Creating drip campaigns requires a marketing automation platform and is part of a larger purchase decision. As a result, we don’t see too many drip campaigns. Think of all the moments when we would like to get something and which are not leveraged by brands. A book I showed an interest in, a product I want to buy, an article I read, a movie that piqued my interest, a habit I want to develop, a person or idea I am keen to know more about, a concept I want to dig deeper into, a smartphone I just bought and whose features I want to understand. All of these are what I think of as “micron moments” – when a short duration micron subscription could be triggered to create a win-win for both brand and consumer, publisher and subscriber, sender and receiver.
A number of innovations would need to come together to make microns a reality and then ubiquitous.
- Creation: microns would need to be created at scale that costs don’t become prohibitive. What would it take to make a 5-micron series on every book in the world? For every movie? For every product?
- Publishing: microns created would need to then be made available via a publishing platform – such that their amplitude (time period between microns) and frequency (number of microns to be sent) could be easily controlled.
- Subscription: a subscription to a series of microns could either be activated by the brand or publisher based on an action (trigger) done by a person, or the person can opt-in by entering an email ID. Perhaps, there is a need for single use (“burner”) email IDs to ensure that there is no abuse. Still better, an intermediate platform can connect publisher and subscriber without the exchange of email addresses.
- Consumption: for now, the microns would be delivered to the email inbox. But over time, would there be a need for a new inbox? If we think of the microns as a customised RSS feed, could a repurposed RSS reader do the job? The key is to ensure that recipients can subscribe to tens of microns (knowing each one is short-lived) without necessarily having to flood the primary inbox.
- Closure: as a subscriber, I must be confident that the relationship will come to an end once the micron cycle is completed. Today, when I give an email address, I have the feeling that I am going to be receiving emails from that brand for the rest of my life! (In fact, I still get emails for brands I signed up 10-15 years ago and have been too lazy to unsubscribe from. They obviously don’t track opens or clicks.)
- Metrics: brands would need a set of tracking indicators to know this is working and worth their investment. Opens, brand recognition, clicks could be some possible metric to track.
- Cost: this can be the real innovation. Microns are available at a fraction of what email costs. And only an existing email service provider can do this. Microns become a prequel to the primary offering, an appetiser to get the brand interested to the full suite of email marketing and marketing automation services.
If all these micro innovations could be brought together on a single platform, we could indeed see the start of a micron revolution.