Wednesday, December 19, 2012

more tips

Worthwhile article titled 3 Common Email Mistakes by Caroline Nye. 
         I particularly like:

Underestimating Email's Overall Impact
Within hours of sending an email, you know how many people opened, clicked, and purchased or converted. What is hard to measure, however, is all the other ways in which an email will actually affect your bottom line.
After years of sending email and analyzing results, I’ve consistently seen a huge percentage of recipients coming back, within three days, to purchase via another channel. I have also seen large percentages of consumers use an email-only offer code while calling to place an order, or consumers calling in not to use a promotion code but mentioning they received an email. In short, measuring the effectiveness of an email through initial clicks captures only a portion of the actual impact. Similar to television or radio, email contributes to the bottom line in a way that will never be completely quantifiable.
Spend time with more advanced analysis. Look at all the sales since a specific campaign, and track which people had opened or clicked on the email. The true impact of a single campaign will likely emerge. Email is an effective branding tool, helping consumers remember a company, even when they don’t open an email.

Friday, December 14, 2012

visible and invisible lines of customers

Key customer service note for all of us:
"The memory of the event is more important than the experience: Leaving a positive impression is important because that’s how a person will remember the event."

read the whole Business2Community article by Scott Anderson

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

social commerce best practices

We feel like social sign-on is everywhere, but data shows this is still a huge opportunity for many e-commerce sites.

Great infographic on Patricio Robles' 12/12 eConsultancy blog

Monday, December 10, 2012


well done boden.  i know exactly what you're after.
check out some others here.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

unfolding social business

Pay attention, people. Google Communities, which launches today, defines Web 3.0.

This is the real intent of Google+... beyond a social network, the true semantic web.  Google Communities enables topic pages beyond groups, company pages and blogs because rather than operating as standalone topic pages, they’re interconnected.  Everything is indexed so you can discover, link and share topics of interest.

What does this mean for marketers?  Don't simply create content, consider how that content relates to your products, your promotions, and your other content. From a social media and social business perspective, enable these connections between customers, not just between you and the customers.

Great TechCrunch writeup by Drew Olanoff this morning.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

perspective: current industry ideas

i find it useful to seek out blog posts and niche marketing sites for scoop and new ideas. here are a few floating around:

  • subject lines drive click rates on marketing emails more so than the sender/from
  • marketing email deliverability rate is currently 82%.  how does that compare to your organization's performance?
  • direct email is one of the the most trusted marketing channels
  • there's a direct relationship between content and social exposure, so get newsletter [in part or full] on your organization's website and social networks, don't just utilize that space for promotions
  • email marketing automation cannot replace personal connections of inside and outside sales reps in B2B environments; those personal connections are still proving necessary

deliverability from thomson local on and on trust
newsletter scoop from search engine journal
customer think on B2B

wired: missed opportunity

I'm an avid reader of Wired news and blogs.  That team puts together a great print magazine, a well designed website and fantastic content.  I'm wondering why their email newsletter is so mediocre. They send me 2 photos with headlines, one of which is "from the archives."  I am not sure the business sense of pushing archived content since it's free to readers, though there could be some benefit to them in promoting the depth of their website.  25% of the page is an ad for an outside vendor.  And on my laptop, I cannot read the images or copy for the additional five headlines (bottom right list).  When I try to view this on my phone... well, I can't try.  It's a miss, guys.

Monday, December 3, 2012

paper culture nails it

One message.  One button to click. Works on mobile. Well done.

nielsen's social news is mobile

Nielsen's 2012 report on Social Media indicates consumers spend 30% of their time online visiting social networks on mobile devices; only 20% of their time online is visiting social networks via personal computers.  Forty-six percent of social media users say they use their smartphone to access social media.  The U.S. mobile web audience as a whole has climbed 82 percent, and 25% say seeing ads on social media sites is OK.
Check out the complete Nielsen report here and a great TechCrunch writeup by Sarah Perez here.

