Thursday, 30 December 2010

How not to look an ass in any eCRM Conversation

One of the key maxims of conversation is taking turns.

This not only allows the participants to learn more about each other but also helps the conversation take it's natural course.

This obviously applies in the real world and even more so in the digital world of eCRM. Brands often fall into the trap of talking about themselves non stop until the consumer either finally capitulates or runs away!

We have no excuses not to listen to the customer or potential customers. Our ability to monitor what they look at, at what time and for how long has never been so great. And yet many brands fail to use this insight.

It's key that in any eCRM conversation that you learn about the other party and don't just talk about yourself.

The former will make you look smart

The latter will make just make you look an ass

Thank you to My Top Twitter Followers in 2010

@ctfergie @irinakremin @zoetw @pure360 @miapapanicolaou @ecirclemedia @grahamlubie @madleeeen @thanktank @shonali @johnyuill @jbjag @tamaragielen @brandguardian @tref @kgsglobal @philipstorey @hcmsanmarcos @weareawa @chrisbrogan @allyburt @genevievecoates @htoby @marketingb2b @gyrohsr @richardgibson @wearebourne @wisequeen @b2bmarketingeu @poneillforr @inboxgroup @felixvelarde @natedog138 @rlevans @andrewbonar @sarahatdell @mediatrust @iamgfc @jortpossel @nikitap @kaeppler @homebaselounge @verahartmuth @khusseini @mattlacasse @indiescott @ecircle @rorycarlyle @donpeppers @mailfinch @tsevis @lisannevos @ciberesfera @ian_pollard @kirstenpetra @effectivecrm @gamblingaffs @ecircleuk @taylorzoe @kareysisemore @bababart @jmacdonald @susanprater @katzy @bizboost_b2b @silverpopde @vandenboomen @chadatbourne @brightstepceo @jvanrijn @bluehornetemail @digsocial @holborndirect @email_expert

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Too late for a very important date?

Its too late !!! You won't get your pressies delivered from Amazon, HMV, John Lewis etc etc..well you could try but it would be a great leap of faith!!!

Thankfully for us last minute shoppers, retailers like HMV allow us to send e-gifts!!.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Don't Forget the 12 days of Christmas

In a study by eDigitalResearch, 75% of respondents said they’d be online on Christmas Day or Boxing Day, so it makes sense for your email strategy to take this into account according to Simon Bowker from eCircle in his simple tips for making your Christmas email marketing campaigns a success.

But lets not forget that Christmas goes beyond Christmas Day and Boxing Day, so here are a few ideas courtesy of Sherry Chiger on

But whatever messages you send out over the holidays, remember, a conversation isn't just for Christmas!!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Email Knock, Knock!

Yesterday I had a meeting with another client where I ask my traditional question of when do they send their email messages, followed by the question that always seems to trip clients up..Why? Why do they pick that time and day to go knocking on someone's inbox door?

The resultant answers to the latter usually vary from the because we always send at that time, to because we tie in with our 'bricks and mortar' bigger brother, to because we think it works best at that time.

The one answer that very rarely materialises is ' because we regularly test broadcast time and date and align it with it with our customer behaviour'. And when I say rarely I really do mean rarely!

Sometimes the ' because we always have' is justified on the basis on what they deem to be best practice. Admittedly there are stacks of tables indicating the most popular broadcast days and times (click here for an example from Kris Kiler). But most popular doesn't mean best for you and your audience.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Next Generation Marketing -Berlin

This was an awesome conference.

For me it what was a conference should all be about: Inspiration, Theory and Practice. So I wanted to out down a few words about what the real take out for me was.

Fundamentally we are Human Beings and as such want to be treated as such, and it doesn't matter if we are talking B2C or B2B. We don't want to be spoken at we want to be spoken with. Yes it is All About the Conversation, with a recognition that we want to have these conversations at a time and place that suits us, not the marketers.

If as brands we can learn to listen before we even think about speaking then we are well on the way being there for our customers before we attempt to sell them anything.

