• What Do You Do About Emotional Opt-Outs?
    Managing an email program inevitably requires figuring out what to do with those pesky, emotionally opted-out customers. What are emotional opt-outs, you ask? These are customers in your email database that have not opened or clicked any email you have sent in a long period of time. It's the idea that these customers are disinterested in your brand's emails, but aren't taking the time to unsubscribe. Industry experts often disagree on how to handle these customers. One side says you should purge them, while others state you should keep them.
  • Was Sending That Prince-Themed Email After His Surprise Death A Wise Move?
    "To celebrate Prince we've marked down a collection of items just as striking as he was." Really? The retailer that used Prince's death to promote a discounted purple handbag clearly didn't think through that approach. Or, it lacked a process to deal with such events, or both.
  • Targeting Digital Teens (Generation Z)
    Like the teen generations that came before them, today's teens are concerned about appearances, image and their place in the social caste system of their particular worlds. At the same time, the world these digital natives live in changes rapidly, shaping them into a new generation. This shifting mentality raises questions about how and where to reach the lucrative teenage consumer market in a highly fragmented mobile social universe. Tactics that worked with the MTV generation won't resonate today. The sooner companies get to know this generation, the better.
  • Millennials' Technology Habits Will Change Direct Marketing
    Millennials are now the largest working generation in the U.S., and their habits are very different than those of earlier generations. Direct marketers who have constructed an email program to address earlier generational cohorts will find that their campaigns increasingly fall flat without some key strategic changes.
  • Five Common Myths About Email Deliverability
    With more than one in five commercial email message being blocked or placed into the junk mail folder, problems with deliverability are common and can be problematic. Unfortunately, mailbox providers do not provide a detailed roadmap for what exactly is causing a marketer's delivery issue - nor do they provide detailed instructions on how to fix the problem. To make matters worse, the rules for obtaining great inbox placement change frequently. Because of this lack of information and frequent changes to deliverability rules, several common myths about deliverability have sprung up to fill the information void:
  • Using Email To Drive That All-Important Second Purchase
    Getting a customer to buy from you a second time is one of the most common challenges that online retailers and ecommerce companies face. Many first purchases are seasonal buys, gifts or one-time solutions. Your challenge is to motivate these customers to come back in a different season, to buy gifts for a different person, or find something that complements their first purchases.
  • The Three Circles
    The challenges with painting by colors are somewhat similar to the old consulting triangle. The consultant walks in, listens to your business problems and draws three circles on the whiteboard. One has a dollar sign, representing budget and how much you can spend; the second has a big "S" in it, representing scope/quality of the project. The last is a "T," representing time to complete. The consultant then says, you get to control two of these and I get the other one - which do you choose? You may want a perfect program and have six weeks to build it, ...
  • 5 Steps To Cross-Channel Success
    Today's email marketers are often responsible for cross-channel relationship marketing - and for good reason. Email marketers have long experience with leveraging first-party customer data to send targeted and personalized communications. As channels like SMS/MMS, push and display retargeting became more prominent, it was only natural that email marketers would have a major hand in orchestrating these communications across the lifecycle. Still, many brands struggle with how to make cross-channel the new normal. Here are the steps I've found tried and true for building a successful cross-channel program with an email program as the foundation:
  • Preference Centers: If You Build It, They Might Not Come
    I've advocated for the customer preference center for many years, often as one of the few voices in the wilderness bucking opinions that preference centers are a waste of time, and behavior beats preferences anyway. Marketers complain about two things: Their customers don't use their preference centers, and the data is often inaccurate or dated. So, the preference center doesn't deliver the ROI they expect or need to justify maintaining or upgrading it. As the headline says in my Email Insider column from 2012, "Preference Centers Aren't Worthless - Your Approach Can Be."
  • You CAN Overcome These Three Common Email Challenges
    In my conversations with email marketers, a common set of hurdles is often mentioned -- factors that keep emails from being more personalized and targeted. Many issues can't be totally overcome without an investment of resources: financial and time. There are, however, some ways to chip away at the challenges to markedly improve your programs.
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