Just because its legal…

Just because its legal…

I was in a well know home furnishings store over the weekend with my wife. As we were checking out, the clerk turned to me with a nice smile and said "Would you like to sign up for our email list to receive special promotions in your inbox". In my mind I said "hell ya" being the email dude that I am. After I said yes, she said "that's great...go ahead and fill out that sheet on the counter and we will be sure to enter you into our system." When I looked down on the counter there is was..in plain view, a sign up sheet (like the ones you had in school) with peoples names, address', birthdays, phone numbers and email address' right there for the world to see. I asked why they have a sign up sheet like this to grab my information, why they have it for everyone else to see my information on it and asked if...
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Email at Just the Right Time

Email at Just the Right Time

Being an email marketer, I get a lot of email. Most of it is only marginally useful, but I stay signed up because it is good for competitive research. So, when I get an email that is really on target, helpful and unexpected, I get weirdly excited. That’s what happened recently. We had tickets that I purchased several months ago to go see the Radio City Spectacular Show. About 3 days before the show, just when I needed to start figuring out where we would park and eat near the theater, I got an email from the show with helpful links to those things and more! How cool was that? I was able to easily click through to get a list of parking garages (hopefully avoiding us circling midtown aimlessly trying to find an open lot). Then I clicked through to get a list of restaurants that would be kid-friendly and not break the bank. Now, could I have found all that on...
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Respect.

Respect.

There have been quite a few posts around the email blogs lately about predictions or avenues for success in 2011.  Some of the common pieces of advice that I am reading are: relevancy, testing, segmentation, preferences, content etc..... However there is one thing that I truly believe in that I have yet to read about and that is respect. Respect your subscribers. Respect them as consumers, as customers and as real people. Are you respecting your subscribers by sending them an email every day pitching your company?  Think about this for a minute. Would you call up a prospect EVERY single day and pitch them over the phone. Better yet..would you do it to a friend? Would you call them up 3 days a week to sell them something?  Did you set any sort of expectations upfront about frequency?  Are you willing to dial it back to save them as a subscriber? I bet not.  Its all about respect. Respecting your subscribers goes...
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Email Marketing Insights From Obama and McCain

Email Marketing Insights From Obama and McCain

In the two weeks leading up to the November 4 election, email messages came fast and furious from the presidential campaigns of both John McCain and Barack Obama. In the last week, both supporters received at least two emails a day from both campaigns. In evaluating those email messages, I saw commonly held best-practices that should be emulated, practices that should be avoided by marketers, and a few new concepts that may inspire email marketers to take their programs to the next level. Despite the outcome of the election, lessons can be learned from both presidential candidates. Also, some practices simply do not cross over from the relationships that political candidates form with their constituents to the relationships that marketers develop with their customers. For example, sending two or three messages a day simply does not translate for relationship marketers. Generally, our goal is to develop loyal customers who will maximize the profitability of these customer relationships over time. Sending email too frequently...
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Why 70% of Facebook ‘Fans’ Don’t Want Marketing, and What You Can Do About It

Why 70% of Facebook ‘Fans’ Don’t Want Marketing, and What You Can Do About It

This summer, I directed research on consumers' attitudes toward marketing. We surveyed more than 2,300 consumers and interviewed nearly 100 people on the street. Among our findings was that 70% of consumers who visit Facebook at least once a month and are a "fan" of at least one company or brand don't believe they have given those companies permission to market to them. Moreover, 40% of those "fans" don't believe marketers are welcome in social networks at all. Getting people to identify themselves as fans is obviously a good thing, but what is the value if consumers don't believe they are kindling a relationship with marketers when doing so? The following insights from the study* will help you understand how companies can capitalize on this demonstration of enthusiasm without turning fans off. People visit social networks to communicate with current friends, catch up with old friends, and otherwise express themselves. A full 44% of people who are fans of at least one company or brand...
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Why Social, Mobile, and Email Are BFFs (Not Archenemies)