Friday, November 30, 2012

holiday discounts are a dangerous drug

Compelling reminders about holiday promotions in HBR blog by Marco Bertini
His best tips:

  1. skip the pure discount shoppers: be sure to attract the customers you want long-term with a targeted promotion
  2. make offers contingent: e.g. spend a threshold to get a discount
  3. drive conversion: pick your goal and incentivize that activity

Thursday, November 29, 2012

carol's daughter blows it

I'm confused.  It looks like they're offering me a discount.  And Free Shipping.  But what's it all worth?

  1. Shoppers hate math. Give them a $ dollar off, not a % percent. Don't make them do the calculation... or in this case, three calculations: 15%, 20%, 25%. I'm exhausted.
  2. Is this actually special? It says Cyber Monday and also Last Day.  So have they been offering this tiered discount for several days or weeks and it's about to end? Is Cyber Monday not actually that special? I want to think I'm getting something special. I'm confused.
  3. What's with the Did You Know? If I become a member of the website or some club, or maybe something on Facebook (who knows?) then I can get free shipping all the time. But every website offers free shipping. Big deal.  Shouldn't this email be about selling products during a huge holiday blowout, not collecting email addresses? I'm frustrated.

1. Determine your audience and select the single promotion that will drive your desired result
2. Communicate the single promotion to your audience
3. Don't add any other noise

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Effective email is essential during the holidays. Here's a summary of a great article by Jason Gervias:

  1. Clearly & quickly state the benefit.  You can’t be too concise because people scan email.
  2. Always segment your list, e.g. by geography, purchase behavior, or industry.
  3. Stick to a single call to action.
  4. Frequency: biweekly messages are the most the majority of contacts will tolerate.
  5. Start with a great subject line, e.g. ask a question, offer value, create urgency.
Based on the above criteria, Moosejaw (again) gets this one right:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

mobile trends data from eMarketer

Great new info from eMarketer summarizing Chitika & Net Marketshare reports

Two best tidbits:
1. Mobile spending is growing at 14 times the rate of desktop spending -- they could reach parity in less than 3 years
2. Mobile’s share of global browsing traffic at 10.3%;  28% in North America

check out the article

cyber monday's a hit for mobile

Mobile traffic was up 20% on Cyber Monday;
Mobile transactions were up almost 200%

Check out my website for loads of facts and links about Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the explosion of tablet and phone e-commerce activity.

Monday, November 26, 2012

cyber monday home run

king arthur flour nails it:

  1. the deal is specific and measurable
  2. they disount low-dollar items like tags & labels: pull us in on fun items that don't impact the company's bottom line a great deal -- once we're there, we'll (hopefully) spend more on a higher margin product
  3. this email requires immediate action

mobile shopping's the story this holiday

24% of online shopping was mobile on Black Friday.
iPad and iPhone dominated that mobile shopping: 88% used iPads.
Compared to 2011, mobile shopping was up 17% on Black Friday.
AOS was $181, and online shopping peaked just before noon.

Here's a breakdown:

Check out the complete details & more infographics published by CNET 11/25 here.

Friday, November 23, 2012

pick a voice & go all in

One way to get noticed in the Black Friday madness is to identify your brand voice and stick to it. Moosejaw, the outdoor apparel and gear retailer, has a distinct identity it doesn't stray from: Moosejaw Madness.  The madness includes a casual and irreverent style, straight talk and humor at every turn.  The emails so entertaining, Moosejaw gets to break rules by sending paragraphs of text: we'll read it because they're fun.  Great job, guys.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

smartphone purchases will explode this holiday season

Over 50% of smartphone and tablet users plan to shop with those devices this holiday season.

Check out the eMarketer research analysis, Smartphones Hit the Holidays.

Monday, November 19, 2012

big data + email

I came across an insightful piece by Kara Trivunovic about big data and how to utilize it for email marketing.  Two recommendations are particularly useful:

First, she reminds us not to use data just because we can.  Segment and target because we need to, and only do so if we can measure the results.
In her words:
Watch Out for Hyper-Targeting
Achieving a near 1:1 email communication experience has long been the Holy Grail of the email marketing vertical. With the highly dynamic tools and technical capabilities available today, the ability to communicate in that manner is relatively easy to accomplish - the challenge arises when you want to learn what the engagement means to your business overall. Many times, the success or failure of leveraging big data to drive targeting and segmentation doesn't happen because of your ability to do it - rather your ability to measure it.

