Ethical email marketing – improving customer experience

Ethical email marketing – improving customer experience

Automation is here, AI is here, we have more tools than ever to send truly personalised email marketing. We can analyse and get to know our customers better than ever….it is getting creepy. Let’s take a step back in this session and look at how much of this makes the experience better for the customer. Let’s review how we can create ethical email marketing campaigns and what they need to look like. By doing so, in the long run, we gain reputation, the trust of our customers and in turn revenue. Join Jenna’s session to find out more featuring many tips and examples.

About: Jenna Tiffany

Jenna Tiffany is Founder & Strategy Director at Let’sTalk Strategy providing strategic consultancy services across the digital marketing mix. Jenna is a Chartered Marketer and Fellow of the IDM with over ten years’ marketing experience within B2B and B2C sectors with experience in the travel, financial and retail sectors.


Thank you so much for joining me this morning or this afternoon, depending on where you are in the world, okay, I’m going to be talking about ethical email marketing. And looking at it from a stance of all of the technology that we have available to us and all of the data as well, that we’re able to use this, we need to really be optimizing to do a create successful email marketing. But actually, are there more elements that we should be doing here to create more ethical email? And what does that really look like? So I’m gonna be bringing up examples of both email examples, wider marketing examples, and tips of things to be doing today, based on the current climate that we’re all facing and the current situation that we’re all facing, and also for the future as well. Once we, you know, hopefully life gets back to normal really, really quickly for all of us. Okay, I am a chartered marketeer, I’m a fellow of the IDM. And I’m part of the email marketing Council, I run a marketing agency based in both London and Lisbon. And this is just a snapshot of some of the clients that we work with. Okay, ethics is a huge question of morality. And really, this is a question of what is right or wrong. And this is where ethics starts to become quite complicated. Because what I see to be right, you might see to be wrong. And this can be the same with businesses, when they’re marketing to their customers. Typically, what you start to see is, if consumers don’t think what a brand is doing is right, they will be very, very vocal on social media. And you start to see a lot of this at the moment in the way that brands are currently tackling the current situation. So I’m going to bring up a campaign now, I’ve just done a really short snippet of the advertisement, you may have already seen it. I want you to think about whether or not you thought this was right or wrong. And feel free to add what your comments are about this particular marketing campaign in the chat box as well. Wonderful. <> OK I’ve stopped it there, because honestly, I can’t see anymore watch any more of that. And I need to actually move away from that screen. But I’m not sure what your thoughts are. What do you think? Do you think that that was the right type of campaign to do? Do you think that actually, the objective of trying to display that they’re using natural ingredients is a good approach that was a good campaign, it definitely stood out is it’s been one of the most talked about campaigns already this year. And I am going to move away from that slide. Just, I really can’t look at that anymore. For me personally, it makes, it’s not going to make me want to go to Burger King anytime soon. And it starts to give me an unconscious image of a moldy burger. Now, no one really wants to see a moldy burger. But it does start to display that yes, they’re using natural ingredients. So from that standpoint, and that objective, that is one way to do that. It’s a very, very brazen approach, very brave approach. But have a think, do you think it was right or wrong? it generated a lot of buzz on social media! and ethically was that the right thing to do? It’s a big question mark on that. ethics for email is really is dictated by the spam folder. If you go into your spam folder, you start to see a lot of unethical email marketing in there and emails being sent. And, unfortunately, quite a few at the moment. So the principles and standards that define acceptable conduct in marketing really is ethical marketing. And this isn’t just for email. This is for marketing, overall. And we do have responsibility as marketeers to be ethical and really think about our customers and their context. And I’m going to bring up examples of ways to do that in a second. So we think about technology. And we think about data, which are two big pieces of email. And what does it look like in an ethical sense of when we’re using technology and data? And are we really improving the customer’s experience by using the technology and the data? Or are we only trying to use it in in in our own kind of corporate way and actually thinking about the customer and making their experience better, easier, adding more value. So go another example to show you here of an organization a brand that started using technology, and then the reaction from their customers. If you have your volume on quite loud, I’m not quite sure how loud this video will portray when I start playing it now, but here we go, let’s have a look at this. Your face is now your ticket on some flights out of Atlanta. That means from baggage check in security and onto a Delta flight. Many passengers will never take out an ID. Okay, see you think, right, that’s brilliant. So no longer do you need to have your boarding pass no longer need to you need to download an app no longer do you need to try and find that QR code on your phone, zoom