Archive

Author Archive

Email Marketing: Cleansing your list of inactive users

July 28th, 2015
Share

One of the most difficult aspects of list cleansing isn’t always the drop in numbers — it’s convincing senior leadership why it’s necessary.

During MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015, Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, sat down in the Media Center with Jeffrey Anderson, Digital Marketing Manager, A Place For Mom. The company is a for-profit senior care referral service.

Anderson explained why it’s important to cleanse your list of inactive users and how you can convince the senior leadership of your organization that list cleansing is imperative to staying relevant in today’s ecommerce marketplace.

How does a marketer know when it’s time to start cleansing their lists?

I would think that anyone with a list that’s significantly old should look at removing subscribers that are inactive and not engaged. Definite indicators include really low open rates. If your open rate is just below benchmark despite having consistently good content, there’s probably some dead weight.

Read more…

Email Marketing: How the Kentucky Derby engages customers with relevant email

June 30th, 2015
Share

The Kentucky Derby is a once a year event worth hundreds of millions of dollars. It has been held annually on the first Saturday of May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky since 1875.

It’s a race like no other, filled with traditions like the sweet taste of a mint julep dancing over the ice of a frozen silver cup, women in lavish hats ringed in a halo of soft glowing pearls and the victorious aroma of 554 red roses dripping across the backs of the winners.

Even with its long traditions, it takes a lot of effort and hard work to give the Kentucky Derby’s spectators exactly what they come to expect year after year as those expectations change through time.

To find out how the Kentucky Derby consistently makes this high level event continually more successful, Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, sat down with Kate Ellis, Marketing Analyst, and Jeff Koleba, Vice President of Marketing and Programming, both of the Kentucky Derby, at the MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 Media Center to discuss how the Kentucky Derby keeps its customers engaged all year long for an annual event.

  Read more…

Creating a Viral Environment to Serve Your Customers

June 23rd, 2015
Share

The impulse to share something new with someone else is a natural and universal trait.

In the age of the Internet, why are some things shared while others are not? What causes a piece of content to go viral? To help answer this, Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, sat down with Jonah Berger, author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 to learn how an email marketer can create a viral environment. 

 

Word-of-mouth is extremely important in creating a viral environment. You have a subscriber list but to grow that list you have to get people to share your content. We all know word-of-mouth marketing matters. What’s less clear is how to get it.

There is a science to word-of-mouth, and the key is to think about it internally and externally while keeping the customer at the center. Too often we find ourselves focusing on the product — but how in-depth do we go thinking about the users? What drives them? What is that underlying behavior that triggers them to share content?

After spending 15 years studying the science of why things catch on, Jonah Berger developed the S.T.E.P.P.S. framework, which is a series of psychological factors that drive and trigger the sharing mechanism.

Read more…

Why Implementing Relevancy into Email Programs Can’t Wait

May 26th, 2015
Share

A few moments after her featured speaker session at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015, Shawna Dahlin, Senior Email Marketing Manager, Microsoft Store, sat down at the Media Center with MarketingSherpa Reporter Courtney Eckerle to discuss why it’s so important for marketers to recognize problems and implement changes to their email campaigns as soon as they can.

 

Why shouldn’t marketers wait until everything is set up perfectly to implement program changes?

“It’s never too soon to start being relevant to your customer,” Shawna explained.

A lot of lists are “leaky buckets.” With every email send that isn’t relevant to the customer, you risk losing them forever. With the technology available today, marketers now have the ability to use data to find out what their customers are interested in and segment their email sends to make those sends more personalized.

Even the tiniest bit of data can be converted into a big win. “You can’t wait. You’ll have to do everything you can to be ever, just a little bit, more relevant so you don’t lose them out of your database,” she said.

Read more…

Harley-Davidson Overcomes the Baby Boomer Cliff by Creating a New Customer Base

May 15th, 2015
Share

Brands are not solely defined by corporate executives and marketing campaigns but by communities that are loyal to the brand and the perception of those communities by society.

These communities are never static. As the major purchasing power shifts from one generation to the next, brands need to evolve in order to ensure the survival of their market share.