Why Social, Mobile, and Email Are BFFs (Not Archenemies)

In the technology industry, we constantly focus on the next big thing. It started with computers, which were going to do away with paper. Then came Internet shopping, which was going to do away with catalogs and (gasp!) going to an actual store. Then email came, which threatened to replace letters. Mobile and social are the latest to be added to the mix. So, what are they going to replace? Catalogs and paper (again)? Television? Email? Marketing as we know it? No. Looking to the next big thing is not inherently a problem. As marketers, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves and our employers about the impact new technologies will have on our businesses. We need to consider how changes in technology can open up new opportunities and how they change the way we interact with consumers. However, in our zeal for the next big thing, we must guard against assuming that the next big thing will immediately replace the things we already know. For...
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Move your message from inbox to in-mind

Move your message from inbox to in-mind

When it comes to branded communications, consumers hold all the power. Here's how to email some of the most-targeted marketing demographics, based on their preferences. As new modes of communication become increasingly popular, we read a lot about how different audiences prefer one form of communication over another. Teens prefer texting, college students prefer social networks, etc. So, where does email fit in now, and what can we expect in the future? While there is extensive research on the emergence of new communication tools, most of this has focused on adoption statistics instead of the attitudes of the adopters. ExactTarget and Ball State University's Center for Media Design recently collaborated to research and understand how different target audiences leverage these tools and the implications this has for direct marketers. To do so, we developed six distinct personas for commonly targeted marketing audiences: Teens: High school students between 15 and 17 years old. College students: Full-time students, primarily 18-24 years old. Young homemakers:...
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5 ways to sabotage your email list-building efforts

5 ways to sabotage your email list-building efforts

The desire to grow In a recent survey conducted by ExactTarget, in collaboration with the Email Marketer's Club and the Center for Media Design at Ball State University, 38 percent of email marketers cited email list growth as a top priority in the coming year. That so many would have this at or near the top of their list should come as no surprise given the central role of a healthy list of subscribers in the success of any email marketing program. Meanwhile, the rallying cry in email marketing over the last few years has shifted from batch-and-blast to relevance, and from focusing on the number of subscribers on a list to focusing on sending the right message to the right person at the right time. Herein lies the problem. Once list growth is stated as a priority, the focus tends to shift back to the numbers. To a degree, this makes sense. For an email program to be sustainable it must have...
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Why consumers think your brand doesn’t get it

Why consumers think your brand doesn’t get it

"Marketers just don't get it!" was one common phrase at a conference I attended earlier this month. While quips like this may be useful in drawing the attention of those in the audience, few making these claims ever went on to explain exactly what marketers didn't get, nor did they offer up any hypotheses about why marketers may be having such a hard time doing so. Truth is there is simply a huge difference between those that do "get it" and those that do not. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of marketers in the latter camp wandering aimlessly in a multichannel marketing communications landscape that is changing by the day. This reality crystallized for me recently while working on a two-part research project. First, my firm commissioned a study by Forrester Consulting of marketers' perceptions and strategies in various multi-channel marketing initiatives. Second, we conducted our own research on how consumers want marketers to communicate with them. Comparing the attitudes of...
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Are your consumers Facebook-first or email-first?

Are your consumers Facebook-first or email-first?

As part of an ongoing research project looking for insight into consumers' online priorities, ExactTarget asked a simple question: "Where is the first place you go online when you first login in a typical day?" We found that 58 percent of online consumers check their email first, compared to the 11 percent who start their day by checking Facebook. Looking deeper, we found that where people start their day online reveals a lot about the rest of their digital day, providing a glimpse into how and where they want to engage with brands. Consumers who start their day on Facebook tend to be more social-minded. They tend to share more information online and want to maintain a greater distinction between how they feel brands should behave on Facebook versus on email. In general, we found that those who Facebook first tend to engage with brands for entertainment or to stay informed about the brand's activities. In other words, they aren't turning...
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