• The Unofficial Matilda Jane Email Marketing Focus Group
    I am a sucker for a good "at home" party. I go prepared to buy cooking stuff, food, makeup and now, apparently... kids clothes. A friend of mine recently invited me to a Matilda Jane party -- a trunk show for girls, really. And given the fashion icon my daughter strives to be, we were there. No questions asked. During the party, there was a plethora of other mothers there -- none of whom I knew at all. But during the night, I got asked the question. You know, THE question: "So Kara, what do you do for a living?" …
  • Embrace The Unknown, Then Embrace It Again
    Great email marketers embrace the fact they don't always know what will work. That truth was reinforced this week as I sat alongside some of the best email marketers in the world participating in a lightening round of "Which Creative Won?" The "experts" were right more than half the time, but one result in particular defied everything any of us have learned about email best practices. As we shook our heads, one participant leaned over and said, "Sometimes real-world results just don't make sense."
  • Widening Email Performance Gap Between Haves And Have-Nots
    Email marketing's cost-effectiveness is its greatest strength and greatest weakness. Its inexpensiveness drives some to minimize their costs to maximize their return, while others see email's low cost and high ROI as a strong signal to invest further in the channel. These two mentalities are bifurcating the email marketing industry into the haves and have-nots.
  • My Industry Wish List
    Every year I predict trends in the space -- some things that may happen, some that we want to happen and a bit of wishful thinking. In the email marketing space, we haven't had a lot of innovative change in the last 10 to 15 years. Some may think this is because email is a stodgy channel that is destined to fade away, and others believe it's become such a staple of the marketing business and consumer communications that it does not need major innovation to sustain itself. As such, my wish list for 2012 is predicated on three central …
  • Nine Rules For Effective Behavior-Based Email Marketing
    Using customer behavior effectively in every aspect of your email-marketing program can help lift your results from "so-so" to "spectacular." Behavior triggers highly relevant emails that reflect what your customer actually does, such as opting in, purchasing, browsing your website or downloading a file. But you must know where to find and collect the data and integrate it into triggered email messages. Before you take the next step, study up on these rules of the road that will help you make the most of your behavioral data:
  • Flipped Funnel: Changes In Sales Paradigm Affect Email, Too
    The funnel is a tried-and-true symbol of the sales process. Leads come in at the top and are then refined/defined by the sales process till they emerge from the bottom as conversions. For over a hundred years, this model has been a guide for countless sales professionals and marketers. However, in the new millennium the funnel has been flipped, shaken and stirred. If the paradigm of the sales funnel shifts, then so too must our perceptions on how to use email to feed and maintain it.
  • What Grade Is Your Email Program Entering?
    So today was the day -- the day that I got my 4-year-old twins registered for kindergarten. My youngest, my babies, were growing up. Where did all the time go? I remember wondering if my husband and I would survive three kids under the age of three when they were born. And now look at them. It happens to us all. In the blink of an eye, time has passed with little recollection of what happened in those moments. Growing email programs are very similar -- you started with nothing and now you have 4 million subscribers.
  • Inbox Placement Monitoring: Past, Present, Future
    A question popped up recently on a private email list I participate in about the validity of seed lists to determine inbox placement rates. To answer that question, it helps to take a look at the evolution of the practice of deliverability and also give a peek into what the future might hold.
  • Getting Pinterested In Email
    The online world is abuzz about the virtual pinboard site Pinterest these day. Launched in March 2010, Pinterest already had 11.7 million unique visitors as of January 2012, having surpassed the 10 million unique visitors mark more quickly than any standalone site in history. These days, it drives more referral traffic than LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube combined. So, as an email marketer, what's your next move? How should you determine if Pinterest is right for you, and what's the best way to get a piece of the Pinterest pie?
  • Data Today, Data Tomorrow
    As Colin Powell suggests, "Experts often possess more data than judgment." I could spend all of this column listing simple forms of data that could in some way be used to target, segment or prescribe an experience. Yet I believe we've grown past simple recognition of data, and data management doesn't adequately describe the problems we face in this industry. We are at a point of intermediation where decisioning meets judgment. I foresee some events in our space over the next few years that we'll have to shape to our advantage to survive.
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