Toy brands, for example, are excellent at targeting the next generation. They rely on detailed research and outreach programs to make sure their brand loyalty continues. These companies also rely on the nostalgia of parents who played with the toys when they were younger.

But what about brands with a loyal brand population that don’t have a natural turnover rate from parent to child? How can these brands prepare themselves for a major generational shift?

That major generational shift is already on its way. Baby boomers — Americans born post-World War II to around 1964 — are retiring in vast numbers. Right now, there are 40 million Americans aged 65 and older. These citizens make up 13% of the population, according to Census.gov. By 2030, the 65+ age group will climb to 20% of the population and become the single biggest age demographic, following “the greying trend” of other fully industrialized countries around the world.

This represents a major shift in purchasing power. Brands that rely on baby boomers as their core demographic have been aware of the coming shift for years.

But few have begun to prepare for it as successfully as Harley-Davidson Motor Company.

Harley-Davidson is an iconic American brand that truly grew into its legendary status right after World War II — growing up alongside baby boomers.

1-as

Harley-Davidson, INC (HOG): Geared Up For a Strong Ride, Scutify (2014)

Read more…

How to Increase Customer Interaction Using 6 Factors in Your Social Media

April 28th, 2015
Share

With the plethora of social media platforms out there, each with its own unique features and elements, it has become harder for marketers to leverage these social channels into successful campaigns.

In social media channels, what sets failed campaigns apart from successful ones is innovation.

The millennial generation (people born between 1980 and 1995), is quicker to adapt to new technology than older generations. We are usually the first on new social media platforms and the first to abandon them once something better comes along.

Marketing using social media is a low cost investment that could have a high return. To specifically see this with millennials, focus on valuing innovation over consistency.

Don’t be afraid to end a successful campaign right at its peak. This creates a strong “Fear of Missing Out” emotion. FOMO is a big emotional driver for millennials. It is the same drive that compels a majority of us to stand in line at specialty shops hoping to get our hands on a limited edition item to translate into bragging rights over friends on social media. The mark of a successful campaign is one that not only creates customers but also organic brand representatives.

When using social media, marketers have discovered a lot of wrong ways to market to millennials and just as many right ones. The difference between them is learning how to strike a balance between sincerity and irony, detail and vagueness and new and unproven.

 

Sincerity and irony

Millennials in general love irony. Campaigns that are self-aware and poke fun at their own calls-to-action, while still sincerely telling you why you should buy their product over competitors, work better in social media than traditional campaigns.

irony

 

Newcastle beer company recently had a series of ad campaigns that poked fun at the traditional beer commercial featuring beautiful people drinking beer and having a great time. The campaign’s coup de grace was a Super Bowl ad making fun of how much money beer producers spend on Super Bowl ads by trying to put as many brands as possible into a one-minute commercial. The ad has been viewed 1.5 million times in two months and, through that, has probably increased Newcastle’s popularity with young adults.

Read more…

Digital Marketing: What is a 21st century brand?

April 7th, 2015
Share

What is a brand?

Specifically, what is a brand in the 21st century, when we have the ability to converse directly with our customers?

Is it a product, a culture, a destination, service or ingredient? Or is it something more metaphysical? Steven Jones said in his book, Brand Like a Rockstar, that,

Brands are so much bigger than business, logos, names and locations. Brands go deeper, beneath the visible surface and exist in the mind. Brands are essentially perceptions and emotions. They are feelings and associations that come from interacting with a product or service.

A brand in the 21st century exists in the feelings customers get when they interact with a company’s product. It is a direct reflection of that company’s culture, value proposition and the individual personalities of its executives and employees that help shape the brand’s core values.

With the advent of social media, the cultural norms that dictate how a brand interacts with its customers have irrevocably changed the way we view it.

Brands have become more human, and today’s technology allows us to have a real-time conversation with our customers as well as allowing them to start a real-time conversation with us. This means brands are quicker to respond to the praise and critiques of marketing campaigns.