in and make sure you’ve got the right brightness when you’re scanning it, and so on. When you’re traveling. It sounds really good. But then customers weren’t necessarily expecting that when they turned up to the airport, and they were about to board a flight. So this is scenario with Jet2, they, instead of scanning this particular person’s boarding pass, they asked her to look into the camera, she didn’t even need to bring it her passport, scanned her face and use facial recognition. And then she was able to board the flight. Okay, that sounds great and quicker experience. But when that customer then started to ask for did I consent to this use of data? How do you recognize my face using that technology? Where is that stored? And it starts to unravel. And you’ll see that this is just a snippet of some of the tweets that were being sent by the customer and the replies from the company, and actually starts to transpire that the company didn’t necessarily have the right answers to all of those questions. And then it starts to transpire that the government in the state actually has all of everybody pretty much everyone’s face on the database. And they are then sending that to the airlines who then check that with the technology and then send that back. And that starts to open a huge can of worms. Now on the one side, yes, is a much quicker experience, much slicker, much, you know, something that actually improves the customer experience. But thinking about from a customer’s perspective, it starts to feel a little bit invasive, and there’s a lot of questions there. So really think about how you’re approaching your use of technology, even if it is to improve the customer’s experience Are you being .. Are you being forthcoming in answering those particular questions that they might have in the information that you’re giving to your customers. In email, even with technology, we still see a lot of this, I actually received an email, a chase chaser email in my inbox, still with F name on it, there’s about three emails later. And still, this data wasn’t there. And this fields still being displayed. If you’re not sure that you have all of the data, you’re not sure that you actually feel confident in the data that you have about your customers in terms of their first name, then have a fallback, leave it have a blank, leave it blank, or say hi or hello or, or however you want to greet your customers. But in this particular scenario, just not having anything there and a blank option would have been better than having the F name. It’s not it was actually a really good intention with this campaign that starts to fall really flat. And customers start to feel that they’re just a number, which is something that customers repeatedly say and research, they want to have a personalized experience, where they’re treated as a person, and not as a number. misuse of personalization or personalization is absolutely brilliant at building relationships, relationships if it’s used in the right way. But typically, this is what it starts to look like in your inbox, where you start to receive email after email. Sometimes daily, sometimes this could be weekly, and your name is included in the subject line. You haven’t opened any of the previous emails because you don’t know who this person is and where they’ve got your data from. And then you get the final one. Jenna, should I wave a white flag? Well, yes, by the seventh email, I would suggest it’s probably a good idea. And in a real life scenario, this would be considered stalking. Yet in the email inbox, this is something that we regularly come across that we regularly see and just accept it as a part of this is how how it is. So really think about this. If you’re you have this type of activity running in, in your email program, really think about whether or not this could be quite invasive, if you don’t have a relationship with that particular subscriber starts the question, okay, where we got that data from, I don’t really know you need to build that relationship. And and think about it in a real life scenario of what you’d expect. Moving on from that I’ve got a real customer experience here of looking at how automation sometimes actually doesn’t improve the customer’s experience and isn’t necessarily in the context of what the customer is experiencing. I have permission from Hannah to share this real life experience that she had with a bank. So this is Hannah. She’s in her mid 20s. Unfortunately, her father has died suddenly and it’s a really really sad time for her and she is helping her family and her mother grieve and support them, but also dealing with having to contact organizations, and particularly her bank and her father’s bank to let them know, you know, the current situation that they’re facing. In doing that, the bank is asked for the actual physical, original version of the death certificate. And so she has to post that to them, they would not accept a scanned version. So she sends that to the bank, the bank, then send a communication back to Hannah to notify her that they’ve received the death certificate. And in that communication, there’s a an expectation of the human response. And you’d expect that the human response would be of compassion, of empathy, to have the context of really trying to help support, to provide guidance to Hannah and her family through what is a very, very difficult time, and also they are sending back the original documentation as well. But this is what the bank actually sent. Dear Mrs. x, thank you for your recent correspondence, please find enclosed your original documentation, yours sincerely the manager. Now, the original documentation that’s noted there in the communication that was sent back to Hannah, is the death certificate. Now there is no compassion, there is no empathy in this communication that’s been sent, there’s no guidance on what