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Loren Mcdonald

Member since September 2003 Contact Loren

Meet Loren at MediaPost Events

  • Loren is attending Social Media Insider Summit, August 17, 2011
    Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, NV
  • Loren is attending Email Insider Summit, December 05, 2010
    St. Regis Deer Valley, Park City, UT
  • Loren is attending Email Insider Summit, December 06, 2009
    The Chateaux at Silver Lake, Park City, UT

Articles by Loren All articles by Loren

  • Two Uber Trends From Cyber Week  in Email Insider on 12/11/2014

    Are you as happy as I am that the Cyber Week holiday extravaganza is behind us? Before it fades in the rear-view mirror, however, I'd like to call your attention to two major shifts that happened this year, and how email marketers can take advantage of them in 2015.

  • Are You Listening For Your Key Customer Signals? in Email Insider on 11/25/2014

    As the holiday shopping season shifts into high gear, your customers are going to be sending you a veritable blizzard of signals as they interact with you via email, websites, social networks, mobile apps and customer support. Purchases or purchase intents are major signals, but not the only ones. In fact, if that's all you track, you could end up drawing a lot of wrong conclusions about your customers, especially now when so many purchases are for other people. Irrelevant email and off-target remarketing are just two of the hazards that can result. Instead, think about the signals - your customers' behavior - that will tell you the information you need to know about your customers that doesn't come to light in shopper surveys.

  • It's Not The Client, It's The Context (And More) in Email Insider on 11/13/2014

    With Google's recent launch of its Inbox email client (still invite-only at this writing), everyone is rushing to declare what this means for subscribers and marketers. Excuse me if I yawn. Who knows whether Inbox will get more traction than other client configurations trying to change how we use email? Sure, you need to know how new email client iterations affect performance. But it's not the whole story. The inbox itself, how subscribers use it and the impact it has, is changing. It's no longer just the device, app or client that defines the inbox. You must also understand the unseen issues of where, when and how your subscribers view your messages.

  • Can You See The Email Forest -- Or Are You Distracted By The Trees? in Email Insider on 10/30/2014

    Google has done it again. Inbox, the newest iteration of Gmail (still in invite-only stage at this writing), promises to revolutionize the inbox (again) and has email marketers worrying about how to respond (again). And, here I am (again), asking email marketers not to get sidetracked by day-to-day distractions like Gmail Inbox, Priority Inbox, Unroll.me, symbols in subject lines and the best time or day to send email. Yes, they might affect inbox or email activity at some point. It's important to understand how the inbox has been evolving since email became a major conversion channel in the 1990s. But lavishing time on these issues du jour - the trees - keeps you from focusing on the forest, which is made up of questions such as "How can I make my email program more useful and valuable, both to my customers and to my company?"

  • Make Your B2B Emails More H2H (Human to Human) in Email Insider on 10/16/2014

    Many B2B emails I receive begin with "Dear Loren." This beginning promises that the rest of the email will have content highly personalized to my company demographics (firmagraphics) and business needs, based on my behavior and engagement with marketing content. Not.

  • 'I'm Mad as Hell...': My Top Email Marketing Pet Peeves in Email Insider on 10/02/2014

    I must be getting cranky in my older age. Little things are starting to annoy me more now. So, email marketers, I'm begging you to fix your email-marketing programs. Get your act together so I can enjoy my morning coffee without spitting it out in disgust. My email-marketing pet peeves aren't just about aspects of your emails but also how you run your programs and processes. Here they are, divided into two categories, Program Management and Email Practices:

  • How To Take The Friction Out Of Email Address-Change in Email Insider on 09/18/2014

    In my previous Email Insider, "'Mom, All I Want is to Change My Email Address,'" I outlined the often frustrating and annoying process of updating my email address on dozens of work-related subscriptions. Here, I'll outline some best practices that can help you reduce the number of subscribers you lose to address-change churn.

  • 'Mom, All I Want Is To Change My Email Address' in Email Insider on 09/04/2014

    OK, so I took some liberties with the line "All I wanted was a Pepsi" from the song "Institutionalized" by Suicidal Tendencies (one of my all-time favorite songs). But after trying to change my email address across 25 email subscriptions, I felt about as frustrated as the teenager in this song whose mom accused him of being on drugs -- but all he wanted was a Pepsi. Why? Because almost nobody makes this process easy to do. Sorry to say, email marketers, but most of you get an "F" for the effort it takes to change an email address.

  • Make Sure Mobile Factors Into Your Holiday Email Marketing in Email Insider on 08/21/2014

    As you dive into holiday marketing planning and preparation, take time now to make sure that every aspect of your email program gives your mobile customers a shopping experience that approaches the desktop shopping experience.

  • Four More Vacation Lessons for Email Marketers in Email Insider on 08/07/2014

    In my previous Email Insider column, I shared strategies for using email as a discovery tool based on an excellent wine recommendation. But that wasn't the only time I gained some insight based on my recent European vacation. Here are four cases in point:

Comments by Loren All comments by Loren

  • Two Uber Trends From Cyber Week by Loren McDonald (Email Insider on 12/11/2014)

    Agreed Chad ... which is why I think a lot of retailers will be better prepared next year. But it is also more complex than that with smartphones becoming as big as small tablets, etc. It is going to be interesting to see how the impact of things like ApplePay, PayPal, Amazon Payments have on smartphone conversion rates.

  • Why Mobile Payments Will Change Email Forever by David Baker (Email Insider on 10/06/2014)

    Great post David...whole-heartedly agree about the impact of mobile payments ... it is going to be key to closing the smartphone shopper browse to buy gap.