Recently, Starbucks had a social marketing campaign that focused on a desire to force its customers to talk about race. In the campaign, Starbucks had their employees write, “Race Together” on cups of joe.

race togetherThe idea was that every time someone got a cup of coffee, it could be an opportunity to talk about the recent racial and social tensions that have recently gained traction in the national media.

The campaign failed spectacularly.

After only a week of near constant criticism, it came to an end. However, it didn’t harm the Starbucks brand. In fact, it reinforced the brand’s values in the minds of the public. Because Starbucks has crafted a socially-conscious brand image, it has often been criticized by taking a stance on socially divisive subjects.

However, for better or for worse, the company has taken a stance on social issues, which is the main fact perceived not only by customers but also the media at large. Failures have (so far) been forgiven.

The hardest part of managing a brand in the 21st century is with all the avenues we have available to interact with customers, ensuring that messaging reflects brand values.

Brands today can make jokes in social media, wish customers happy birthday and interact frequently with the online communities that support them. It is these communities in the end that help define the perception of the brand in the minds of other consumers. By developing relationships with them, brands can grow a brand image that will absorb the blows of bad campaigns and help gather steam to launch its next marketing idea.

Read more…

How to Harness the Power of New Technology to Personalize to Your Audience

February 13th, 2015
Share

We are in the midst of an informational and technological revolution. It is constantly changing the way we communicate. There is an unspoken drive deep down in the collective psyche of humanity that is pushing us to make communication faster and universal.

Being able to express complex ideas is vital to our species’ survival. It’s taken us from caves to high rises. From wall paintings and smoke signals to emails and international phone calls, the way we communicate is versatile and fluid. What’s the norm yesterday could easily be archaic tomorrow.

As marketers we have to communicate our companies’ ideas, products and values to potential customers in any medium they communicate in.

As we move toward more instant communication, the marketer has to evolve with consumers. Just like the shift from direct mail to email, the savvy marketer must know when to move to a new technological medium and how to market correctly in that medium.

 

Mobile email

For several years there have been predictions about the end of email.  While email has changed significantly in the last 20 years, we now send more emails than ever before.

According to emailisnotdead.com, there are currently 4.1 billion email accounts that send 122+ billion emails per hour — and 53% of those emails were opened on a mobile device. The future of communication is mobile email, and there is already a lot of it going on.

In order to get ahead of this curve, email service providers (ESPs) are developing algorithms that automatically sort your emails. Google unveiled their answer to the overcrowded inbox late in 2014. A consummate innovator and leader in the email space, Google has developed a system that automatically sweeps your emails into three easy to manage subfolders: Updates, Social and Promotions. They have allowed more design elements to be featured in the subject line space and have made it even easier to clear a whole inbox in seconds.

So what does that mean for marketers?

It means that as ESPs move into the future, they will use bundling to sort people’s emails. This will most likely lead to the average clickthrough rate decreasing. However, the quality of the leads will go up because emails, instead of being cookie-cutter sends, can be personalized for individuals based on data marketers accrue. In the future, designers will have to work with content writers to make sure their emails stick out visually, alongside personalization.

Effect of Gmail Tabs

Chart courtesy of: MailChimp

 

Marketing efforts will need to work in conjunction with all the other marketing options the company is using. We have to move away from thinking about individual campaigns and towards holistic, cohesive marketing tactics.

Read more…

How to Market Your Nonprofit like a Space Program

January 13th, 2015
Share

When I was young, my father worked at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., as a technician. One day, he brought my brother and I back into his lab, which was filled with guys in white lab coats looking very important, whirling around equally important-looking machines that permeated the room with an orchestra of electronic sounds and blinking red light bulb eyes.

From that moment on, I was enthralled with NASA, space and the very concept of putting something on a rocket and shooting it into the void. It was only till a lot later in life that I realized the rest of the world was not as interested in the space program as I was.

Example 1Two of the world’s greatest space programs were born in the late 1950s when the Soviet space program and NASA competed against each other in a variety of missions.

The intent was to project military power and to facilitate national pride.

But it was expensive.

In the 1960s, during the Apollo program, America at one point spent up to 4% of the national budget on NASA.