Second, customers are getting used to this special treatment.  Watch out for the bait and switch.
In her words:
Know What to Say
Whether big data is on your radar as an analytic effort for your marketing department or your email program specifically or not, you are certainly hearing the conversations about it. We all have the ability to be more prescriptive with the consumer today and oftentimes there is an expectation that you "just know" these things about them. Acting contradictorily to their expectations could be detrimental in the long run. After all, you don't want your recipients closing out your email, asking themselves, "Don't they know me at all?"

Read the complete original.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

mail hosting reviews

Email distribution service providers - a collection of evaluation resources:

WeRockYourWeb writeup
WeRockYourWeb comparison chart
Joomla! Hosting Reviews site
Brian Gerald blog

Friday, November 16, 2012

handmade communication with viral energy

If you haven't heard about the Snail Mail My Email (SMME) project from last summer, be on the lookout for the book that's just been released. Ivan Cash offered to take an electronic message, transcribe it on paper, and then send it anywhere in the world, for free.  It went bananas.
What a great reminder that human connection can be the most important component of social energy.

Here's a FastCompany piece about it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

email content tips

Content tip: don't forget WIIFT (What's In It For Them)
When we send promotional - or even stewardship - emails, our focus is always what we, the organization, need to gain.  That's why we send the message.  But the recipients care about their universe, not ours.

Recipients have a limited amount of time, space and attention span.

  • Did you miss our in-store sale? Here is an online promo code.
  • Will you be out of town and miss our conference? We can link you to the webinar and send materials afterwards.
  • Want a deal this Saturday while you're running errands? Here's 20% off.
  • Do you have zero time? We have organized gifts for you by recipient and price.
Solve their problems.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

segmenting your email list: e-commerce.

Use every ounce of customer data to your advantage.  Email segmentation shouldn't be limited to multivariate testing of subject lines, frequency and image placement.  Utilize customer browsing data, demographic information and purchase history to segment your messages as well.  Specifically, putting the correct products in front of a customer can be the best way to trigger a transaction.

Here are some supporting articles worth checking out:
Matthew Kelleher post on eConsultancy
MultiChannelMerchant’s Daryl Logullo

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

daily deal emails

groupon & competitors: daily deal emails just aren't working.
is it the content?
is it the delivery mechanism?
it's the business model.
merchants lose money because they pay groupon + they give their customers a huge discount. instead, retailers are learning that loyalty programs are far more beneficial to their business.
alternatives? womply. square rewards. bloomspot.
read more.

Monday, November 12, 2012

most important mobile shopping days this holiday season

Consumers are on the move.
Great Forbes piece on How Retailers Can Make Their Email Marketing Glisten:

White suggests retailers may want to pay special attention to being mobile-friendly on days that consumers are more likely to be away from home, including:
  • The day before Thanksgiving, which is the busiest travel day of the year
  • Thanksgiving Day, when most consumers are with family with a smartphone in their purse or on the couch watching TV with a tablet on their laps, or out shopping with their smartphone in hand
  • Black Friday, when many consumers are out shopping at brick-and-mortar stores
  • Christmas Day, when consumers are flush with gift card cash and shop online because stores are closed

Friday, November 9, 2012

linking online marketing to offline sales

RKG = thought leadership
This blog post walks us through 4 ways to measure digital marketing resulting in brick-and-mortar success. Here is one email component:

POS & Survey Integration
We can also take a similar approach without capturing an email address at POS. By providing a link to a customer experience survey at the bottom of their receipts, retailers can connect the online ad dollars with the store sales dollars for those customers who go to the survey and submit their opinions.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

tips: optimizing email for mobile devices

Quick YouTube video by Hank from iContact
Optimizing email for mobile

  • Get content within the first 200 pixels: that's the new "fold"
  • Subject line should be >/= 25 characters
  • Limit navigation bar to 3-4 items
  • Use font size > 12-pt

