Apr 26, 2009

Cabestan v2009

Tuesday is a great day for Cabestan!
On this day we will make a presentation in Paris of our new release, this release will come up with an entirely new design and new features (but let's not say too much of this right now ;)

The presentation will be organised as follows:
First, a presentation of the new Cabestan release
Second, 3 workshops dealing with the following arenas:
- Database management and targeting
- Get new clients and keep them
- Deliverability
Last, a presentation on our new Datamart offer : create a 360° vision on your client's database with Cabestan's eCRM solution, the DMS Datamart.
Videos will be made of this event and presentations released,... in French.
I will of course link them here for French speaking readers.
Those of you around Paris on that day, you can register the last available seats here

Apr 19, 2009

The oldest job in the world

Although people usually consider prostitution as the oldest job in the world I rather think one of the oldest (if not THE oldest) is marketing.
Since man is man, he has always tried to convince the rest of men surrounding him that he was either the best or the stronger or the better.

Among all forms of Marketing, Direct marketing has to be the first.
While technologies evolved from roars to emails and SMS, the basics remain the same:
Address someone or a small group of people to get them to do what you want them to.
Since then two main trends appeared: Brute force and physical domination on one hand and incentive and seduction on the other one.

When the first can only be reliable when the "marketer" is at a reasonable short distance of the "marketed", the second one can be efficient on a long range.
Indeed: Brute force only prevails when people are close enough to either be hit on or at least feel the threat and defer to it.
Even today, brute force still exists, it's more about leadership and supremacy. For instance, a dictator cares very little about seducing the people to get them to do something (although most of them had to seduce to get there in the first place).
This type of Marketing needs a constant domination, The "marketed" are aware they are free to chose and therefore once the oppression disappears, they change to other (often opposite) "products".

Seducing and getting people to do things through incentive is more subtle. It also has the big advantage to give the "marketed" the impression he is in command.
It's not only an impression, with this kind of marketing, the "marketed" ones are the ones that will take the final decision.

All this just to point out that if methods evolve, the means remain the sames, whatever marketing campaign you run you need to remember the following:
1 - You are addressing human beings that have the ability to think
2 - You have to give a reason to these people to buy your product or to register to your service (or to vote for you)
3 - People love to feel they are in command, and the ISPs and IT companies gave them this power (Spam buttons, Popup blocker, images blockers,...) over you
4 - You have to either adapt your message to what your target expects or wants to hear, or target your audience according to what you want to tell.
5 - You have to keep the relationship live, just like a love affair, not too present nor distant.

Apr 6, 2009

Don't ever, ever,...

By creating my campaign monitoring email to measure the volume of email sent (see previous post), I also saw a few things that just freaked me out.

The top 3 mistakes or bad practices on email campaigns I received during Q1 2009 are:

1 - The bad practice back from another century.
One of the Love match companies I subscribed to is now using it's 15th different email since I subscribed (which makes an average of 5/month.
All the emails are as follows: info222@website-name.com, info223@website-name.com, info...

2 - The "who are you again?" Email
One of the lists I subscribed to (for an online gambling website) sent me the first email... 94 days after I subscribed.
That's a hell of a long time.

3 - Sorry no parlo la lingua.
One of the Love match companies, to which I subscribed with a French profile, sent me all communications in French (Good)... except one that I received half french and half Norvegian - or something approaching (Bad).
Fortunately enough it was not the first mail I received from them (and fortunately enough there was absolutely no point for me to unsubscribe) but how bizarre!
It has to be noted here that I didn't receive any apology message after that...

I did see a couple of other dodgy things in the huge amount of email received, but these 3 are over the top.

First quarter email statistics.

I created an email account which I subscribed to plenty of lists. All these lists are segmented in industries

The goal here is to measure the amount of emails sent to subscribers according to the type of industry.

