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Mark Klein

Member since January 2008Contact Mark

CEO at Loyalty Builders Inc

Articles by Mark All articles by Mark

  • What To Do When You Know What Your Customers Are Going To Do in Email Insider on 12/18/2014

    If you knew the river was going to flood, would you head for higher ground? Of course you would. If you knew more than a hundred new people would show up at your door to buy today's special, would you plan to have that special in stock? You'd be foolish not to do so. Now, if you knew which customers were likely to defect, or to buy certain products not previously purchased, what would you do? What would your emails say? Would you act differently than you do currently?

  • Mobile Messages: Email, Text Or In-App?  in Email Insider on 10/22/2014

    With the rise of mobile communications, we are in the midst of yet another sea change in the process of sending electronic messages. But the change is more than just style; even the nature of electronic messaging is expanding for mobile users. Besides traditional email and its format of recipient, sender, subject, and message body, we now have text messaging and in-app communications as vehicles for electronic communications, each with its own strengths. For companies communicating with their customers, the new challenge is determining which of these forms is best suited for their marketing communication tasks.

  • Where Segmentation Fails in Email Insider on 09/29/2014

    As email marketers, we are regularly exhorted to make our communications more relevant. Avoid spray-and-pray, we're told, and watch response rates rise. However, most companies don't know how to send unique, personalized offers to each customer, even though today it is much easier than they suspect. Instead, most companies fall back to a divide-and-conquer strategy commonly called market segmentation. It has many benefits, but also many shortcomings.

  • Obligations Of An Opt-In Email Merchant in Email Insider on 09/03/2014

    Ultimately, it's all about trust. If you are using best practices and doing opt-in email, your customers have given you an invaluable asset: the right to send them email. When that "From" field displays your brand name, your odds of getting an open should dramatically increase for an opt-in customer. But this asset doesn't come without strings attached. You need to nurture it and continually reinforce the implicit trust associated with it. We suggest some ways to do this (and thank many of our clients from whom we've shamelessly borrowed these good ideas).

  • Pocket Change: How Mobile Is Changing Email  in Email Insider on 07/22/2014

    Email marketers know the numbers - how many people are opening their email on their phone, how fast this number is growing - and they are trying to adapt. Here are some ways that smartphones in pockets (and tablets) are changing how you need to interact with customers:

  • Good/Going/Gone: Simple Segmentation Scheme To Market To Your Customer's Next Move in Email Insider on 07/02/2014

    Inertia and fear determine more marketing campaigns than most marketers are ready to admit. While companies talk the talk about customer-centricity and relevant communications, what comes out of their servers is that same old/same-old, one-size-fits-all, spray-and-pray messaging. When reading that each of their millions of customers should be getting individualized emails, the prospect of doing that actually frightens some of them and questions their competence as marketers. Their incorrect perception of the required effort (it's much less than they think) feeds that fear and stifles their ability to move forward with better campaigns.

  • Overcoming Obstacles To Relevant Marketing  in Email Insider on 05/21/2014

    There are several different names for relevant marketing: personalized marketing, individualized marketing, one-to-one marketing, micro marketing are some we've heard. Lots of companies want to do it, primarily for two reasons: customers are objecting to "one size fits all" spam, and vendors believe that relevance raises response rates. But whatever you call it, and regardless of your motivation, there is little consensus on how to communicate in a meaningful and unique way to each of your customers.

  • If Marketing Were A Game Like Jeopardy in Email Insider on 04/30/2014

    Check out your email marketing and question-formulating smarts.

  • Artificial Manure And Better Emails in Email Insider on 03/17/2014

    Way back in the late 19th century, in rural England, an agricultural scientist named Sir John Bennet Lawes founded Rothamsted Experimental Station and patented the first artificial manure. This not only marked the start of the chemical fertilizer industry, but it was also a key development in the search for more effective emails. We are constantly told that testing is the path to better email response rates, but we also know how time consuming and expensive it is to test all the variables that define an email campaign. What Sir John and his colleague, Joseph Henry Gilbert, did was invent a better way to test that is absolutely perfect for email.

  • You've Got Mail: What Every Marketer Should Know Before Hitting Send in Email Insider on 01/29/2014

    I recently rewatched Nora Ephron's 1998 romantic comedy, "You've Got Mail," and I was struck by how much has changed since the movie's release. Back then, receiving an email was a big deal, and the AOL chime notice was a recognized part of pop culture. Today's reality is that you've got mail, and mail and mail: so much of it that managing email can steal hours from your workday. Email is a victim of its own success.

Comments by Mark All comments by Mark

  • Where Segmentation Fails by Mark Klein (Email Insider on 09/29/2014)

    I agree. Recent activity is one of the pieces used to make recommendations, but not the only piece. Cross-sell is key to growing revenue, and recent activity might not trigger appropriate cross-sell recommendations.

