May 31, 2009

Will Google wave create a new direct marketing arena?

Google presented during this year's Google I/O the pre-release of Google Wave, the video of the presentation is available here.

This is what might be a big evolution in the way people communicate online.
According to me it's more about a mix of several ways of communicating (email, IM, iRC, Forums, Blogs,...). What really is making the difference here is that all these ways of communicating are merged into one, interactive way. Making it possible through one single tool to interact in several ways.

The presentation made by Google shows several possible uses of using Waves. The question I'm asking to myself just now that I saw the video is: Will it make a difference in direct e-marketing? Will it be a unique place to interact with your clients?

I guess we will get a better understanding of where it will lead us when the final version comes out.

Learn more about Google Wave:
Official Google Blog: Went Walkabout. Brought back Google Wave.

May 27, 2009

Men and Women are different - According to Emailvision

A recent study made by Emailvision UK reveals women are only half as likely to read the email newsletters. One out of ten open their newsletters versus one out of five men.
Other interesting piece of information is that women are more likely to unsubscribe (17% over the last year versus 7% of men). They tend to blame the amount of incoming emails when men blame the quality and relevance of the content.

The full study is available on Emailvision UK's website

May 24, 2009

New channel, same methods

With the increase of users in social networks, it was just a matter of time I guess before spammers got interested in spamming people there.
Recently, I could spot three new ways spammers try to get hold of contacts (just as spammers hack people's email contact lists and scan the net to gather emails).

First method is the nice looking lady friend request, I've experienced this in professional networks and facebook: A nice looking lady asks to enter your network, of course you never heard about this person, and it's very likely she will start sending to you links to commercial websites.
This spam method can easily be countered by not accepting unknown users' requests.

Second method (I just saw for the first time today): Hacking people's accounts (phishing). I received today an internal message on facebook from a friend that, after talking with, told me he never sent. This email was just a link to a website looking like a facebook login page. If you type in your information, it's very likely that your account would then be stolen and a mail be sent to all your contacts, pointing to this website. Once sufficient accounts are stolen, then they could start broadcast spam to all the contacts of these accounts.
To fight this kind of spam, I advise you not to type in your login/password on any other website than facebook (or a fully trusted third party website) and tell your contact, their account has been hacked so they can try to change their password.

Third method is, I'm afraid, a spam system you can't do anything about. Because the primary goal of a social network site is to allow people to connect to each other, the more often, it is possible to message anyone registered on the website, even outside your network. You would then be exposed to unsolicited messages, even though this is still quite rare.

Of course today, the amount of spam messages received through email is far more important than the number of spam you might receive through social networks, but beware, I'm afraid things could evolve quickly (and in a bad way).

May 18, 2009

Broadcast emails and then what?

This is a question I often see on other blogs and Marketing websites.

Once you are at the top of the art of email marketing and that you master all of the steps of a successful email marketing strategy.
Once your deliverability is at it's top, your IP and sender reputation all green, your email template optimized and your database segmented properly.
Once you have secured the incoming emails in your database, that you gathered useful behavioral and declarative information about them.

Then you are facing the BIG question: What can I do next? Is there any way I can optimize my strategy?

Well, basically this is when you will investigate social networks which is the great trend these days.

Basics of social network marketing are twitter, and social networks (such as facebook).

There are a lot of discussions accross the net about what needs to be done there and what content you should provide in all these different places.

Concerning content for example, if your newsletter has a great deal of information (not only a list of time limited deals and bargains, then you can create a blog syndicating the emails you sent. This is a very nice way of using on the long term what was initially an instant communication.

If you chose to create pages on facebook, it's also nice to put on this page a link to your email subscription form. Of course it's probably good to have somewhere on your email a "find us on facebook" button that links to your facebook page.

Once again, as mentioned in my post on the use of a datamart system, the important thing is to keep as many links as possible between all your means of communication.

Having plenty of means of communication is good but you need to keep a global thinking and have a general strategy, these means of communication are ways to achieve a specific goal (or different goals) you have, but your goals shouldn't be dictated by the means themselves.

May 15, 2009

Etymology can save your life.

I've always been (as a French man) impressed by how etymology of the English language could help have a good understanding of a words' meaning.
Let's take a couple of examples:
- Tourism: The activity of touring an unknown place.
- Proactive: Being active before action is needed (anticipating)
- Computer: Machine used to compute data.
- Direct marketing: Addressing directly your clients and potential clients with an advertising message.