I segmented the types of list in the following types:

  • Brand (Brand advertising)
  • Casino (Online Casino and Gambling)
  • Entertainment (TV channels, Entertainment)
  • Games (Prize winning competitions, scratch games online)
  • Love Match (Love match and online meeting websites)
  • Offers (Online coupons, special offers, online bargains)
  • Private Sales (Private sales websites)
  • Retail (E-commerce, retail stores)
  • Travel (Online Travel agencies).
The statistics are the following (average number of emails received per week):

Type Avg Emails/W
Brand 0,735
Casino 0,963
Entertainment 1,236
Games 1,460
Love Match 5,089
Offers 1,775
Private Sales 6,644
Retail 2,308
Travel 1,595
ALL 2,423

Unsurprisingly Private sales come ahead with almost a mail per day average (according to the company it's from 5 to 8 mails per week in average).
A bit more surprising is the second in the list (in volume): Love match websites. I was amazed by the number of emails received when subscribed to this kind of list (it also depends on the website). Maybe the first relationship you get from these sites is the relationship with the website itself in a way.
The retail industry quite normally gets the third place with an average of 2.3 mails per week (more emails were sent during the different holidays of the first quarter (Valentine's day, St Patrick,...))
Then you get rest of the pack with a rate of around one mail a week.

This confirms that there is a huge discrepancy between Industries and that subscribers probably expects a given amount of weekly emails according to lists (from my personal experience, there is no big difference in complaints and unsubscribe rates between all these industries, it is more related to the website itself and it's practices).

If you are in the marketing department of a company and you are far of it's average maybe it's time to see if you could change the way you communicate with your clients.

Apr 4, 2009

Who wants to pay to put his name on a Jersey?

Since it's the week-end, let's make a post outside of email marketing.
I'm always amazed by good buzz marketing operations whatever channels are used in the process.

Who around here knows Romain Mesnil? Probably not many.
This 31 year-old man is probably the best French pole volter, he was second in the last European Championship and World Championship.
Problem is, Nike, his original sponsor stopped their collaboration, leaving him without any equipment sponsoring.

What to do then? Well he made a video of him running naked in the streets of Paris, carrying his pole around (no foney joke here).
This video has been seen almost 200 000 times on youtube (plus almost 600 000 times for the short version).

From this buzz he created a page on ebay where he sells the sponsoring of his jersey. The ebay sale will run until April the 9th. First price was 1 000€ it now is over 20 000€.
If you are interested you can bid here.
EDIT: It seems someone removed his bid, it now displays 1 510€.
EDIT2: The end date now is April the 10th 8AM (Paris time)

I'm not a huge athletics fan (I'm more into team sports) but I really think such creativity and risk taking should be rewarded.

Email Ethics Q1 2009 Survey released!

So, after a slight delay, my email marketing survey analysis is now released it can be downloaded on the email-ethics download page

All comments are welcomed.

Apr 2, 2009

OME'09 - Best practices?


The Presentation:
This presentation was supposed to deal with email best practices, I will not give neither the name of the speaker nor the ESP name, since I will criticize this presentation all along my blog post.

Try to picture a room of around 150 people gathered to hear about some email marketing best practices (as written on the trade show's program).
Then a guy shows up and loads his powerpoint.

He then runs through an amazingly long case study, showing off how well they match their client's expectations and how their tool can adapt itself to their client's needs.

25 minutes later (out of 30 minutes total) I was out of there, leaving behind me around 60 persons (half of them where probably having a quick nap) out of the 150 persons there in the first place.

Now if this presentation has something to do with email best practices, it can only be a good live example of why your subject line must match the content and why your email advertizing has to match the offers on your website.

It was probably not the point there but hey, I just can't convince myself I lost 25 minutes of my time in Madrid for no reason.

The trade show is now about to close it's doors, next blog post will probably be from Paris (and probably will be the complete results of my online survey).

Farewell OME!

OME'09 - Spanish people and email.

Arianna Galante (Account Director, ContactLab)

All my comments are in italic

The Presentation:
ContactLab was created in 2000, it's an Italian ESP, now working in Spain.
They ran a study on the Spanish people and their relationship with email.
This study's results were presented during the forum.

Target of the study:
The target of the study was to gather information on the Spanish people behaviour regarding email in general and email marketing in particular.
It was ran on people born after 1993, that connect to internet at least once a month.