next steps would be. It really is very cold, robotic and very heartless. And isn’t a human response to what is a very difficult scenario, I actually have the opportunity to present this back to the bank, rightly or wrongly, and the bank were horrified that they were sending this communication out to their customers, they did not realize that this is what was being sent because it was automated. Now, it’s automation is absolutely brilliant technology is brilliant. It really helps us in our roles, particularly as email marketers. But please, please review your automations. Think about it in the context of your customer and what they might be going through when they are going through those automation journeys. Could you make them more human? Could you add more empathy, think about that context, because our risk of email marketers is that we start to lose empathy as we collaborate more and more machines. And we start to see this on a regular basis. So I’m sure several of you that are dialing in today might have experienced this. And it will damage that reputation of the brand forever, because it will show that you have no compassion for your customers. So the other element that I want to talk about, and this is also very, very prominent for today, is to really think about your automated campaigns that you have running at the moment, maybe you have particular automated campaigns that you set up a few months ago, maybe you set them up a year ago, maybe you have some journeys that are currently being sent. This is an email I received to my inbox three days ago. Now I appreciate that things are changing very, very quickly at the moment. It’s an impressive situation that we’re all facing. So please do Paul’s any automated campaigns that you have that you might have scheduled. I’ve removed the brand from this email communication. But the subject line said Happy Birthday to us bearing in mind this three days ago, you’ll start to see the copy that this has clearly been created a while ago, a lot has changed in nine years. I’d say a lot has changed in the last hour in the last nine years. And I’ll be honest, I don’t really care if it’s your birthday today. And I’m sure many of their subscribers also at the moment in the context, really don’t care if it is your birthday might care if it’s their birthday, definitely. But really, really think about the context that your customers are currently facing. Pause those automated campaigns that you have running, if you can, it’s really really strongly recommend that if you can, and you have the opportunity to do so review them, maybe they can be adjusted. Maybe they can be more relevant to the situation today and be really helpful and useful to your your subscribers and your customers. This type of campaign during the current situation is completely out of context. And this can be the danger of automation. It is very robotic, it doesn’t take into the current situation. So do have a think about that. Good intent is not enough gates a great to see that cat cream has actually dialed in. And this is something that she said during Litmus live and 100% agree good intent is not enough. You really, you might have really good intentions, but you need to prove it and that is never more evident than now than the current situation that we’re facing. An example that I have in the inbox I’m sure all of you have started to receive these types of emails. A message from our CEO about the Coronavirus. Now I was actually due to fly to several conferences and speak at several events over the last few weeks. So I received this email from Tom air. I’m currently in Lisbon. I was due to fly out a few weeks ago. And we’re now in lockdown. So I need to stay here. But this is an email that I received from the CEO of tap air Portugal. Now, Okay, that sounds great, doesn’t really provide much information in terms of what I need to do with current bookings. And really difficult to get hold of the organization at the moment, as with many organizations, great to see that they’re taking health and safety really, really importantly, and really starting to put extra measures in doesn’t really help me right now. starts, this message starts to really wane when you start to receive it from hundreds and hundreds of other brands. I’ve still receiving loads more today, as well across many, many industries. So really think about this, think about how you can provide more value to your customers, how you can help them be less particular and questions that you’re rarely getting asked on social media at the moment. Could you could you create content from that, could you send an email communication to really help reassure your customers to help them to really start to provide the answers that they’re looking for, but don’t use this as an opportunity to start sending GDPR privacy policy styled updates, because that’s what it’s starting to feel like in the inbox. Send useful email, EasyJet had a completely different approach, they sent a really, really useful email to their customer base, we’ve removed our change fee, this is what you need to do if you need to change a booking. And we’ve also extended and released really, really early our 2021 flying schedule, so that you can change your booking to next year, if you would prefer to do that, rather than trying to change it in the next month, two months, when still things might remain uncertain. So they’ve really, really thought about how they can help their customers. Okay, so my top tips, I’m really conscious of time, I thought I’d start to run over, I’m going to speed up a little bit. So remove your review your automation journeys and campaigns are being sent and pause them. And if you have the opportunity to review them in terms of whether or not they’re human or robotic. Can you adjust them to be relevant to the current context today? And do they share the real life emotions