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

facebook can augment email campaigns

Email marketing can work great in tandem with Facebook.
Many, like Laura O'Shaughnessy of SocialCode, argue to line up email and Facebook programs. Both are low-cost, broad reaching and give you the ability to track ROI.
However, I believe that email is the more direct and more valuable customer list because:
1) Email can be segmented in a way Facebook cannot: pick your objectives, pick your messages, pick your groups, execute.
..But email can also certainly drive social engagement ... if social engagement is your KPI (rather than a financial transaction, for example).
2) Email can directly link the online and offline worlds.  Flash coupons, price checking and loyalty programs affect my bottom line long term more than sharing photos and voting for new product names.

email is about direct, pertinent content.

In email, it's the relevant content that matters.  And the prevalence of mobile devices makes email even more important. Think about a restaurant example: your phone pings you with a lunch offer on your way to an 11am meeting know where to go right after it.
Check out this insight from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

..."Kristy Amy, director of digital strategy at Smart Business Network, said despite the growing social media numbers in a mobile world and reports from people who say they don't read most of their e-mails, she said if you've got the right content, and you're targeting people who want to hear from you, it's a viable tactic that supports all of the more modern offerings.
Besides, it's the foundation, for all other mediums. If you need to reset passwords of social networks, you're going to get it through an e-mail or text, she said."..

Monday, November 5, 2012

tech definition: mosaics

Mosaics are complex HTML tables that impersonate images.
How can a table "impersonate" an image? The HTML table has so many rows and columns, each cell having a background color, that it can really look like an image. The benefit? They can be dynamic, updating data and also changing shape/size based upon the display space.  Images are static.  Great tool for email.

Friday, November 2, 2012

multivariate testing 101

One step up from A/B testing is multivariate testing (also called multi-variable testing).

A/B tests are straightforward: try two scenarios, determine the better of the two content variations.
Multivariate testing can theoretically test an infinite number, though you need to keep in mind the need to maintain a statistically significant number of results to determine a performance difference between scenarios.  It's best carried out via a dynamically generated website: visitors are served proportionate but random variations of content to test a hypothesis.

Smashing Magazine artfully explains: "There are two principal approaches used to achieve multivariate testing on websites. One being Page Tagging; a process where the website creator inserts Javascript into the site to inject content variants and monitor visitor response. The second principal approach used does not require page tagging. By establishing a DNS-proxy or hosting within a website's own datacenter, it is possible to intercept and process all web traffic to and from the site undergoing testing, insert variants and monitor visitor response. In this case, all logic sits server rather than browser-side and after initial DNS changes are made, no further technical involvement is required from the website point of view."
To read more, check out:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

email market leader ExactTarget in the news

IT is about direct marketing, and email is leading that.
Size of ExactTarget deals & scope of this industry :
Read about it at Bloomberg BusinessWeek

  • ExactTarget can charge a 50% premium for its email and social media customization services
  • It's revenue is projected to grow 126%
  • Best asset? Customization of online experiences based on consumer behavior

Monday, October 29, 2012

fusing video with email marketing

Video players can now function within email, with calls to action around and within them.  
Here are a few tips to get you started:
BusinessInsider tells us how to incorporate an email marketing app inside a Viewbix interface.
Viewbix dominates right now, but LiveClicker and others are trying to compete
Read more at: Bronto and Mailchimp

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

optimizing email for mobile

knowing that more than 1/4 of emails will be consumed on mobile devices, here are some tips:

  1. use call-to-action buttons, not links
  2. go for brief subject lines: 15-20 characters
  3. stacked layout: columns won't work on a narrow screen - people can only scroll down
  4. stick to one call to action:  want to drive them into stores? the email is a coupon. want them to click to your mobile site and make a purchase? the email is a single-use promo code

Supporting articles you may find helpful by:
Pat Owings - Business2Community
Ori Yankelev- Social Media Today
Adrienne Rhodes - BlueFountainMedia
Chantal Tode - Mobile Marketer

