ultimately, that’s on you.

Gurbir Singh

Gurbir Singh

Gurbir is the product manager for Braze’s Email & Enterprise vertical. During the weekend, you can find him tinkering with a BBQ smoker to make a perfect smoked brisket. He is also currently looking for a workout regiment that can be done while barbequing.

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