Author Archive

B2B Marketing: Finding ideas from the ‘wrong’ case studies

October 20th, 2011

I am going to take a shot at a B2B marketing taboo that I and my colleagues encounter on a regular basis. I certainly do not expect universal support, but I freely invite you to speak your mind in the comments.

While at the MarketingSherpa B2B Summit in Boston last month, Jay Baer tore the robes off of this taboo and forced the audience take a good look at it. Here’s what he said:

“I have done a fair amount of speaking at B2B conferences and every once in a while someone comes up to me … they say ‘well, that was great, but you use some examples that are B2C.’ Get over it! I’m going to use some examples in this presentation that are B2C. I am going to offend your territorial sensibilities. You’re making way too big a deal out of this.”

Baer was speaking about social media marketing. I agree with his sentiment (although “get over it” is not the exact phrase I’d use) and believe this concept applies to channels beyond social media. Read more…

Social Email Marketing: How to encourage sharing wisely, not randomly

October 13th, 2011

You have likely experimented with social sharing buttons in your emails. You know, they’re the buttons readers click to share your emails on Facebook, Twitter or another social network.

And how’s that working for you?

All kidding aside, many email marketers struggle to get the audience to use these buttons. As you can see in the chart below from the MarketingSherpa 2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, “social sharing buttons” are one of the least effective tactics you can use to build your list.

Read more…

Search and Email Marketing: Why these channels dominate

October 4th, 2011

I always start an interview with general questions. I ask about the company, the marketer’s role, and the company’s marketing in general. It helps frame the case study or tactics we’re about to cover.

I sometimes ask, “What are your top marketing channels?” This helps me understand the team’s priorities. Some say ‘catalogs’ or ‘telesales,’ but the two channels I most often hear are email marketing and search.

Again and again, marketers say one or both of these channels are the primary drivers of their success. That got me thinking about the similarities between email and search engine optimization (SEO)/pay-per-click (PPC). I came up with three: Read more…

Social Media Marketing: Why B2B marketers need to care, by the numbers

September 27th, 2011

My reporter antenna was humming during the presentation yesterday from Jay Baer, President, Convince & Convert, at the MarketingSherpa B2B Summit in Boston. I could write a blog post everyday for two weeks based on Baer’s advice — and it encompassed only a single hour of the day packed with insights.

Baer methodically destroyed “the seven myths of B2B social media,” the first two of which directly addressed why B2B companies need to care about social media. Read more…

Email Marketing: Groupon’s segmentation strategies across 115 million subscribers

September 20th, 2011

Groupon is one of the biggest email marketing success stories you’ll ever hear. The daily deal company launched in November 2008 and was dubbed the fastest growing company ever last year by Forbes. Much of that growth is powered by targeted email messaging.

Today, Groupon sends about 5 billion emails each month, according to John Becvar, Sr. Director of Relationship Marketing at Groupon. I was lucky enough to hear Becvar comment on the company’s growth and email strategy during a panel session at ExactTarget’s Connections 2011 last week.

“We really began with no personalization and no segmentation,” Becvar said.

Becvar joined Groupon almost two years ago, back when its site featured a single deal each day in markets such as greater Chicago, with no deals on the weekends. Today, Groupon offers about 1,000 deals in the Chicago area in a given week, Becvar said.

“When I joined we had about 2 million subscribers. Based on our most-recent finding, we have over 115 million subscribers … We were in 20-some-odd markets when I joined. Now we’re in 45 countries and 500 markets … So we’ve obviously had to do a little bit of segmentation and personalization to stay relevant,” Becvar said.

Becvar described four types of segmentation Groupon uses for its email marketing: Read more…

Email Marketing: How Microsoft increased product engagement using email

September 15th, 2011

New products with lots of features can be intimidating. A learning curve has to be overcome before customers can fall in love and recommend the product to a friend. And I can think of few products that are as feature-laden as Microsoft Office 2010.