  • 'Mom, All I Want Is To Change My Email Address' by Loren McDonald (Email Insider on 09/04/2014)

    Bruce, thanks for chiming in with your personal experience - you make my point exactly! There are legitimate technology issues that can make this a bit challenging for brands, but if so - then at least make the process of opt-ing out and then resubscribing really simple. But to your point, while I don't have data to prove it, I think brands are losing more email subscribers due to a poor preference center process than they recognize. What percent of unsubscribes are valuable customers who just want to change their email address - and then never get around to re-subscribing? Thanks again for sharing!

  • Connecters Vs. Influencers by David Baker (Email Insider on 08/04/2014)

    Great post Mr. Baker. Identifying these key influencers (who are often, but not always, your best customers) in your email database can provide opportunities for "best customer," "surprise and delight," etc programs that are designed first and foremost to make these influencers feel even more positive about your brand. Many will then "share" their brand affinity far and wide - and have greater impact far beyond acquiring some new email subscribers. BTW, I think I know that father mentioned in your column! :-)

  • Was Shutterfly's 'Oops' Response Picture-Perfect Or Out-Of-Focus? by Loren McDonald (Email Insider on 05/29/2014)

    Thanks for the comment Chuck ... and yes, email mistakes are very common. But each sender still must determine if their "mistake" is significant enough that it does require a response. But also to your point, one of the best practices I recommend is that you communicate your correction or apology to only those customers/subscribers who were affected ... minimizing over communication. In Shutterfly's case, many people were quite offended by the email, so a response and apology was absolutely the right thing for them to do.

  • Revisiting Email Address Churn by Loren McDonald (Email Insider on 04/03/2014)

    Thanks Andrew ... and I agree. I touched on it in the causes of email churn section - "Channel preference changes." Some customers may get everything they need from a combination of your mobile app and Facebook page, are a great customer but don't feel they need to stay in your email program ...

  • Send a Blast, Kill a Hamster by Loren McDonald (Email Insider on 03/20/2014)

    No bet. Was based on my recent keynote presentation at eTail.

  • What's Your Competitive Advantage? by David Baker (Email Insider on 02/24/2014)

    Nice post David. You are coming at this competitive advantage issue - and differentiation - which was the subject of my EI column last week, positioning - from a different angle - process, innovation ... but really important. In your parlance, I think there are at least 2 ways email marketers can think about innovation: 1) Program iteration - think about cart abandonment remarketing. Deploying such a program has become a "must do/me too" now for retailers ...and there are several "accepted" best practices - but how can you take such a program and personalize/evolve it for maximum results for your customers, product mix, margin target, etc.? 2) But then also how do you develop truly innovative programs, that might be unique to your business or market? This requires a formal planning or innovation process, which very few marketing organizations make the time to do. It is also why a lot of the innovation actually comes from outside the organization- consultants, agencies, technology vendors who are motivated (and/or compensated) to develop innovative ideas.

  • Telling The EV Story: Why Building More Charging Stations Won't Boost EV Sales by Ted Page (Marketing: Green on 10/24/2013)

    Ted, as a fellow Media Post columnist and avid EV and solar power fanatic I was excited to read your column. I think you've definitely hit on a key aspect (poor story telling) of modest sales of the Volt and Leaf. However, EVs are actually outselling hybrids at the comparable stage - but we are still very early in the development and adoption of EVs. There are actually several factors holding back EV sales from exploding sooner (they are, however nearly doubling each year), including: - Choice: There is very little (Leaf and Volt which is not even a full EV, and the Tesla Model S, which costs $85K to $100K+). The others Ford Focus, Toyota RAV-4, Chevy Spark, Fiat 500e, etc are barely available, not marketed, etc... The upcoming BMW i3 looks to create some excitement in the market. But until there are dozens of good choices of EVs ... sales will not explode. - Design: Except for the Tesla Model S - most of the EVs and PHEVs are boring, ugly or just not exciting. Tesla is the only EV that is aspirational and doesn't look like a, well EV. Millions of people want the Model S - but only tens of thousands can afford it. The opposite is true about the Leaf, Volt, etc. - Range: Most pure EVs (except the Tesla Model S) only have a range of 80-100 miles. Even though most people drive less than 40 miles per day - Americans are freaked out about range anxiety. As batteries come down in cost the next few years, average range will increase toward 150 miles - which will greatly increase demand. - Charging Time/Infrastructure: Most apartments don't yet have chargers; and it costs a few thousand dollars typically to install chargers at home. And most EVs take several hours to charge (yes, except the Tesla). People need to have a mindset change ...and Tesla expects to have a SUper Charger in the next 2-3 years that will charge a Model S to half capacity in 5-10 minutes. This will be huge. - Cost: EVs are priced well above similar models. Until the cost narrows and it is then easier for a buyer to understand the cost savings of electricity powered over gas powered ... sales will not take off. - Solar: In Calif where I am, more than 50 percent of EV owners also have solar panels installed. The two are interconnected - the more people who install solar, the more who will buy an EV. And solar is about to explode in the next few years. - Ultimately I believe it is mostly about supply. The car companies simply aren't that interested in EVs right now as their sales are doing well (for most) and building and marketing new EV platforms is very expensive - just at a time when their financials are looking up. Could the auto companies do a better job marketing EVs and PHEVs? Absolutely, but until they get excited about EVs and start building dozens of models that offer quality and choice at a comparable cost to ICE cars ... only the greenie/early adopter types are going to take the plunge. Looking forward to more columns on the topic. Loren

  • Last-Minute Tips for Your Holiday Email Planning by Loren McDonald (Email Insider on 09/19/2013)

    Thanks AL! Great suggestion. I actually had something very similar to your suggestion, but I was about 200+ words too long and had to cut several things ... and looking at last year's data and campaigns got dust. Thanks for adding in! :-)

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