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May 2010

Email Spend Predictions for 2010-2014

The DMA had a webinar where the presenter spoke about the following graph from Forrester Research.

Email spend
As marketers increase the amount of email in their marketing mix or as part of an ongoing cross media marketing strategy, they should keep the following three points in mind.

Avoid data silos
Email can be a great tool, but don’t create a separate program to manage.  There are plenty of SaaS solutions for any task, but pick one that minimizes production time.

Acquire good data
It is tempting to send commercial emails to everyone in your CRM or client lists.  Don’t. Ever. Not once!  The number of spam complaints, bounces, and ill will you generate will overcome the gains.  Trust us. Instead, provide opt-in mechanism on every touch you make and build the list over time.

Coordinate Content
Avoid creating multiple sets of content for various channels.  It becomes too darn hard to manage it all.

Mercedes Marketing Blunders Continue Faster than an AMG

Once again, Mercedes Benz has bungled their data and sent out irrelevant and inappropriate communications.  The vehicle in question is up to date on all service.  Only forty five days ago the brakes and tires were serviced at the local dealer and today the following message arrived.


The lessons for marketers could not be more clear:

Establish data quality procedures
Get this right first.  The risk of brand damage is massive if firms continue to send the wrong message, to the wrong customer, at the wrong time, on the wrong channel.  No firm, especially those who desire to be premium providers, can not understand their customers and fail to speak to them as individuals.

Listen then speak
Create a two way conversation that allows prospects and clients to provide feedback and do not always push information.  What is important to the marketer may or may not resonate with the target.  Find out.

Be relevant
Follow the first two steps in order to craft relevant and meaningful communications.

60 to 0 is right...

Selecting Service Providers for Agencies & Marketers

As a follow on to our last post, the discussion around the water cooler and in the conference room turned to the selection process we take in selecting partners.  The top level of features and price are easy to determine.  But the real trick is what will happen when the proverbial s%^t hits the fan and you need help.  This is especially true in any online business venture where third parties provide a part of your service.  Some examples are email, web hosting, SMS text and other portions of cross media campaigns that you may rely on a vendor for.  Of course, if Twitter goes down it effects all marketers equally so its no big deal, if only your portion of a service goes down, watch out.  So what are some of the less than obvious things to consider?

Key Questions:

  • Is there 24 hour customer service that can resolve issues?
  • How can customer service be reached? Is access by email only or is there a direct dial phone?
  • If there is a customer service number, is there competent help available at 0200 or is a trouble ticket the extent of the aid you can get?
  • How critical is the service to your business? If it is a core part of the services you offer to your customer the level of support is far more important.
  • What error handling and monitoring does the vendor have in place? In short, does the vendor discover errors and bugs only after you tell them or do they have a robust system for monitoring errors in real time.
  • What time zone /hemisphere is your provider in? To get them during business hours are you going to have to be up at 0200?

Get detailed answers to these issues ahead of time for critical outsourced systems.  Sales will always say that their firm has great customer service, but get specifics and proof.  Ask about response times from the call center, not just up time guarantees.

The answers may surprise you…

Chose your social media partner carefully…

A critical part of any firm’s marketing mix is that organization's social media marketing strategy.  A change in terms of service or a billing dispute can quickly put your firm at the mercy of a service provider and leave you with a lot of extra work to repair the damage.

1. The technology platform you select has the ability to control content.
Be careful when choosing providers that you are not run out of town by a change in the provider’s terms of service to support favored firms. Recent examples include Apple’s change to their terms of service about content that allowed Sports Illustrated to go ahead with their swimsuit issue but prevented most other organizations from showing bathing suit clad models.

2. What happens if you get cut off or they go down?
We have discovered the hard way that a billing dispute with a social media site can cause painful repercussions.  The conventional wisdom says to link your firm’s websites to a variety of social media but be careful.  Consider carefully the number of locations and difficulty to update web sites, landing pages, email signatures, blog footers, et. al. if, or when, you lose access to one of them.  Keep in mind how much content will need to be republished to change or remove links that are no longer valid.

It is also important not to rely on a single provider to host all your web content.  Spread your content over a variety of social media sites to mitigate the risk of losing a major portion of your web presence in the event they fold or you find yourself in a billing dispute.

Take Aways

  1. Chose your partner with care. A cloud provider can have you at their mercy if they change their terms of service.
  2. Build on a provider model so that your firm can switch content providers and be certain your web presence does not rely on one
  3. Keep in mind the difficulty of updating links in the event a particular provider goes away.

QR Codes & other Hot Items - 2010 VDP Web Webinar Series

Explore QR Codes and other hot marketing trends. Discover how savvy marketers are catching the attention of prospects on the web, in print, and over the airwaves.


Who will benefit from this session?
• Commercial printer management teams
• Agency management teams
• Agency account executives
• Printer sales teams
• Fulfillment and Operations personnel
• In house marketing teams
• MSP consultants and advisors

This session will explore:
• What are QR Codes?
• How QR Codes are used as part of the marketing mix?
• Sample QR codes in print, email, and other channels
• Email and Video links with QR Codes

To register, use the QR Code above on your smart phone or visit

Mercedes Email Saga Continues...

Regular readers of this blog know that I gave been less than complimentary of the email marketing efforts made by Mercedes Benz USA.  I would like to report that they have turned the corner and fugured it out, but alas, no.  The most recent email I received, though much better than previous efforts with clear art and a decent call to action, still managed to violate a central marketing tenet; know your customer.

How hard is it to either survey your customer base to learn about them (which is the ideal method to start a two way dialogue your buyers) or to passively append critical demographic information about them?  I am single with no children.  The following solicitation shows how little it appears that I mean to the firm. If you click on the picture there is a clear view.

 MBUSA_kids copy 
Irrelevant art, copy, and offers will turn off your customer base.  I suppose it is true that it is possible that I have a niece, but that seems like a big stretch.  There is little doubt that poorly targeted marketing communications sent on the basis of incomplete data with irrelevant messages will hurt both the brand and the customer relationship.

Take Away
As marketers shift ever larger portions of their budget away from traditional channels to the web, email, and social media, it is critical to keep in mind the lessons learned in the past 50 years of direct marketing.   There is no excuse, just because the channel is new to your firm, to send irrelevant content to your best prospects – your current customers.  Know your customer and start a two way conversation with them to learn more.