Yes, I recognise the fact that technology has changed rapidly over the last 10 years,5 years, 12 months, 7 days! And we have to keep pace with how this technology is changing the way the conversation takes place and the speed with which it takes place. But at the other end of the tweet, mobile app, Facebook page, net book widget is someone like me (well not exactly like me but you get the idea). Someone who might have a need to learn more about a product , a service or an idea before fully committing to it. Educate and inspire me and I might become a willing disciple. Stop me from what I am doing in order to force feed me brand speak and I will walk the other way.

In the words of Rick Segal from Gyro HSR

Thinks heart not head
Ideate not execute
Care not convince
Give back don't take
Join the flow, don't stop it

I will write more soon but for now, thank you KGS for a great conference.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Social Media and B2B..What's the Point ?

A recent Forrester study that remarks on how B2B marketers and their customers are more likely to engage in Social Media activities.But what's the point? In consumer world we might very well engage in Social Media activities purely because we are social's part of our make up. But as B2B customers, this engagement is usually as a result of a need to learn, understand and ultimately buy something.

As marketers, we need to understand this and with that in mind, surely its obvious that we need to be setting ourselves marketing objectives that align to customer wants and hence our business needs. And yet we often go blindly into Social Media because the agency have it on their agenda.

Social Media is no different to any other media, it needs an ROI attached to it. I'm hoping some of the speakers at Next Generation Marketing will cover that.

Follow this link to get access to a special rate

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Happy Ever After..even in B2B

A recent Forrester study that remarks on how B2B marketers and their customers are more likely to engage in Social Media activities. But what's the point? In the consumer world we might very well engage in Social Media activities purely because we are social creatures and we want to express ourselves and share the fact that we put on mismatched socks this's part of our makeup.

But as B2B customers, this engagement is usually as a result of a need to learn, understand and ultimately buy something. I know that’s it all about the person (in fact this afternoon I took part in a tweetup featuring @chrisbrogan courtesy of the Next Generation Marketing Conference (#b2beu), where Chris expressed his belief that it was all about people and relationships) but at the end of the day it's not ALL about the conversation, it is actually about the conversion - it's just that a little conversation helps

As marketers, we need to understand this and with that in mind, surely it’s obvious that we need to be setting ourselves marketing objectives that align to customer wants and hence our business needs. And yet we often go blindly into Social Media because the marketing agency has it on their agenda

So how do we stop, in a B2B environment, from crashing in where we are not invited?

I've often spoken about the idea of Listening before even Thinking about Speaking with our customers - and of course this is true for Social Media. We have to begin to understand where our customers and prospects are gathering, what they are talking about in these communities, and how they want to be engaged by us..the marketers.

But what should we talk about?

To keep things simple, we should focus on 3 areas

Customer: Context: Commercial


At the heart of all our conversations is the customer (or rather should be the often isn’t). We need to ensure that we use everything we know about them, their needs and preferences to tailor the message. And let’s not forget that in a B2B environment we may have a complex Decision Making Unit to consider with different priorities and requirements.

But the message also needs to take into account Context. And by context I mean what happening in their world at a macro level (Political, Legal, Financial) and at a more granular level (at what stage are they in the buying process for example)

Usually the content that takes the driving seat our own Commercial priorities. Of course we have to take these into account, but by considering the Customer and their Context first, we should be able to talk about our objectives with a little more relevance

It is all about using Data and Insight to tell a story just as in B2C, something that I know is being recognized at events such Next Generation Marketing in December

Let’s hope that every single tailored story ends happily ever after…with a conversion!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Esquire iPad App

I've spoken recently at several conferences on the need to understand how we interact and converse with customers multi channel...and am loving this Esquire App for the iPad as a result.

This imaginative redesign of the print version is exactly what the iPad is all about.

I've nearly reached the Tipping Point of my 'Should I buy an iPad?' journey!

Monday, 1 November 2010

The Art and Science of Conversation

If you didn't get to see this presentation at the Webtrends Engage Conference in London, then here are the slides.

