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My Vision of the Future of Resort Email – Part 5: What Sandwiches Teach Us About Email Marketing

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This week I’m temporarily returning to my daily-posting roots to share my vision of how I see the future of resort email marketing. Enjoy.

I think the best way to sum this all up is with an analogy.

An analogy about sandwiches.

So, starting now, imagine “sandwich maker” is another name for “email marketer”.

Chapter 1: One Big Sandwich
Once upon a time someone invented the sandwich. For the sake of our story, we’ll assume it was a ham and cheese sandwich because, really, why wouldn’t it be.

At this point the sandwich maker had it easy: make one giant sandwich and slice it up. His problem was that only a small percentage of people were interested because not everyone liked ham and cheese.

Chapter 2: Multiple Sandwiches
Then, a smarter entrepreneur with a hat tip to a future Silicon Valley buzzword, saw that they could “disrupt” the sandwich industry by making different kinds of sandwiches.

By catering to different tastes, more people were interested. But the sandwich maker’s problem was that this took more time and he could never make enough varieties to satisfy an infinite combination of preferences.

Chapter 3: Made to Order
In a moment of inspiration, an even smarter fellow came along and realized that the solution was to let people tell you what they wanted, and then make a sandwich to match.

Unfortunately, this was a lot of work and the sandwich maker alone couldn’t buy ingredients, take orders, AND make sandwiches. So even though many more people were interested in his sandwiches, he simply couldn’t do this alone.

Chapter 4: Stocking the Fridge
Then, the smartest sandwich gal of them all realized that if she could train an employee to find out what people wanted and train another employee to make the sandwiches, all she had to do was keep the fridge full.

If the lines grew longer, she could hire another finder-outer or another sandwich maker. Her job remained the same: just keep the fridge stocked with the ingredients needed to create unique sandwiches to satisfy any unique taste.

Email Marketing’s Future
That’s where I see the future of email marketing going. Instead of creating the same email for everyone (Chapter 1, newsletters) or manually trying to create multiple emails for different groups (Chapter 2, segmentation), or trying to personally send one-to-one emails to everyone in the database (Chapter 3), we let someone (a computer) discover a customer’s tastes and someone else (another computer) create a message to match.

Then, our role is mainly to keep a fridge full of effective email pieces ready for the more common requests (Chapter 4). These might be:

  • Subject line pieces
  • Images
  • Calls to action
  • Offers
  • Small blocks of sales copy

The more someone interacts with the emails (and social media and the website), the more effective the system gets. Then, like your favorite sandwich, the system builds a unique creation matched to your unique wants and needs.

After that, who knows? Maybe we can design a system that knows which emails to send to someone in the first place. If we could train it to act according to future goals and current occupancy of the resort, all you’d have to do is keep a fridge full of goals.

Maybe… ;)

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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