1) Volume:
How many emails did you receive yesterday ? -> 22,7 average
How many email accounts do you have ? -> 2,01 average (likely to be one personal and one professional)

=> This shows how important it is to make a difference!
=> You need to broadcast relevant campaigns
=> You need to segment your database and to personalize your emails

2) Reaction when receiving an "unsolicited" (or irrelevant) email:
I erase it without opening it : 66%
I unsubscribe : 53%

=> No one answered they would complain (which came as a surprise to me - I do think they are likely to, even though they didn't pick that answer)
=> You need to give back the power to your clients : placing the unsubscribe link on top of your emails, by clearly identifying yourself when sending, by chosing a subject line that matches the actual content of your mail, remind the user why he is receiving this email).
=> This is also why it is important to cleanup your database from inactive users.

3) How do they read their emails?
  • What do they use to read their emails?
In a webmail : 45%
In a mail reader (outlook, thunderbird,...) : 25%
In both their webmail and a mail reader : 25%
On mobile devices : 5%
  • Do they display images when reading a mail?
Images not displayed by default but displayed when reading the mail: 43%
Images displayed by default: 39%
Images never displayed (including while reading the email): 10,8%
  • Equipment:
Personal Computer: 82%
Laptop: 56%
Mobile device: 10%

=> All these elements make it very important to make sure your emails display correctly whether images are on or off, and try to estimate the number of mobile devices users (and maybe send a full text version to these users).

4) Other types of messaging tools used:
Instant messaging tools (MSN, AIM, ICQ,...) : 79%
Social websites internal messaging system (facebook, linkedin,...): 49%

=> Therefore you need to adapt and to get involved in social networks. You probably want to search for new communication fields.

To conclude, Arianna Galante summed up saying a successful Spanish (but is it only Spain we were talking about right now?) email campaign needs to be relevant, sent to a clean database. That your content needs to be designed to be relevant whether images are displayed (or diplayable) or not. Every new move has to be tested and the results analyzed.

Update: The full report is available here (thank you Nikki)

OME'09 - Email Marketing, a weapon against the crisis

Maria Teresa Moreira (Country Manager, Emailvision)
Fiona Gillen (VP Marketing, Splendia)

The Presentation:
Splendia, a Spanish travel website was created in 2004, between 2004 and 2007 they ran a very aggressive lead collection program.
They now have around 500 000 optin profiles in their database.

Since 2008, their new strategy is based on:
  • Secure their bond with their clients.
  • Create a premium link with their consumers.
  • Create a dedicated relationship with each of their client.
  • Prospect new clients, generate new leads.

To build up a successful strategy, Splendia tried to find the good ESP (I write "tried", since they didn't chose cabestan of course ^^).
The choice was based on these elements:

1) The Emailvision company
  • Started in 1999
  • Nice features
  • Support team close to the client (office in Barcelona)

2) Delivrability and performance
  • Quick broadcasting
  • Secure platform
  • Good deliverability (around 95%)

3) Features
  • Inbox delivery monitoring tool.
  • Statistics followup
  • Easy re-send scenarios
  • Split testing
  • Automated campaigns
  • Transactional emails
Email is the second marketing channel in Splendia (after SEM). According to Splendia, chosing the right ESP is a key to success.
Sales and ROI can be increased by sending more (when of course keeping an eye on statistics, complaints and unsubscribers).
It is important to use as fully as possible all of your ESP's features.

Note: All of the features described in this post are also available using Cabestan.

On the booth yesterday, in the presentations today

So, here's Day 2 in the OME Madrid...

Yesterday I spend most of the day on the Cabestan Stand answering spanish speaking people that yes we are an ESP, no we don't rent databases, nor we own any of the hosted data.

Now it's time for presentations:
Just finished attending my second one and there's at least one more to go for me.

I'll make dedicated posts for each presentation to make it as complete as possible.

Anton, live from OME.

Apr 1, 2009

Live from the OME Madrid

Hello everyone,

I’m now live from the OME in Madrid. As always, very impressed by how people change companies in a year time...

I didn’t have time to see any presentation yet but will of course keep you informed as soon as I have.

Stay tuned!