Monday, October 22, 2012

email triggers transactions...quickly

eMarketer article today reminds us that email timing does matter: reactions are virtually instantaneous.
Most activity on messages happens within 1st six hours following deployment.
10% within 15 minutes.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

fighting the political clutter

Interesting attempt to be impactful during this political season.  
A candidate for US Senate opens with a one-sentence paragraph, "We’re just hours away from hitting our last -- and most important -- FEC filing deadline." A few quick facts and then only one graphic: CONTRIBUTE.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

3 email design best practices

Three email design tips:

  1. F-shaped pattern: arrange most important content like the letter F because readers will first view the headline, followed by the text down the side and then the middle section last.
  2. Make your copy easier to view by using contrasting colors. Dark copy on a light background is easiest to scan.  
  3. Simplicity. Don't forget to be brief and keep the most important text above the fold.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

push marketing: keep it simple

coupon --> smartphone -->checkout
Bill Ready asks, "What if you could whisper in a consumer’s ear that the item they’ve been looking for is now available, and put a coupon for it right in their pocket? A push notification to a smartphone does exactly that. And it can go even further with a one-click payment link that completes the purchase right then and there, without the need to visit a store – or open a laptop."
Read his complete piece about mobile devices shaking up e-commerce.

Friday, October 5, 2012

why intimate, visual mobile advertising resonates

A great WSJ article this week reminds us that user-generated content (or content that could be) feels authentic & familiar, so it works.  Our mobile phones are eliminating a "barrier between the customer and the brand," inspiring companies to initiate street-style campaigns that are hyper-visual. Like the alice + olivia nail polish shot, right...
Read an iMediaConnection Instagram Superstars article here, or
Here's the complete article by Katherine Rosman:
Why Ads Are Imitating 
the Photos in Your Smartphone
Roxanne Rohmann hates ads and avoids them on TV and online. But recently, she "liked" a promotional photograph from designer Michael Kors that she found on Facebook, of a woman on a boat in a cable-knit sweater.
"I don't feel so much like they're trying to sell something," the 20-year-old Austin, Texas, student says of the photo, which looked like it was shot with a smartphone. "It's easier to appreciate."
As people spend less time looking at glossy magazine ads and TV commercials, lifestyle advertising is adopting the look and feel of the images consumers find most compelling—the ones they shoot themselves using smartphone cameras and then share on websites like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Burberry, Coach and Tiffany are some of the fashion brands that have hired a famous street-style photographer to create digital ad campaigns that get shared on Facebook and YouTube and other websites.
Rent the Runway, the online dress-rental company, now features real women wearing its clothes, rather than models in product shots, on its Web home page.
Last year, clothing company Rebecca Minkoff published a print magazine ad composed of Instagram photos. Its "shoetography" campaign began with Ms. Minkoff posting Instagram photos she took of the shoes she was wearing. Shoe sales have spiked since the promotion launched, says company co-founder Uri Minkoff. Luscious glossy photography remains important for the label, though. "Our customer is downtown and uptown," Mr. Minkoff says. "She is into reality, but romance too."
As Taco Bell was introducing Doritos Locos Tacos in March, it noticed a lot of Instagram photos of people about to eat their Doritos tacos. The fast-food chain contacted Instagram, which gave permission for use of its name, logo and app layout in the resulting TV spot."We made the whole ad have the look and the feel of Instagram," says Brian Niccol chief marketing and innovation officer at Taco Bell, part of Yum Brands, which has sold more than 200 million Doritos tacos.
Clients aren't trying to save money by using social-media-style photography. Ads with these photos often cost as much to create as a traditional lush photo shoot.
The point is to manufacture glamour that doesn't seem manufactured. Consumers "like" your ad, share it with friends, and soon it has a life of its own, bouncing around social-media sites at no extra cost.
"Real-life, authentic pictures are the ones that resonate online," says Joe Einhorn, co-founder of, which bills itself as an e-commerce website where users, including many merchants, post images of things they find compelling and things they may be selling. Users follow others whose taste and aesthetic they like. They can "fancy" an item and, if it is for sale, they can buy it through the social network.