If you would like the words that went with them, then let me know.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


Have you ever ready any of Malcolm Gladwell’s journalism ? I’m currently re-reading Blink – The Power of Thinking without Thinking.

One of the stories he tells is about the Getty Museum and a purchase of marble statue dating from the sixth century BC, known as a Kouros. The vendor provided Getty’s legal team a whole bunch of documents relating to its most recent history. A geologist used an electron microscope, mass spectrometry, X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence to state that the statue was old, it wasn’t some contemporary fake. It was purchased

But there was a problem.

A number of art historians and experts just took one look at it and it felt wrong. They looked at it and felt an ‘intuitive repulsion’, and they were absolutely right. In the first two seconds of looking – they could see that it wasn’t right
Well, "Blink" is a book about those two seconds’

It's a book about rapid cognition, about the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye. When you meet someone for the first time, or walk into a house you are thinking of buying, or read the first few sentences of a book, your mind takes about two seconds to jump to a series of conclusions.

Indeed, it could very well be about when you see an email in your inbox
What do you see?. What makes you decide within that blink of an eye whether to open or delete?
This isn’t a discussion about subject lines or time of day broadcasting ( in fact it’s not a discussion at all – it’s me giving an opinion)

Its more about who is sending you the email. I’m in the office a fair few hours every day and am on the receiving end of a number of ‘conversations’ , some digital, some verbal, some that are physical – body language is another story. But which of their sources make we listen to what they are saying. Whose voice within an instant switches my brain into gear or turns my ears off?

• Who do I want to listen to?
• Whose Tweet will I read?
• Whose email will I open?
• Who do you Trust not to waste your time?

I think it essentially boils down to what I’m expecting to hear or read. One of the reasons email engagement drops over time is because what the brand is sending me just doesn’t do it for me anymore
And why is that? Is it because I don’t like the colour of the emails once I’ve opened them

Probably not

It’s much more likely because it never seems to be for me

• It doesn’t recognize my shopping habits
• The content doesn’t match their opening line ( the subject line)
• It takes no account of my relationship with the brand
• They don’t even use my name!

As Seth Godin states on his blog, ‘It’s what every marketer knows!’ It’s about Relevance,Resonance

The first few times I get the email the novelty factor alone probably gets me to open it. But eventually not getting the right content will leave an imprint on my brain that ultimately results in me dismissing it in the blink of an eye.

Content is king. Get the right content to me at the right time and in the right tone and I will not only open you email long term, I’ll read it and act on it. Maybe not in two seconds, but that’s ok.

Long live the King

Ps. One of the key indicators that the statue was real, was that the surface was covered in a thin layer of calcite which can take thousands of years to form
It also seems that it is possible to ‘age’ the surface of the statue in a couple of months using potato mould
More from Malcolm Gladwell at his blog

Monday, 13 September 2010

If Markets are Conversations

In any conversation there are two subconscious aims:

To get to know the other person,
To reveal yourself.

Remember that one-on-one conversation is better than group conversation, but it makes it easier to make mistakes.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Beware..I Want to Influence You

A Study by agency 360i indicates that the majority of Twitter conversation is between consumers and that Corporate Twitter seems to be directed at the Consumer rather than with the Consumer.

According to the study, only 12% of consumer tweets mention a brand by name. When they do refer to a brand, consumers are sharing news or information about the brand (43%) or reporting use of or interaction with the brand (35%).

Hold on..what do you mean ONLY 12% of consumer Tweets mention a brand name? Are you telling me that brands would be unhappy if in the physical world over 1 in 10 conversations mentioned a product?

But of course the real failing is in the idea that again Brands are not engaging in a dialogue but in a monologue – ‘’Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of a witness’’....Margaret Millar. This does seem to hark back to an era when TV and Print indulged in ‘Interruption Marketing’, talked about in great detail over a decade ago by Seth Godin in his book Permission Marketing. And of course even the early days of email marketing followed a dose of ‘Spray and Pray’ communications.

