Category Archives: Email Marketing

Email marketing stories

Data’s Inigo Montoya Problem (Part II)

If you’ve had campaigns fail because of bad data, then maybe you’ve fallen victim to the “Inigo Montoya problem of data.”  That is, maybe you’ve used data that don’t mean what you think they mean.

Previously, I discussed the origins of bad marketing data.  Now I’d like to discuss how to fix the problem.

First, I recommend something so exciting that you probably will not finish reading this post before trying it: read the dictionary.

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Yeah, yeah.  I know.  All characters, no plot.  Wait, no.  That’s the phone book.

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Your Campaign Needs a Kill Switch

Just a quick note before getting to part 2 of “Data’s Inigo Montoya Problem.”

Your digital campaigns need an “off” switch.  Seriously.

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Don’t have one?  Get one.

As many people did, I visited Twitter Friday night to get a sense of the tragedy in Paris as it unfolded.  Along with breaking news and some poorly-conceived instant opinions, I saw some perfectly normal tweets about marketing ideas from marketing experts I follow.  Or, rather, I saw what would have been perfectly normal tweets about marketing ideas had every person in the Western world not had Paris on his or her mind.

I won’t name names, but several marketers persisted in posting articles even as other posts listed numbers of dead and wounded.  Marketing emails continued to pour in as well, often with mundane Holiday sales.  I can only assume that the marketers in question had scheduled these posts and emails hours if not days ago.

As a marketer, you probably don’t need a complex strategy to address major tragedies (I’d make exceptions for brands that have a role to play in the aftermath of tragedies, such as telecommunications brands).  You do need an “off” switch to stop your campaigns immediately.  In addition, you need someone senior enough and sober enough to make the decision to use that off switch.  If you can’t accept the basic human decency argument, then at least pay attention to your response; I can’t believe people want to read your tweets and emails when tragedy strikes.  Your exposures have probably gone to waste in times like these.

Anyone wishing to use the argument of “if we stop marketing, then the terrorists have already won” may meet me on the field of honor at dawn.

Holiday Marketing for Atheist Brands

Now that our calendars have flipped over to November, we all know what to expect from marketers.  Our inboxes will teem with tinseled evergreens.  Santa will peek out over seemingly every banner and lightbox.  Red and green will dominate Facebook’s purple.  Every marketer who racks up big sales for Holiday will open the floodgates.

Many of my esteemed colleagues have great advice for enhancing Holiday emails and other addressable media.  However, I’d like to address another group: what do you do when your brand doesn’t celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa or anything else in December?  After all, not every brand relies on big Holiday sales to make a living, but they still gotta remain relevant in digital channels somehow.

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What if We Started With Metrics?

You don’t have to like glam/prog rock to appreciate Brian Eno.  In addition to such classics as “Music for Airports” (which is exactly what it sounds like) and “Baby’s On Fire” (which I hope to God isn’t what it sounds like), Eno created a wonderful tool for getting your head unstuck: Oblique Strategies.

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Screengrab from http://stoney.sb.org/eno/oblique.html

Eno, also a prolific music producer, created a deck of cards with suggestions like the one above to help him out when he encountered dead ends in his work.  He instructed users to draw a card when they felt stuck and follow the directions as they wished to interpret them.  I’ve used them too many times to count to help me solve nagging client problems.

So I created my own Oblique Strategies card:

What if we started with metrics?

As in, what if we started a new marketing project not by asking about business objectives nor by asking about marketing objectives and instead by asking “what can we measure?”

Maybe it’s the 70s synthesizer music talking, but it helped me develop a framework I’d like to run by you all.

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Does B&H Photo Really Hate My Wife?

Short answer: no, of course not.  However, they could have used a little human common sense rather than rely on responsive design alone to make their emails more relevant.

Let’s back up.  As an avid, if not talented, photographer, I subscribe to emails from Adorama and B&H Photo, two large photo retailers based in New York with a well-earned reputation for value, service and selection.  Really, you CANNOT find a better place to buy cameras and assorted equipment than those two.

Yesterday, I received this email from B&H:

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They remembered Mother’s Day with a large graphic pointing to their Mother’s Day sale items.  How nice.

HOWEVER…

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Marketing Winners and Losers at the NY International Auto Show (Part 2)

The marketing spectacle known as the New York International Auto Show had more to chew on than one man’s rant about station wagons.

For this installment, I’d like to focus on one exhibit with its hits and misses.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present Camp Jeep.

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For the past 11 years (give or take), Jeep has given consumers the opportunity to experience their vehicles’ capabilities in a first-hand manner.  They chauffeur participants over an obstacle course that shows how well the Jeeps can attack slopes, uneven ground and other things that 95% of drivers will never encounter.  All cynicism aside, the exhibit really impresses upon participants the astounding performance of the fabled brand.

Even within this impressive showcase, some aspects stand out: 2 good and one not-so-good

The upshot

  • Good: data collection from participants before and after
  • Good: keeping the troops happy
  • Not-so-good: the world’s most pointless cell phone charging station

Collecting data for fun and profit

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Marketing Winners and Losers at the NY International Auto Show (Part 1)

The lights!  The cars! The pumping music!  The attractive people on spinning turntables!  My aching back!

Yes, I attended the New York International Auto Show and lived to tell the (precautionary) tale of experiential marketing done well…and not so well.  Over the new few posts, I’ll point out how some marketers really made the most out of their residency at the Jacob Javits Convention Center and those who didn’t.

I’d like to start out with a winner, at least in my book: Subaru.  Subaru understands its audience, also known as nerds.

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Here’s what I learned:

  • Experiential marketing is a great opportunity to capture email from an interested party
  • There is no substitute for understanding your customer

Revenge of the (Station Wagon) Nerds

Oh, Subaru, you get me.  Your exhibit shot a marketing arrow right through my heart.

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And This, Kids, is Why You Test Offers

If you read my blog regularly, you know I strongly and frequently recommend testing.  I make the case that testing improves response by showing you what your audience responds to and what they don’t.  Sometimes, marketers get lost in the finer points and what, frankly, often amounts to a few percentage points.

Then, there’s this:

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Just what every dad wants for his daughter: a sport so obviously detrimental to her health that a first-aid kit serves as a throw-in for an order.

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Behind the Numbers: Which Child is Your Favorite?

Behind the numbers is a recurring feature on this blog, designed to demystify charts, graphs, tables and all manner of data.

Do you have more than one kid?  Quick, which one do you love the most?

Uh huh.  That’s how I feel about this survey:

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H/T to MarketingProfs

At face value, this chart suggests that a plurality of marketers don’t know which digital channel drives the most revenue.  Pity these poor marketers.  As they sit, watching money come in through the mail slot, they gaze in wonder as to its origins.  Perhaps it works like this:

Amiright?

How many of those 33% answered “not sure” or selected one of the other channels because they would have preferred to answer “it’s complicated?”  Certainly, anyone who runs more than one digital channel (e.g. everyone) understands intuitively that all the channels play on one another.  Sure, someone may have bought from an email, but maybe she wouldn’t have received the email had SEO and content marketing encouraged her to sign up for in the the first place.  For that matter, neither content marketing nor the website itself appear on the list.  What’s up with that?

Without stepping into the attribution debate, it stands to reason that most marketers couldn’t select a single most important channel any more than they could select a single best child.

Unless you’re Archie Manning.  Then it’s clearly Eli.