• A Plan? Who Needs a Plan?
    Most email marketers' days are probably spent either fielding last-minute requests to send an email to support an existing program that is under-performing. or as an after-thought. Whatever your situation, I am sure that at one point or another you have leveraged my favorite mantra: "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."
  • Understanding Delivery Problems: When to Contact an ISP
    Unfortunately, too many marketers think the fastest way to resolve a deliverability issue is to call someone at the ISP where the email is being blocked. In the *vast* majority of case, the delivery problem is because of problems on the sending side, not on the ISP side. Fixing the underlying cause of the delivery problem (complaints, spam traps, etc.) is the way that 90% of our clients' delivery problems are solved -- no ISP contact required. So when is it a good idea to contact an ISP or blacklist about a delivery issue?
  • Exceptions* Apply: Keeping Your Legal Text Quick and Cool
    This month, we were inspired by a warning sign that a team member saw at the airport. It read: "SNOW GLOBES. Please be advised that snow globes are not allowed through the security checkpoint. Your safety is our priority," and came complete with a picture of an innocent-looking snow globe with big red "no" symbol over it. Naturally, it reminded us of email. While we have no doubt that legitimate snow globe air travel issues prompted the sign, its seeming randomness made us wonder: what warnings, disclaimers and other legal text ARE important for folks to see? And if they're …
  • Email Preheaders: What Are The Rules?
    Last week, we sent out an email that had the following preheader: Not sure what you're looking at? Click here to View In Browser instead! We took a bit of heat for it on Twitter from a few folks in the email marketing community. Did we do it wrong? Did we break the best-practice rules?
  • Have You Updated Your Template for a Web 2.0 World (And Beyond)?
    As email marketers, we focus a lot of our efforts on content and images that are designed to do one main thing: get recipients to convert. That built business in a one-way, Web 1.0 world where digital communications were all about the message you wanted to deliver. But the Web has evolved to Version 2.0 via social media like blogs and social networks, where interactivity rules. Do your email messages give subscribers the option to do something else besides what you want? If you haven't updated your message template to build in social connections and usability, you're becoming as obsolete …
  • Will Email Ever Be 'Beamed Into Your Cerebral Cortex'?
    I was at an industry event some years ago when Martin Nisenholtz, then CEO of New York Times Digital, was on stage discussing the newspaper business. He made a point that still resonates with me today, some 10 years later. He defined the New York Times business not as the business of printing and selling papers, but of creating and distributing content. His position was that the New York Times would put its content on the web, send it out via email and the push technologies available at the time, and vigilantly look for new digital distribution platforms. "If there's …
  • Skunkworks Direct Marketing
    YouTube is fantastic for inspiration. I was trolling through in a moment of procrastination, and landed on an old commercial for a B2B marketing giant. It was a rebranding campaign, and there was absolutely no way for anyone watching the commercial to contact the company for more information. What a loss. That's not unusual, even these days. There is something about having a dedicated sales force that makes even good marketers forget about the basics. This is where a skunkworks approach comes in handy. If you find yourself stuck watching your company launch a big program without direct marketing support, …
  • The Consumer And 'Habits'
    Did you know that the unconscious mind controls 95% of human behavior? Imagine how many times you were driving to work and you arrived and didn't remember the last few miles of the trip. There is a great book called "Habit" by Neale Martin that is a must-read for the budding marketer or savvy marketing veteran. It explores what we think is true -- and then puts a spin on it! We think, "The customer is aware of what they are doing and they know why they do what they do." If you believe this, you've been classically trained in …
  • Ultimate Email Marketing Contenders Reveal Winning Strategies
    I had the unique pleasure of moderating two panels at the DMA Annual Conference in San Francisco this week, both focused on leading brands driving innovation and engagement in the email channel. I figured I would share some of the details with the MediaPost audience, since I did not see all of you in the sessions! So read on to hear some of what was shared by IHG, Zappos, MTV Networks, HauteLook and Travelocity.
  • Email Use Is Not -- I Repeat, NOT-- Decreasing
    In the landscape of communication between brands and consumers, I happen to believe that email is the foundation for building great relationships. How much do I believe this? So much so, this month I launched a new company with a focus on email marketing. That said, I'm not naive enough to think that email is the end-all-be-all. Far from it.
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