To demonstrate the effect of user-generated photos versus glossy marketing photos, Mr. Einhorn points to an unscientific side-by-side comparison of nail polish posts.Barneys New York posted a traditional product shot of an $18 "mirrored chrome" nail lacquer from the Deborah Lippmann Collection to its BarneysNY account on the Fancy, which has almost 30,000 followers on the site.
A photo of nails painted in a glitter-confetti nail lacquer from Lynnderella was posted to by clothing label Alice + Olivia, a fashion label founded by Stacey Bendet. The photo was taken by Stef Lee and posted on the blog Steffels.
The nail-polish photograph on BarneysNY was "fancied" about 1,400 times. Ms. Bendet's polish photo was fancied nearly 9,000 times—even though she has about 9,000 fewer Fancy followers than Barneys.
"Our customer doesn't want to be sold to all the time," Ms. Bendet says. "She is moved by the real thing."
Barneys didn't return a call seeking comment. The Fancy site, which launched in 2011, generates $20,000 in total sales per day; it has nearly two million registered users, and items are fancied 500,000 times a day, the company says.
Mr. Einhorn says he routinely sees that organic-looking photos outperform images that appear to be more professionally shot. He says the number of "fancies" does connect to actual sales but wouldn't provide sales figures for the nail-polish postings.
For an online campaign for a new line of vintage-inspired bags, Coach hired Scott Schuman, creator of the Sartorialist blog and a pioneer of street-style photography. He chose people who aren't professional models, styled them in clothes he picked and photographed them without professional makeup, styling or lighting.
This kind of photography reflects a "heightened version of real life," Mr. Schuman says. An image of a dolled-up, pixie-thin teenage model "is not reality," he says, "and that creates a barrier between the consumer and the brand." Burberry and Tiffany are other brands that have hired him for street-style campaigns.
The cost of collaborating with Mr. Schuman was comparable to the cost of hiring professional models, says Jason Weisenfeld, a Coach spokesman. The effort is intended for social sharing, he says, but Coach also plans to promote the bags with traditional glossy photos in magazine ads.
Back in 2009, when Lancôme Paris began posting how-to makeup videos to YouTube, it used its professional spokesmodels and makeup artists and a costly production crew. The first video got about 15,000 views. "It fell like a thud," says Stacy Mackler, Lancôme USA spokeswoman.
Then the company signed a contract with Michelle Phan, a make-up artist with a YouTube following. Her first effort for the brand, demonstrating how to apply makeup to wear in a nightclub, had a home-video feel; she put on foundation using already-been-used brushes.
When Lancôme executives saw it, Ms. Mackler says, "we panicked." They posted the video to YouTube anyway, and a few days later it had racked up nearly a million views.
Now Lancôme posts many of its staffers' smartphone photos to its Facebook page. During New York Fashion Week, the brand chose its staffers iPhone snaps to post online, rather than photos shot by a professional photographer.
"The photos that are resonating online are the ones that come from our phones," Ms. Mackler says.
Over the summer, Google hired documentary director David Gelb to shoot a TV commercial for Google Fiber high-speed Internet access. Mr. Gelb interviewed residents of Kansas City about how better Web access might change their lives. The client requested that he shoot more and more with a smartphone.
At first, he was reluctant. But after examining the smartphone footage, he says, he understood.
"User-generated content—the feel and the actual images—is very intimate, and that visual language is very familiar to people," he says.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

mobile explosion

compliments of emarketer
see this and other useful images on my pinterest page

econsultancy's mobile email best practices

Practical mobile email tips from econsultancy [Erik Boman]
Particularly useful:
1) Don't crowd links because fingers have trouble tapping in small surface area of mobile screens
2) Use one-column layouts
3) Don't waste space with banners & mastheads
4) Prioritize images for critical links & content

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

key performance indicators on your dashboard?

Be sure to track these KPI's:
1)Referral traffic sources and YOY growth, from keywords, email campaigns, social media marketing & the like.
2)Conversion rates, including sales, but also other goals: email list growth, webinar attendance, downloads, or social media participation.
~What else do you monitor?
Also see INC mag's list of marketing KPIs.