Fast forward to today and NASA, to many, is seen as a luxury program — unpopular with most people and overfunded for its results.

It’s lost some of the grandeur of the past and is disconnected from the people. Government agencies that aren’t vital to the survival of a nation are irrevocably linked to their popularity.

The more popular a program, the less likely it is that budget makers will cut its budget. Because of this, space agencies all over the world have started a major marketing media campaign to renew the 1960s passion of space exploration.

 

What space agencies can teach about improving your marketing

To re-inspire interest they have used a variety of techniques that the every marketer can use, especially those marketing single events or nonprofit organizations.

The ESA (European Space Agency) recently landed an unmanned lander on a comet. They used this event to gain brand awareness with a calculated marketing effort in traditional media and social media. To do so, they released data from the lander as it came in and held a live video conference as the lander landed.

This entailed flooding social media with updates on the landers progress and holding a video Q-and-A. They targeted potential “customers” — such as taxpayers and youth interested in space — with a strategic individualized marketing plan that began years before the event.

This was the fruit of years of effort of getting people involved and building a social web of interested individuals who would spread the awareness of ESA into nontraditional social circles. The greatest success comes through a detailed plan and the ESA’s plan has its roots in a 1998 paper written about how space organizations can market like nonprofits by Ph. Willekens and W.A. Peeters.

They conclude their paper with a very important message for marketers:

For nonprofit organisations, as for commercial companies, ‘marketing’ involves a mixture of elements, analogous to the ingredients for a cooking recipe. The marketing ‘strategy’ forms the key for the preparation of a set of actions directed towards a clearly defined customer or target group. The various target groups as far as the ESA is concerned are: the taxpayers (general public) as ESA’s main ‘end customer’, the youngsters as ESA’s future ‘end-customers’ …

Read more…

3 Steps for Crafting a Crowdfunding Pitch (and Improve Your Marketing)

December 2nd, 2014
Share

The hardest part of getting any endeavor off the ground is to secure funding. Traditionally, in order to gain enough funding for a project, entrepreneurs had to go to banks or find funding through willing investors.

Today, entrepreneurs can achieve funding through a variety of ways including friends and family, angel investors or venture capitalists, but none of them are as interesting as the crowdfunding phenomenon that has surged into legitimacy in the past decade.

Crowdfunding might be an activity for startup companies raising funds, but marketers can learn a lot from the crowdfunding process, from the importance of the pitch to creating effective video marketing content – in this case, the startups are marketing themselves to potential investors.

 

How does crowdfunding work?

In crowdfunding, the entrepreneur solicits donations from the public either in person at events like Jacksonville’s One Spark Festival, or by using a variety of online websites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo.

Crowdfunding is unique because it allows the entrepreneur to pitch their product while simultaneously perform a focus group dedicated to their product with very little risk. The more people who invest in a campaign, the higher the interest there will be in the final product.

There has been a lot written about crowdfunding campaigns. You can find, in my opinion, one of the best blogs written by Tim Ferriss of The Four-Hour Work Week fame on how to raise $100,000 in 10 days.

My focus in this blog will be to explain how to craft the most important part of a crowdfunding campaign: the pitch.

 

Pitching a crowdfunding project

The pitch is generally a 3-5 minute video explaining to your potential investors who you are, what you are trying to accomplish, how much money it would take to reach your goal, why you need that specific amount, and what’s in it for them.

Depending on your budget, your video could be professionally made or shot with a simple camera phone. What matters most is your content:

“The strength of your video pitch often determines how likely you are to meet your crowdfunding goal.”

The Bank to the Future

 

The pitch can be broken down into three sections: The hook, the core and the bribe.

 

Step #1. The hook

According to the Bank to the Future’s useful video on crafting a pitch, the first 8-16 seconds of your video should be used to capture your potential investor’s interest.

In those seconds, it’s important to introduce them to the purpose of your video and to tell them visually or verbally what they are going to get out of watching it. If you have a prototype, show it in action. If you don’t, state your value proposition.

To craft your value proposition, ask yourself the following question; “If I am your ideal investor, why should I help you reach your crowdfunding goal?”

  Read more…