After teaching about email marketing at ExactTarget’s Connections 2011 on the latest stop of MarketingSherpa’s Email Marketing LEAPS Advanced Practices Workshop, I’ve been soaking in all of the email marketing content presented here. Diana Lawson’s case study really stood out to me because it was a great example of how to use email to enamor customers with a feature-rich product.

The senior product manager at Microsoft presented a case study yesterday describing how her team launched a lifecycle email program to build loyalty among Microsoft Office 2010’s newest customers.

“We need people to get the value of Microsoft Office right away… So there’s no buyer’s remorse, and more a feeling of ‘I am so glad I bought this,'” Lawson says.

The emails deliver targeted how-to content and videos for five months. One of their main goals is to improve relationships with customers by offering helpful content from team leaders behind Office 2010.

Here’s how the lifecycle emails work (results below): Read more…

Marketing Psychology: The behavioral triggers behind success at Amazon, Groupon and FarmVille

September 8th, 2011

I like to think of myself as a savvy consumer. I research purchases. I ask friends for suggestions. I look for deals. This has undoubtedly spared me headaches and wasted money — but it has not freed me from clever marketing.

This fact is made clear in a recent Wired article by Dan Ariely, Professor of Behavioral Economics, Duke University. In the piece, Ariely explains the psychological factors that help build Amazon, Facebook, Groupon and other successful companies.

We interviewed Ariely last year about his book, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, and published his advice. Here are three marketing insights from his recent article in Wired:

Read more…

Email Marketing: A toxic misunderstanding that could kill your response rates

August 30th, 2011

Internal challenges are among the hardest to overcome when trying to improve your email marketing. You can know everything about improving results, but if your leaders are unwilling to commit the resources, or have a fundamental misunderstanding about email, then you have some convincing to do.

One of the most common misunderstandings I have heard at our Email Marketing Workshops is that some companies “do not believe in” suppressing parts of their list. The leaders essentially force the marketers to batch and blast, thinking it is always better to have more eyeballs on a message than fewer.

This, however, is a huge misconception. Email marketing is not advertising. If you send a message that is irrelevant to a large portion of your list, then you are encouraging recipients to click “spam” and ignore you in the future. Practiced consistently, this can be toxic to your database. Read more…

Social Media Chart: Which channels are the most effective for inbound marketing?

August 18th, 2011

Social networks used to be the wild west of online marketing. Pioneers launched first, asked questions later, and staked claims on MySpace and Second Life.

Today, most marketers set clear goals and plan before hitting the trail. Your goals will often dictate which networks and tactics to try. Knowing which networks have turned into ghost towns and which are the next Dodge City can also help.

This chart from the MarketingSherpa 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – SEO Edition shows which social media platforms have proven to be the most effective for inbound marketers.

Read more…

Email Marketing: Dynamic images get 5 opens per reader on a single email

August 9th, 2011

Email marketers, start your engines! The MarketingSherpa 2012 Email Awards contest is now under way. Enter today for your chance to win this year’s grand prize – a paid trip for two to Email Summit 2012 in Las Vegas. The contest is sponsored by Responsys, and entry is free-of-charge.

I recently received a stark reminder of the types of emails we look for in our “Best Email Innovation” category. Anna Yeaman, Creative Director at Style Campaign, described to me a technology her team developed that can dynamically update an email’s images at the time of opening.

For example, Style Campaign tested this system last year by sending a holiday email to its subscribers. The email gradually revealed a fun holiday image over the course of the day. Subscribers could see a little more of the image each time they checked the email, even if they had previously checked a few seconds earlier. The campaign featured a new image each day for five days.

“This was the first deployment of our dynamic imaging technology. We really wanted to test the whole proof-of-concept and see if we could get users to re-open the same email again and again over a period of time,” Yeaman says.Style Campaign Dynamic Image Mobile Email

The test proved successful. Stats include: Read more…