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Why email still presents so many opportunities for marketers

May 24, 2022

Email has always been a consistent marketing channel. But how exactly has email evolved over the past few years? And with shoppers returning to in person shopping, how can marketers utilize email to their greatest advantage? The team at Bloomreach answers these questions and explains why email is no longer the underdog we think it is.

As the saying goes, in life we can depend on three things: life, death and taxes. But perhaps there should be one more addition to that list: the reliability of email marketing.

Utilized as a marketing channel since the 1970’s, email has proven to be a channel brands can count on — resilient and dependable, even amidst massive industry shifts. The rise of new channels like social media and SMS may have broadened the number of channels brands focus on, but email still remains. The emergence of new trends like the metaverse may have attracted executive interest, but email still remains. Privacy regulations, first GDPR and more recently Apple’s iOS 15 Mail Privacy Protection, made tracking metrics more difficult, but still, email remains.

Even at times when many claimed it was dead (a conversation that seems to happen annually), or when consumers used to complain about the spam clogging their inboxes, the emails kept coming. And the reason why is simple. Brands utilized email marketing because it continued to deliver returns.

Yet the resiliency of email is a double edged sword. While many brands know this is a necessary part of their marketing strategy, its ability to deliver consistent results often keeps brands from realizing that email can achieve even more when done right. In an era of high customer acquisition costs and greater dependency on customer loyalty, brands cannot become complacent in their email strategy. Used to its fullest power, this steadfast channel can be the secret advantage to driving measurable results — not just open rates, not just click through rates, but actual revenue generation.

The evolution of a “good email”

For a while, what constituted a “good email” came down to the essentials – a great design, catchy content. From there, dynamic emails came into play with a first foray into personalization and the rise of ‘Hi [FIRST NAME]’.

But with consumer expectations for digital experiences rising by the minute, what was once considered a “good email” is now really only enough to drive good results. And that may be fine for some, but “good” can leave a lot of money on the table. Email has the potential to drive great results, and to unlock that potential, brands need to turn their focus to a new level of personalization.

Personalization: It’s not a gimmick (seriously)

Real personalization, achieved at scale, can often be seen as a gimmick — an industry buzzword that continuously fails to deliver. It isn’t, though. Personalization is not only achievable, it can be fairly simple when powered by the right data. And backed by data, email campaigns become vastly more relevant to consumers, and far more likely to drive conversions.

When powered by customer data, emails have the potential to speak to consumers on what feels like an individual basis. You can speak to your environmentally friendly shoppers one way, your budget conscious shoppers in another, your fashionistas in yet another. You can offer more relevant content, ensuring a man who visited your site to browse dress shoes won’t later be sent an email promoting the newest spring dresses. You can offer product recommendations based on real-time customer behavior, predict optimal send times, or build segments that ensure certain campaigns are targeted toward high-intent, high-value audiences.

With personalization, what a great email looks like can actually be different for every consumer, making it feel less like another marketing email in their inbox and more like a message from someone who actually knows them. This in turn drives greater engagement, stronger brand loyalty, and ultimately, increased conversions.

When powering these kinds of results, email can take on a new place in a brand’s marketing strategy. For as reliable as this channel is, it is often overshadowed by flashier channels like paid media. Yet it’s shown its consistency over time, and now, can demonstrate its ability to achieve the same (if not greater) returns than other channels that have far higher customer acquisition costs attached.

The rising importance of deliverability

As brands seek to elevate email within their marketing strategy, there is one critical element to keep in mind: deliverability. After all, how impactful can an email be if it doesn’t actually reach the customer?

The objective of email deliverability is to get an email delivered, of course. But deliverability rates can be misleading, because an email that winds up in a customer’s spam or junk folder is still considered to be delivered. An effective email doesn’t just need to be delivered, it needs to make it to a good place in the inbox.

Being able to segment and separate a brand’s active users (those who read emails frequently and click through to the site for a purchase) from those who never interact with campaigns is paramount to unlocking greater email returns. It ensures emails are put in front of customers who are most engaged, translating to lower unsubscribe rates and the likelihood of greater conversions. In a way, this is its own form of personalization, allowing brands to create email frequency that matches a consumer’s behavior much in the same way its content does.

The unsung hero no more

Amongst the endless shifts of technology and communication channels, email has stood the test of time. And because of its longevity, it’s easy to remain content in what it contributes to a brand’s strategy — what it has contributed for years. But when has remaining content ever taken a brand to the next level?

With personalization at the forefront, email has the power to drive measurable results for a marketing team and a business at large. It can genuinely delight consumers. It can simplify the shopping journey. It can use data to drive value without being invasive.

For far too long this channel has remained an unsung hero. But for brands looking to drive a new era of commerce growth, its untapped potential can no longer be ignored. It's time to give email its moment in the spotlight.


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