Stop Loss: The Power of Attention Messaging – Part 4
Written by
Rajesh Jain
Rajesh Jain

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Stop Loss: The Power of Attention Messaging – Part 4

Published : February 28, 2024

Here is the fourth part of Stop Loss: The Power of Attention Messaging. This topic was first mentioned in ProfitXL to Profipoly: Solving the Four Funnel Frictions. In the third part, I talked about the Microns-Mu-Micronbox triad and how it can help marketers break the spending spiral of new acquisitions. In this part, I will discuss why email is the best push channel to implement Attention Messaging.

Start with email

Multiple push messaging channels exist today, such as email, SMS, push notifications, and even WhatsApp. However, email is the best push channel for implementing Attention Messaging. There are multiple reasons for this:

  • Opens can still be tracked on emails, although it will not work for Apple users. However, the impact is small in India because Android dominates the market.
  • Email has the best ROI of all push messaging channels.
  • It allows rich media to be sent as part of the message.
  • Gmail users can be sent dynamic (AMP) messages.

There have been some concerns about the resilience of email and whether the younger generation will use it in the years to come. The New York Times recently carried an article talking about how Gen Z does not do email.

“Despite the reasonable qualms of the older generation, Gen-Z, born between 1997 and 2012, is pioneering the return of trends such as low-rise jeans, pop-punk, and Ed Hardy. However, Gen-Z does agree with their elders on one thing: email. The pandemic has exasperated the shortcomings of email because it has replaced too much. Decisions once made by stopping by a co-worker’s desk have been relegated to inbox ping-pong. Some wrote about guilt for not replying faster or adding more emails to their colleagues’ inboxes. Others talked about how responding to emails led them to lose track of other tasks, creating an unproductive and infuriating cycle.”

People have been predicting the death of email for the past decade, yet it is still going strong. While business messaging has found alternate channels such as Slack, Flock, and WhatsApp, brand messaging has few such options. Email is the only open platform that Big Tech or Big Telco does not control. At some point, Gen Z-ers will turn 25 and realize that email is identity. India is distinctly app-first, leading to many brands ignoring email, which is a big mistake.

According to a Prashnam survey I had done, daily email usage is around 10 crore people, which is about half of SMS and Facebook and a third of WhatsApp. Email offers the best return for a marketer’s investment at a fraction of the cost of other channels. Email innovations such as AMP, Ems, and Microns promise even greater engagement in the times to come.

Marketers should start by offering rewards (Mu) with their emails. They must keep messages short and informational and make them a daily habit, becoming a utility in the recipient’s life. This ensures the establishment of a hotline with the customer, which is the first step to building a lifetime relationship.

Beyond email

Email is the first channel where Attention Messaging must be implemented. Brands should take advantage of every opportunity to collect email IDs from customers, even if they only use the app, and offer a reason for customers to build a direct relationship with them, even if they are coming in via marketplaces. These reasons can be in the form of additional product warranty, future discounts, or rewards in the form of Mu. The collection of first-party data must be a priority for every marketer.

Marketers can begin exploring other channels once the email channel has been established. SMS and push notifications are the next obvious ones. While SMS works for all marketers, push notifications work only if an app is installed. SMS and push notifications allow brands to control the flow of messages, just like email.

By prefixing information about Mu, such as the symbol and total count, brands can reward customers for their actions. This encourages customers to be receptive to incoming messages from brands. However, marketers must remember that only some messages need to have Mu. The idea is to make reading messages a habit and offer Mu selectively on offers and essential communications.

Brands can also use WhatsApp in conjunction with Mu. WhatsApp is a powerful channel but has some limitations. For example, the cost of pushing a message is 10-30x that of an email. Furthermore, the use cases are controlled by WhatsApp. The platform’s rapid interactivity allows chatbots to engage with customers for shopping and services.

(This is where TRAI and Indian Telcos missed a trick: They disabled interactivity by forcing brands to use alphanumeric sending codes. Before TRAI’s intervention, interactive SMSes on shortcodes were quite popular. The high cost of Rs. 3 limited the length of the session. However, if TRAI opens up interactive SMS again, many exciting use cases await. RCS will likely bridge some of that gap, although it will take time to be widely available.)

To summarize

Mu must become an integral part of every push messaging channel. They offer a way to elicit and reward customer attention. Brands can, over time, differentiate and segment customers, allocate Mu appropriately, and get started and convert atten-shun to attention!

Continued in Part 5

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