that they would be if they’re greeted with in person, if you think about back to Hannah, and the scenario with the bank, if she went into branch would be very, very different scenario. Put yourself in the in the customer situation, do you have empathy, and those automated campaigns and journeys that are being sent to your customers. And marketing today should be about being helpful generating value and being human really, really important. Okay, I have a couple more points to wrap up. I Felipe gave a brilliant brilliant workshop yesterday about amping email. And this is a piece of technology that we can all use as email marketers to make it really useful to send really useful email campaigns. So do try it out. There’s a playground area, there’s a link there on the screen and follow follow Felipe on Twitter. He’s he works for Google and Gmail and he is the responsible for answering email. So any questions that you have, he has the answers. Okay, so my second area that I wanted to just briefly touch on is the power to influence so as marketers, we have the power to influence. But we start to see that actually, sometimes that can be used to game the system. I’m going to bring up this campaign that happened at the end of last year. Okay, so for conscious of time, North Face, what they did was they actually created a campaign where they uploaded and went traveled all over the world created photography for different destinations, uploaded those photos with merchandise of the north face, featuring uploaded the mortar Wikipedia to all of those destination URL pages and talks about hacking the system, how they’re able to be the top of the number one search results, they created this whole very braggy video, and that they collaborated with Wikipedia and this is Wikipedia is response that they took advantage. They never let Wikipedia know that campaign was pulled within an hour. Now we have the option we have we have the opportunity to influence But we do have, sometimes this can be exploited. So please, please think about when you’re creating that campaign, when you’re creating that email campaign, really think about how you’re adding value to your customer base, ethical email marketing phrase he did a brilliant piece of research is called emotions matter 68% of consumers across the UK and US would not buy from a brand that use negative emotions in its marketing, definitely report to really check out, be sensitive to subscribers, nice to have goes have a brilliant approach to this, you can opt out of Mother’s Day emails, they know that sometimes it can be really, really sensitive for particular subscribers provide that option if you can, it’s a great way to be sensitive to your subscribers. So we have a responsibility to be ethical in our marketing efforts efforts. So let’s look at some data blackspots. And I’m really going to quickly skim through this I’m running out of time rapidly. And the customer has control marketing in a post GDPR. While there is no doubt about that, and this could mean the death of the email tracking pixel. Now I’m going to very briefly talk through this, there are new msps that are launching ones called It’s actually been postponed at the moment due to loss in April, but it’s one where it will not have any tracking whatsoever included. This is something that stuff that more consumers are starting to ask for more subscribers assigned to ask for as well. So it’s something to really be thinking about labeled as a new spy pixel. Why is that because it uses personally identifiable data I’ll explain. When you press send and you send a campaign fill, you can see has opened your email, fill with his email address has opened his emails personally identifiable data. But what can you do to determine whether or not you’re able to keep the pixel on and most USPS USPS at the moment will have it turned on as default may not allow you to change that, make it clear to your subscribers that you’ll be tracking their behavior, not sure that this is overly clear to a lot of email subscribers, included in the footer of your email, if you can, that we will be tracking your response. If you can provide the choice to turn it off, let your customers do so if they would prefer to do so. And this really starts to question are you over relying on open rate as a metric because it you would no longer be able to see this once this is turned off? If a customer tells you it’s marketing and not service message, do listen, a lot of organizations are still falling down this trap a little bit do listen to what your customers are telling you across multiple channels. Okay, so I’m going to really quickly skim through the the final way before the how I talk a lot about this. And I’m happy to answer any questions about determining what the value is that you’re sending you’re sending to your email subscribers and how to do that. Okay, so that’s all for me. Thank you so much for joining. I’m sorry, I’ve run over a little bit of time. And I’m available on social media email as well and happy to take any questions that you might have. Thanks so much, everybody. Great to see so many of you. I’m sorry to really quickly skim for you. Great to see so many people that have got a little bit of a delay, I think or the chat that’s coming through. No, thank you all so much. Thank you so much, Andrew and nalli for pulling us together. I know it’s been an absolutely tiring task after talking to both of you. But thank you so much and great to see so many of you on here. And please all stay stay safe. Thanks. So if anybody has any questions, feel free to email me. I’m just gonna add that on here. I’m happy to share the slides as well as it is going through a few things really, really quickly there. Enjoy the rest of the conference and have a great weekend, everyone. Thanks so much for joining. Bye

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