The first chapter of "Samurai Selling, The Ancient Art of Service in Sales," defines the ancient samurai this way: "The samurai was not a maniac with a sword; he was a man with a mission that could be summed up by the question, 'How can I best serve my client?'" On this sentiment, authors Chuck Laughlin, Karen Sage and Marc Bockmon launch their book's creative approach to defining the ideal salesman.
When it comes to developing designs, branding guidelines are an essential tool for copywriters and designers in making sure the messages across various channels are consistent. Unfortunately, there is one important area that companies tend to forget when developing the online portion of branding guidelines. I often find myself asking when I've received such guidelines: "What about email?"
The current global financial meltdown serves as a great reminder of the broader role email can play in maintaining or enhancing your customer and subscriber relationships. Most email marketers tend to focus on email marketing's role to generate revenue or some conversion activity. Justifiably so, because email typically generates the highest ROI across your marketing channels and activities. However, at its core, email is a communications vehicle, with sales being just one of its many uses. Equally important, and even more so at times like this, it is the quickest way a company can reach out to its customers.
The retail industry is infamous for getting a head start on the holiday season, and this year promises to be no different than the rest. The arrival of Neiman Marcus' email yesterday touting its 2008 Christmas Book makes it official -- Q4 is upon us! If you haven't been preparing your email program for the holiday season, it's time to shake a leg and move into high gear.
I am taking a sabbatical from the Email Insider for a while, and hope to return with fresh insights and renewed enthusiasm. (When I wrote an article about PowerPoint, I knew the idea well had run dry!) After more than three years, it's time to step aside and let some new voices enrich you with their wisdom. I leave you with the Email Diva's guide to great email.
Years ago, preparing for a CPG brand pitch, the team sat around a table and thought of all the connections this particular brand could possibly have with its consumers. We naturally asked the standard questions: "How and when do people consume the products?" "How might we engage them through digital channels?" and "How much loyalty might the consumer have to these products?" In other words, how ingrained are the benefits of this product to consumers' lives? The problem is, the product was toilet tissue.
Some in our industry have bemoaned the fact that we're always covering the basics. I think that's primarily a reflection of where the industry as a whole is. While there are some organizations doing amazingly advanced things with email, most companies are still nailing down the fundamentals. That's partially a consequence of the growth of the email marketing industry -- lots of fresh faces -- and the fact that most university marketing programs don't address email marketing very well, if at all. At the Email Experience Council, we certainly get asked the same questions again and again...
The "official" presidential debates may have pundits arguing until November about the winner; however, a second debate has been raging for months. This debate is over the correct way to use email communications in a political campaign. Both parties have embraced email as a communication strategy, but it seems they are abysmally poor at executing based on today's best practices. Here are a few observations from the political email process that provide a great checklist to review your organization's programs.