In 1999 I championed one of the first personalized newsletter initiatives online. Our growing interactive entertainment hub had nearly four million unique visitors, and we wanted to increase customer visits, engagement, and page views. We also had formidable competition and wanted to create a vehicle that would drive reader affinity. A newsletter that delivered targeted compelling content was the solution. (Remember that there were no smart phones or social sign-on tools in 1999.)
It took months of engineering and a genius engineer to create a newsletter that allowed each reader to choose both the content and frequency for their newsletter. Servers ran at full speed all night to deliver these complex newsletters; a task that today’s IT infrastructure can do in minutes or hours. As a result, customer registrations increased, as did clicks, page views, advertising impressions, and most importantly, revenue.
Today, this type of personalization – and the monetization of personalization – is an ongoing challenge for marketers. Many marketers have the email engine, but not the comprehensive repository of customer data required to deliver compelling, personalized marketing. Some marketers have both the engine and the customer data, but are lacking the social graph data and analytics that would take their outgoing marketing to the next level. (more…)