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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

  • 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:

  • Email As Discovery Tool? Try It, You'll Like It! in Email Insider on 07/24/2014

    A successful shopping experience isn't just one where you find exactly what you wanted. Dedicated shoppers know it's also serendipity, such as discovering a tasty gourmet ravioli on your way to pick up a 25-pack of paper towels. Sending the most relevant offers to customers is important. So is using email to introduce products to customers who might not find them any other way, or who think of your company and products only once a year at holidays. My recent family vacation in Greece got me thinking about email's essential role in discovery as well as sales and branding, and how marketers can use it to make their emails more useful, valuable -- and, ultimately, irresistible.

  • Using Email To Promote Mobile App Usage in Email Insider on 07/10/2014

    Mobile's early boosters bragged that apps would make traditional email obsolete. Why mess with rendering, spam and deliverability hassles when you could just push messages right to your customers' phones? We all know how that played out. Users don't always open all of the apps they download, and often dump unused ones to make space for new apps. But new statistics from Localytics, an app analytics and marketing platform, show usage and retention are creeping up. The report had one oversight: It didn't mention using email to drive app usage. So we'll focus on that topic for this column.

  • Eight Email Tactics To Help Close The Smartphone Browse-To-Buy Gap in Email Insider on 06/26/2014

    Your mobile user stats likely indicate more readers are viewing your emails and visiting your website on their smartphones. But are you seeing a parallel increase in conversions? If not, you aren't alone. IBM's 2013 Holiday Benchmark Study found that smartphones drove 21.9% of online traffic but only 5.4% of online sales. Tablets, on the other hand, accounted for 13.2% of online traffic and 12.3% of online sales. Tablets also rule average online order values, too: $126.30 compared with $106.49 for orders on smartphones.

  • Four Tactics To Help Coach Your Team Members To Success in Email Insider on 06/12/2014

    If you ever read my Email Insider columns all the way to the end (and thanks to those who do), you know my closer: "Take it up a notch." My goal with these columns is always to try to encourage you to find better ways to do email marketing. But this time I'm challenging my readers who are team leaders with this question: What are you doing to encourage your email team members to perform at a higher level so that they can take it up a notch in order to achieve goals (better skills, greater contribution to company goals or the bottom line, etc.)?

  • Was Shutterfly's 'Oops' Response Picture-Perfect Or Out-Of-Focus? in Email Insider on 05/29/2014

    Are you a Shutterfly email subscriber who received the online photo service's errant "Congratulations on your new arrival!" email in your inbox recently? Maybe you shrugged, laughed, deleted the email or did all three. Or, like hundreds of other recipients, you took to Twitter or Facebook to tease or scold the company on its misfired message. Errant emails like Shutterfly's are almost inevitable in email marketing. Your mistake might not generate the same social and news media heat, but you should be ready for anything and have steps to manage it in your disaster-preparation plan.

  • Surprise And Delight Your Best Customers in Email Insider on 05/15/2014

    I travel a lot and spend many nights in hotels for my job. So it's really nice, for example, when a hotel chain surprises me with a temporary bump in my status, upgrading my room to a large suite. That "surprise and delight" acknowledgement shows companies appreciate my loyalty and that the money I (my employer) spend with them time after time can make me an even more devoted customer. Your best customers appreciate these gestures, too. They might be in your loyalty or rewards program, if you have one, but adding an email-marketing program that thanks these top-tier customers can drive even more benefits.

Comments by Loren All comments by Loren

  • '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! :-)

  • Five Predictions For The Email Marketing Holiday Season by Chad White (Email Insider on 09/10/2013)

    Nice column Chad, I particularly like #2 about gift cards. A couple of obvious tactics: 1) I think more retailers will add pop-overs on their site to grow opt-ins; 2) add email receipts as an option in store; 3) Add simple re-sends and series to existing campaigns/programs; 4) Update their preference centers to include frequency and snooze options; 5) More personalized and dynamic onboarding programs; 6) Under your #3 - I would just add that browse remarketing is going to start taking off this year - but probably explode in time for 2014 holiday season.

  • The Habits Of Highly Ineffective Email Marketers by Loren McDonald (Email Insider on 08/22/2013)

    Nancy, Pete, Al - thanks for the comments. Interesting that you all focused on the "meaningless metrics" aspect. Al, completely agree with your points - and this is why I've been hammering this message for years - like my "Why the open rate must die" column, and yes in a way us ESPs are culpable in that we make these basic reports so easy to focus on ... but, and I can't share anything, but stay tuned for some cool things coming from Silverpop in the"more meaningful" reporting area ...Great to hear your voice in the marketplace. Cheers!

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