Monday, October 1, 2012

nice email stats

  1. approx 2.5 Billion individual email accounts exist, enabling organizations to talk to actual humans about direct marketing
  2. Google search now includes Gmail; so, an old promotional message can turn up in search results because it's suddenly relevant ...bang!
  3. 77% of people prefer promotional messages via email v. 5% via text & 4% via FB ...ka-pow!

Useful facts & tidbits from Chris Crum here.
ReadWriteWeb interview here ["email will never die"]
Experian benchmarking study here.

mobile ads' impact to date

WSJ article aggregates mobile ad data.

  • $2 of every $10 spent on mobile ads is banners ("spray and pay")
  • Google earns 95% of all mobile search ad revenue
  • 18% of users clicking on graphics/imagery (for now)
  • Smartphones & tablets account for 10% of internet traffic but only 2% of ad spending


  • Clicks will drop with time
  • Ad spending will equalize to represent traffic contribution
  • Ignoring email here - drives online traffic & sales; direct response

See the full article

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

alternative to facebook?

Neat article by Rusty Speidel of Jaggers Communications re: MySpace challenging Facebook, specifically in the music space.
Love his comment about the new MySpace, "This demo looks like my daughter acts."
This ties in well with our social media course because it seems to encourage links, connections and sharing.  It will be interesting to see when and how it enables push marketing (email?) beyond SEM.
"First thing you notice is the prominent role music plays in the site. The musician in me loves this. It’s like you can create a soundtrack of events that can be tied to the images and posts you create. Very cool. The timeline is horizontal and everything in is a visual mash that ties posts, video, audio, connections and photos together around those events. It’s loose, slick, and sexy, and seems to borrow a lot from Path and Pinterest. "....
Original piece linked here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

unsophisticated email performance dashboards the norm

New Report: Email Testing & Deliverability

  • 16% of email marketers don't measure inbox deliverability 
  • just 5% of companies currently use multivariate testing, compared to 66% that test subject lines and 44% who test the best time of day or week to send emails
  • only 41% of respondents said they had the email deliverability information readily available in a dashboard
  • however, large proportion of respondents are already carrying out competitor analysis by signing up for other brands’ newsletters (37%)

View original details by David Moth (posted 9.18.12)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Running Commentary: Pinterest

One more outlet for sharing; great spot to post the imagery of digital messages.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

email marketing = mobile marketing

We consume email via phones.  We now conduct commerce via phones.  As marketers, we need to be aware of this.
It's great to find validation from Wired, Forbes & the like, but it's also useful to gain insight from smart people who specialize.  A piece by Carrie Hill [KeyRelevance] has truly interesting details:
  • In the first six months of 2012, 36 percent of emails sent were opened on a mobile device – a 32 percent increase over the last half of 2011, when 27 percent of sent emails were opened via a mobile device. 
  • It's estimated that nearly 26 percent of email is accessed via mobile phones….Most mobile phone users with purchasing power now have smartphones. 
  • She recommends: (a) optimize your images to be mobile friendly; and (b) put a link to a version of your blast at the very top and make sure it's left justified. 
See the full piece, including helpful displays, here:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

email marketing resurgence (?)

I have come across some compelling arguments for the resurgence of email marketing, ranging from its cost effectiveness to the targeted nature of the medium.  Some of the reasoning is anecdotal, but much is data-driven, as interactive marketing (arguably) should be.  Below is an interesting piece by Arthur Middleton.  I'd love any comments, anecdotal, data-driven, or otherwise...

