Commentary

Panel: Gain Control of Share-to-Social, Don't Punish 'Derek'

On a panel titled “Trends for Email Marketers - 2009/2010,” Susan Tull -- vice president of marketing at BlueHornet -- said her company is working with marketers to try and help them gain more control of the share-to-social function in emails.

In 2010, an aim is to “really optimize that share-to-social work flow, so marketers will be able to control the content that is actually being shared.” Some of that “control” involves content on landing pages.

AAA email marketing head Lara Conn said the travel company is starting to use share-to-social functions in email, and local AAA clubs are embracing it slowly. The option is “in its infancy, we are seeing it is being used … and (we’re) anticipating that to grow.”

REI has run a social campaign propelled by email alerts, where people are tipped off to a contest to design a new snowboard. People can then vote on the submitted designs and one will be manufactured. REI noted it has been “amazed” by the quality of the designs.

Gretchen Scheiman, a partner at OgilvyOne, spoke about hurdles involving automation in email -- where the link creative is a trouble spot.

Following up, BlueHornet’s Tull said that with respect to automation, there aren’t expected to be any new tools in 2010, and the challenge is getting marketers to use what’s already out there.

At AAA, a Canadian club has a program with vehicle registrations that will work over the next 99 years. Emails will be automatically sent to people as reminders when a registration is about to expire.

At Netflix, a system is set up to send emails immediately to someone who cancels a subscription, letting people know their accounts have lapsed for a three-month period. And automated reminders are later sent try and convince them to re-up.

A group of AAA clubs, Conn said, recently sent out a newsletter with a Disney link, where a person could opt to receive a Disney newsletter. And the clubs saw thousands of people opt to receive the Disney offering.

Andrew Kordek, manager of optimization at Groupon, touted a program â€" which was a subject on Twitter â€" that took place when people opted to unsubscribe to emails. When clicking that option, a video came up with Groupon email executive “Derek” saying the company is sorry you’re leaving. It then asked if the person wants to “punish” employee “Derek” and continue to drop the subscription.

“An engagement to disengage” is how Kordek described it.

Kordek did say there was considerable punishing of “Derek,” with few people being convinced to change their minds.

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