Should Retailers Pick Email Marketing to Engage Gen Y? – MarTech Advisor

Email Marketing

Should retailers try and appeal to Gen Y with email marketing or social media marketing? The answer seems obvious, but you may be surprised, as Armand Thiberge, Founder & CEO, SendinBlue shares some insights.

Gen Y. The biggest opportunity and perhaps the biggest mystery for marketers right now. This generation of customers, generally born between the 1980s and the turn of the century have some peculiar preferences. Here, we try and demystify one piece of the puzzle: what kind of retail marketing communications resonates most with them?

One would think that social media marketing or mobile apps would figure at the top of the list. Surprise! A recent poll of 750 US millennials by SendinBlue revealed that email is a channel that digital first ‘Generation Y’ shoppers favor most.

We had a quick chat with Armand Thiberge, Founder & CEO, SendinBlue to get a sense of how best email can be used to address this demographic.

First off, what should be the number one rule that every marketer should follow when trying to determine the right email frequency and content? “It’s to know your audience”, says Armand. He continues, “While it’s true that there is a fine line between delivering information to their inbox that is deemed valuable versus frivolous, fortunately for retail marketers, our survey also paints a clear picture of how to give Generation Y customers what they want: coupons, deals such as free shipping, and site-wide promotions. In fact, 75 percent of consumers we polled revealed perks like free shipping and 2-day delivery, specifically, are the main items fueling their loyalty to retailers.”

Personalization is becoming the norm for younger digital audiences. And we’ve heard this often enough ‘If you want to attract millennials, speak their language and be where they are’. While this thought fuels most campaigns today, what can marketers struggling to plan unique digital campaigns do? Armand shares, “You could start by reaching out to your consumers with custom offers based on their previous shopping habits and keep them in the know on deals regarding their favorite items.”

But then there’s the problem of spam, a huge one that oftentimes entry-level marketers struggle to optimize in their marketing automation settings. What can help? Armand says, “What would fall into the “spam” bucket consists of anything, not personalized to their unique preferences, and not relieving the strain on their pocketbook. They don’t care if you launched a new website—they do care if the launch is being promoted with a 40% off sitewide sale. More than half of all respondents cited in our study showed that they take action from emails that contain sitewide or product-specific deals.”

At a time where there is really no dearth of choice when it comes to picking a marketing medium, it’s a little surprising to see that email is still very relevant for consumers. Given that Generation Y is a notoriously digital savvy age group, shouldn’t there have been more of a preference for social media? Armand opines, “While millennials certainly enjoy their social platforms, the fact that they prefer to keep them just that—social – aka as engagement channels between friends and family–isn’t that much of a surprise. While email has been around since the mid-‘90s and, in comparison, may seem old school, it’s continued to maintain a stronghold with consumers thanks to its ubiquity around the world and broad appeal across age groups.

Email allows for a direct line of communication between brands and customers and allows the recipient to have control over the flow of information on their terms. This is an important characteristic when compared to the firehose of indiscriminate brand messaging on some social media channels or the inefficient nature of snail mail. This explains the fact that 63 percent of respondents cite email as their #1 preferred channel to communicate with retailers—it doesn’t cross a line into their personal “social” life, yet it’s still accessible and allows for simple, quick response times.”

So then, what tips can marketers keep in mind when planning a

Email marketing will continue to grow because:

  • Email allows for direct, immediate communication on the customer’s own terms.
  • It also provides digital access to traditional services—such as getting an update on a package delivery from a retailer by clicking a simple tracking link in the body of an email or eliminating the need to pick-up a phone and dial a customer service line.
  • It also creates a convenient “paper” trail allowing for easy access, storage, and retrieval of important notes

campaign given this interesting observation? Armand feels that just like any recipe, it takes multiple ingredients—a little bit of this and a pinch of that—to create the perfect result. He says, it’s the same in marketing—no single channel should be used for everything, as there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. Customers come with a variety of preferences and today more than ever before demand personalization from brands, which includes knowing their preferred channel for specific purposes. The most important take away regardless of your business is to let your customers know they’ve been heard and give them what they want. In retailers’ case, this is promotions and discounts through millennials’ email inbox.” 

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