Why Email Marketing is King 
[HBR blog by Arthur Middleton Hughes, posted August 21, 2012]
In a business world obsessed with gaining more customer intelligence, you would think that email marketing would get more respect. But just look at media spending. According to eMarketer, this year U.S. companies are spending about $64 billion per year on TV, $34 billion on print ads, and $39 billion on Internet advertising. And how much are they are spending on email? For that, we have Forrester data: only about $1.5 billion.
Of course, compared to other media, email messages are dirt cheap to send. With TV you are spending on ad agencies, creative studios, and cable channels. With print ads, you are helping to keep newspapers and magazines alive. Direct mail costs more than $600 per thousand pieces. With email, there are almost no costs at all. But its low cost only makes the argument stronger that email marketing is the most cost-effective advertising method available today.
Certainly email beats the competition from a measurability standpoint. With TV you do not know who is watching your ads. Ditto with print. Even with direct mail, you cannot be sure that your mail has been delivered, or that anyone reads it when it gets there. With email, you know within 24 hours exactly which messages have been opened, by whom, what links the openers clicked on, and what part of your message was working.
A properly structured email message provides this benefit to the marketer because it provides benefits to consumers. A TV, print, or direct mail ad is what it is. On email the ad is much more. Because of electronic links, those who open your emails can do their own research: they can explore and see any of the thousands of products that you sell. They can see the colors and sizes. They can, and they do, read ratings and reviews. They can put products in their shopping carts and buy them.
"Fine," say the TV folks, "but shopping cart sales through emails are seldom more than 5% of total sales. Nothing to write home about."
What these detractors seem to willfully ignore is that emails create impressions that lead to sales through other routes. Some of these routes can be tracked. The recipient can open it or delete it. If she opens it, she can click on it, perhaps buy something or print out a coupon and take it to a store. Finally, if she puts things in her cart but does not buy, you can send her an abandoned shopping cart email that usually yields 29% of lost sales.
But note that, in many cases, she also does things that are hard to track. She can get in her car and drive to a mall to buy the product. She can pick up her phone and order it. She may be prompted to do research on Google for better prices of similar products, or discuss the offer with her spouse or a friend, leading to a possible purchase later. These are all the behaviors that provide the rationale for TV or print advertising. My point is that emails prompt the same kinds of behaviors. Thus, there is an off-email multiplier. For every purchase in an email shopping cart, we can fairly assume that there are some number of other non-tracked profitable purchases that occur because of the arrival of the email — a number that quantifies all the non-tracked behaviors that email recipients engage in. 
If you are going to make a case for investing more heavily in email marketing, you have to determine this off-email multiplier to account for all the sales your emails can be expected to generate. How can that be done? A retailer I've worked with which has 900 stores and is very active with email campaigns recently did a great study. It took a group of 105,000 customers in its loyalty club database, divided them into three groups of 35,000, and marketed to the three groups differently, as shown in the chart below (click to see a larger version). Thanks to the loyalty program, it was able to see all subsequent purchases by these customers.
Direct mail has a higher response rate than email. But note that direct mail costs about 100 times as much. Meanwhile, the data collected by the retailer allowed it to calculate its off-email multiplier (a simple matter of dividing the percentage of online sales by the percentage of in-store sales generated by email-only marketing). It is 3.76. In other words, for every email shopping cart sale, this retailer gets 3.76 other, typically non-tracked sales due to the email.
What might your off-email multiplier be? Zero is of course possible, but studies to date suggest that a number between two and three is typical.
Once you factor in your off-email multiplier, it's a very safe bet that email will beat all your other marketing methods in terms of return on investment. As email marketing gains more respect, marketing intelligence will meet customer intelligence.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Strategic Marketing 2.0 Course & Blog Intro

I've begun an asynchronous online course at UC Berkeley and we've been tasked with creating individual projects to complete the program.  One component of the project includes creating and maintaining a blog during the class.  I have set my project goal: "To identify a new market segment for my marketing consulting business and launch a cost-effective interactive marketing effort to cultivate relationships with those new potential clients."  
Having not yet identified this market segment, and because the new clients are not yet familiar with my brand, I chose to name the blog my personal name rather than my business name.  Rationale:  If the new venture is unsuccessful or the segment not cost effective, it will not tarnish my existing brand. However, I can always roll any success (connected to my name) into my existing business.  So it's my first two initials following my last name. And I used the logo of my business as the graphic - nod to the existing company - and a starting point for merging the two later.