The topic of dynamic content and templates is a popular one based on the high attendance at our October User Forum events in Sydney and Melbourne. The discussion focused on the challenges many marketers have when it comes to dynamic content – as well as moving from labour intensive email production to using templates.
So what is dynamic content? Dynamic content has been a tool in the marketer’s toolkit since before 1998 – though it’s evolution has been slow. In the ‘old days’ marketers relied on IT to program email content based on customer data. In recent years it’s become much easier for the marketer, with platforms such as the Responsys Interact Marketing Cloud that enable marketers to execute sophisticated programs (instead of relying on IT).
With dynamic content, there are varying levels of complexity to consider. You can leverage customer data to insert items such as first name or increase the level of personalisation by inserting text, images or sections of HTML into the email base. For example, entire areas of the email can change based on gender or location. At the most intricate level, you can design emails formatted with content based on a variety of pre-determined rules.
A modular template is essentially a shell for dynamic email content. Emails that have the same layout each month with variations to copy and images create the perfect scenario for modular templates. You can choose any number of modules that fulfill your ongoing needs, allowing for greater flexibility.
Advances in marketing technology has made it possible for marketers to easily set up and use dynamic content in emails, but there are several key best practices to keep in mind:
- Invest time in planning: Be careful when making decisions around creation and use of base line templates or modular templates. Don’t rush into modular templates until you know you have the right level of understanding on how they can be used.
- Content setup and naming conventions: Because you are looking at multiple content groups, it is essential that you consider how you setup and name this content. You can very quickly find yourself in trouble if you don’t have strong naming convention and content plan.
- HTML skills: When designing a template, it’s most important to assess the internal skill set of who is building/ putting the campaign together to ensure you are positioned for success. HTML skills are advantageous when it comes to dynamic content. The ability to code HTML will enable you quickly to set up dynamic content programs, however a user friendly alternative for non-coders is the Responsys Interact dynamic content insertion tool.
- Testing: With so many variations it is a must to develop a proper testing plan. This links directly to the content setup plan and naming convention to assure a successful outcome.
In summary, if you are not using dynamic content already, explore how it will help you do much better targeting and give you massive efficiencies in your campaign workflow and approval process.
The final APAC User Forum for 2013 will be held on December 4th in Sydney and December 5th in Melbourne – both at 4:30pm. We’ll be doing something a bit different and have included drinks and canapés to celebrate the end of a massive year. If you have any questions, feedback or ideas about the Responsys APAC User Forums or the material covered, please leave a comment.
About Responsys APAC user forums:
The intent behind the Responsys user forums in APAC is to do something different for our customers – something more than just presenting content and asking customers to listen. We’re creating an environment that enables our customers to talk to each other and share knowledge about their marketing programs, including both best practices and challenges. Every month, we introduce a new topic and bring the right experts together in order to have a discussion that not only helps our customers with things like testing and mobile marketing, but encourages them to think bigger about what they can achieve with Responsys.