  • Demographic Data Is Dead: Get Action Through Live Data Instead by Neil Rosen (Email Insider on 05/07/2014)

    and the best live data is actual transaction data--what people buy is the most accurate predictor of what they will buy and who will buy and what products they will buy

  • Beyond Your Wildest Streams, Part II: Data Is The New Czar by Bob Garfield (Garfield at Large on 03/10/2014)

    Garfield is right, data is the new czar, but he misses the really big opportunity. Analyzing transaction data at the individual customer level (what people have already purchased) will let you predict what customers will buy next, even stuff they have not yet purchased (cross-sell). This means that when your company sends out a million emails, each one can be different, offering different products to different customers. Companies doing this today are seeing spectacular returns.

  • How Can Something So Simple Be So Hard? by David Baker (Email Insider on 10/21/2013)

    I suspect that buried in the paragraph about cadence is an assumption that relevance is directly connected to the creative treatment. There are at least three ways to be relevant: targeting, messaging, and offers. Relevant targeting means sending to customers ready to buy now. For email, the address set is usually larger than for other media. Companies email to everyone they can, and deliverability counts, so this option is usually ignored. Relevant messaging is what I think you are talking about when referring to testing creative treatments. However our experience is that this grab for relevance is far less effective than making relevant offers. It’s easily possible today to send a million emails to customers with each customer receiving a unique set of offers and visuals depending on their previous transaction behavior. You don’t have to worry about ‘being relevant when the time is right” if you are relevant every time. With individualized offers, what we call individualized marketing, you are. That’s the way to drive engagement.

  • Response Modeling by David Baker (Email Insider on 01/30/2012)

    Response modeling is difficult and not even the best way to do targeting. I outline an alternative in my recent blog post titled "Why response models are the wrong way to target" on the Loyalty Builders website Here's why: First, they only use the treated customers to build the model, ignoring valuable information from the rest of the population. Second, and more important, they only represent their slice of the customer world at a moment in time. Customers are always in motion, and today’s model doesn’t match tomorrow’s customers.

  • Customer Segmentation by editor and David Baker (Email Insider on 11/16/2009)

    What a treat to read an article about segmentation from someone who obviously has been working in the trenches. I can’t resist tossing my two cents’ worth into this discussion: • “…the challenge is balancing the right segmentation methodology with an organization's ability to work within these guides”. --- Right on! In our experience, it is not the segmentation that’s hard. Executing against it is difficult. Companies struggle to go from spray and pray to writing copy and making offers for even as few as three segments, plus they need to launch the separate mail streams. We became an existing customer marketing solutions company to help our clients with these challenges. • “If you are too granular in your definitions, you'll struggle to get programs out the door.” --- The segmentation can be broad—perhaps a handful of groups—but each customer can be approached in a personalized way, with personalized offers, by using purchase probabilities and variable data. • “..yet it becomes a really daunting task to manage your email programs with this approach without a very refined approach to modeling that continually updates itself.” --- Management is simplified with marketing automation through rules-based triggers. And if the analysis is based on behaviors, you don’t need continuous updates to the models. • “…if your products turn over quickly, or you have thousands of SKUs, it can be impossible to manage iteratively outside of simple targeting or high/low transactional periods.” --- Here, I strongly disagree. We routinely deal with client companies that have well over 100,000 SKUs. We predict purchase probabilities for each of their customers, but it would be unwieldy to do so for each SKU. Instead, we use the client company’s hierarchical division of their SKUs into groups and subgroups, and analyze at that granularity. Most clients can market effectively when there are purchase predictions for up to several hundred groups of SKUs. Further, SKU-intensive and customer-intensive companies have tons of transactional data, which makes the analysis more accurate. • “…behavioral data?” --- We know this type of data, transactions, makes for the most accurate predictions of what a customer will buy next or which customers are likely to defect. We put data on a scale from passive to active, with demographic data at the passive end, attitudinal data next, then browser clicks, with transactions at the active end. The more active the data type, the more accurate the predictions. We have quantitative data to prove that customer satisfaction survey results do not correlate w/ future buying behavior. RFM is a really weak, low accuracy form of transactional behavior analysis, but still better than some other types. • “The challenge with this approach is twofold.” [expensive and difficult to operationalize] --- By totally automating the analysis process, we’ve been able to reduce the time and cost dramatically. By automating the execution with triggers and workflow, delivery is simplified. Our clients are implementing differentiated contact strategies based on continued analysis and automated execution and doing this at very reasonable rates. The end result is an increase in customer lifetime value.

  • Retention Is The New Acquisition Strategy by editor and David Baker (Email Insider on 06/01/2009)

    David, see my blog post with the same title from last September at

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