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We Are Doing Email Marketing Wrong in Trinidad and Tobago

You can thank Raymond Tomlinson for the junk mail in your inbox.

The first email was sent in 1971, by computer engineer Raymond Tomlinson. He was working at Raytheon BBN Technologies in Massachusetts and wanted to send messages to people, not mailboxes. The email software was initial called "SNDMSG" - um say what now?

Almost 50 years later and the email address is as synonymous as your birth certificate. It's the unique identifier into how you connect with the world. Most of us have multiple email addresses that serve specific tasks – professional communication and personal outreach.

Digital Marketing has recognized the importance of making an appearance in your inbox. A sub-industry evolved, called Email Marketing, and has become one of the most coveted digital channels. Websites like Facebook and Twitter create a traffic jam of content on the user's newsfeed. Email Marketing reduces the noise and allows one on one engagement with your customer.


The first step is the Lead Generation, which is mandatory in every sales cycle. Within digital, it's a passive approach to collect your customers' email address and supporting data, such as their name and location. One of the biggest mistakes I've encountered is asking for too much too soon.

A website visitor usually takes 10 seconds to decide and if your email form has too many fields, you will have a low conversion rate. Respect their time and focus on what you need, their name and email address. Everything else is secondary. Like a good relationship, you need to go to first base before skipping to third.


What happens after you secured a potential customer's email? If you have to ask, you're doing email marketing wrong. Automation starts with a workflow. It's attached to the Audience list, which must include a welcome message and a call to action that is relevant to your Digital Strategy. Attention to strategy could be the difference between landing in the Primary or Promotion Tab in Gmail.

When we say #artificialintelligence in marketing, folks conjure a scene from the Terminator movie. Sadly, it's not that cool; it's merely automation. Quick example: I decided to delete my LinkedIn mobile app on Sunday and less than 24hrs later I received an email. This type of automation is what we call a trigger—created around human behaviour.

There are no local companies - with substantial data – that understand email marketing. Technology allows us to automate repetitive tasks but will only be effective if we create a strategy built on data.


Businesses in Trinidad and Tobago, and across the Caribbean, are scrambling for ways to engage with their customer base. The cosmetic industry hasn't quite figured it out and based on my recent purchase with J&K Signature Styles; the retail sector is on the lower end of the learning curve.

Since inception, my team and I have dealt with naysayers on the effectiveness of Digital Marketing. The feedback has evolved from 'why would I pay you to go on Facebook?' to 'why don't we have more followers?' It's a telling insight into how decision makers miss the mark on what Marketing can do for their business.

COVID-19 has triggered the biggest Digital Transformation shift since the invention of the internet. It's time to use the data within your organisation to learn about your customer through email communication.


Would you like to learn more about Digital Marketing in the Caribbean? Join me every Tuesday at 6.30 pm EST for #ACMlive.

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