Concerning the Etymology of Direct Marketing, I think it also means the Marketing message as well has to be direct.

I was this week in Spain, and I had a meeting with one of our newly signed clients to discuss features and make some tests.
When he showed me his email creative I almost choked:
The creative was just soooo big, with soooo much information, sooo many products that nothing really raised out of the lot (I'm talking here about an email so long you could drop dead while scrolling to reach the footer).
Get my point here: a Direct marketing email is no according to me an opportunity to send over an e-catalog to your potential clients, it's all about teasing the potential client to get him to your website (or shop) and to eventually buy something or registers or whatever is important to you.
One other thing: if your email is that long and your unsubscribe link is (as it was on this template I saw) in the footer, then it's very likely the user won't have the patience to search for it and will just press the complaint button.

I beg you: if you read these lines, keep your advertising messages short and punchy, don't ever think putting every single product you sell in an email will make it sure one will find what he looks for.
It's a war out there! People receive tons of advertising emails every day, it's very unlikely they'll spend over a minute reading them (the ones they care to open) you have to make your point quick and good.

May 8, 2009

Do you have a global strategy?

Companies often have an ESP to manage their email (and some times SMS) campaigns, a web analytics to measure website traffic and activity, a CRM and a Loyalty program.
This is good, but recently more and more companies have tried to merge all this information.

This really is a powerful plan, imagine: Today, it's just as if in your companie you had several employees in your marketing department, one knowing what are the best offers, one knowing what your clients like and another one knowing who are the best clients, but they never got the chance to talk to each other.

Merging all this information although it might sometimes be difficult and expensive to set up is the key to achieve great success.

Once you get everything to communicate, then you get the highest potential from all marketing strategies and channels.

What you need is a Data mart, some database when you can push in all this information and make it available back to the different tools that might need it.

Cabestan has such an offer called DMS Datamart, benefits are that this solution, based on some of our DB hosting tools is less expensive than a Datamart specialized solution.

At the end of the day what you need is to create an environment where all the data is merged and correctly mapped to make it possible to be used in any channel.

This can also get to another level when working with offline shops as well as a website, there is so much information that can be gathered in these shops which is too often not even sent back to the CRM system, due to a lack of upstream and of a normalized database.

With a data mart you can then agregate data from all these sources of information (and any other you can think of):
Website (web analytics + ad server), Email campaigns (ESP), Orders made by clients (CRM), Loyalty program (Loyalty Database), Shops surveys,...

Dont let the data in the wild, normalize and use, in the end you will save money, time and become more efficient.

May 7, 2009

Gmail images (again)

Sooo, I checked my gmail emails as usual this morning but the authorized senders have the images blocked again!
This time, when I re-approve the sender it doesn't even keep the information and I have to re-approve again when I come back to the exact same message.
I hope this bug will finally be solved because over the fact it's annoying as a user, it can have very big implications on broadcasts to addresses.
This impact can be very big (on that domain) knowing that people that accepted you as a trusted sender are the more likely to open your emails.

May 4, 2009

A mobile marketing code of ethics to be released in France

The French Mobile Marketing Association is about to release a code of ethics for Mobile Marketing. Ocito's Managing Director Benoît Corbin and Jamil Hijazi, CEO of The Mobile internet Agency EGS Media are working on the project.
This code of conduct should be released during the month of May.

Gmail's trusted senders reset

A week ago, all my trusted senders got their images turned off by default.
I thought I was one of few since no alert was made on the Gmail blog. But I saw a couple of posts such as the one made by Chad White on the Retail email blog made me confident it's a general issue.
Problem is here that all users that displayed your images by default will now have to click back to authorize the display of images which can have a negative impact on your opening rate.

It seems that the problem is now over, but I though I would just relay the info to explain potentially low Gmail open rates you might have experienced last week.

From prospection to loyalty presentation

I made a post last week mentioning the Cabestan v2009 keynote in Paris.
During this keynote I made a presentation of tips and strategies to manage your clients' life cycle from the moment they enter your DB onwards.
This presentation I made, I've translated to English. It is now available in the download section of Email-Ethics.
I thought it might be helpful, if it raises any question, please feel free to contact me or any of our local offices.
The contact information is available on the Safig Cabestan website.