We all know these days its much more about the conversation and the idea of spreading influence through peers and contacts. I came across a very interesting form of this influence spreading by the Fast Company. They essentially wanted to created a viral campaign to find the person with the most Online Influence in 2010 – The Influence Project. They do this by a very crude method of making you feel more of a mover and shaker by getting people to click on your personal url . And yes that was mine. And they have effectively used this to get a degree of awareness out there about their magazine.

Perhaps more importantly, as I type, they have acquired something in the region of 25,000 email addresses. Hopefully they won’t abuse that privilege, and so have used a very ‘social’ need of many people ( i.e. to perhaps to have their 15 minutes of fame) to potentially start a conversation with them in the future and indeed have already created millions of google searches ,tweets, emails, facebook mentions .100% of which have mentioned the Brand.

Oh, now that I can think about it, 1 in 12 does seem low

Ps...I am currently ranked 422..please make me famous

(This post first appeared on Inside the Box )

Friday, 6 August 2010

Consumers prefer email to social and text?

According to research by marketing firm smartFOCUS, email contact is more acceptable to people than contact through social media and text messages.

Indeed, some 71 per cent of those questioned said they prefer to be informed of new products and services via email.

Just 21 per cent said social media was their favourite way to receive marketing material, while only five per cent named text messaging.

Telemarketing came out as the least popular method, with none of the respondents expressing a preference for it and more than half citing it as their least favourite way to be contacted.

Commenting on the findings, Tim Watson, operations director at smartFOCUS, said: "Email has developed into a mature, primary source of information for both consumers and marketers.

"If companies want to communicate effectively with customers, they need to do so using the channels that customers use and interact with the most."

First posted by The IDM

Monday, 19 July 2010

Socrates and Social Media, The Internet, Blogs etc

Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for. -Socrates

Thursday, 15 July 2010


Persuasion can be boiled down to 3 success factors

Ethos - before you can convince an audience, they have to accept you as credible
Pathos - the quality of a persuasive argument that appeals emotionally
Logos - is synonymous with a logical argument, does it make sense

This is as true today with any form of marketing communication as it was in the 4th Century BC 

Thank you Aristotle

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Email Address – The Key to Multi-Channel Marketing

I’ve written recently on a variety of sites about the life that is still left in email marketing – (see for example Social Penguin). With the variety of marketing channels that marketers have to contend with to reach the customer’s ear, are we missing a trick with the importance of the email address?
J-P De Clerk talks about email being his ‘interaction hub’. ”Skype sends me a mail when I missed a call or when someone left a message. Twitter does when someone sent me a DM. Facebook sends me emails when I received an invitation to be “friends” or a mail. LinkedIn friendship requests and group updates: it’s all in the inbox. FriendFeed connections: inbox. StumbleUpon messages, Diggfriends, YouTube subscribers, Delicious, comments on my blogs, statistics, social media engagement data: it’s all coming via email. No wonder my email client is my RSS reader as well.”
Clickz article talks about how the inbox is destined to become the personal dashboard of many
”The integration of social, mobile and e-mail has already begun to settle inside the inbox.Gmail lets me update my status on Facebook, send a tweet, update my blog, and write an e-mail to my mom – all from the same interface. Yahoo integrates with IM and its “What’s New” tab shows status updates from a wide variety of services. Even a beta version of Outlook 2010 integrates social networking. Facebook and MySpace have announced plans to provide primary inboxes as part of their communities. All of this is now accessible everywhere from PCs to iPads to smartphones.”
Even my own blog and Twitter accounts supply me with news about individuals interested in my thoughts.
Jonathan Macdonald of This Fluid World spoke with great engagement at the eCircleconference in Munich about the focus on the individual or citizen as he put it and that focus does need to include an understanding how they lives around using the technology of today
It seems that we are witnessing a real opportunity for the email address to be the key to the many disparate and yet connected channels that today’s consumer (for want of a better word because being a consumer is just one of the mind sets individuals can be in at any one time) logs in and out of repeatedly and frequently during their day (and indeed night).
Client marketers or their communications agencies can create a master key to each of these channels, and use that in conjunction of a better understanding of a ‘consumer’s’ mind set and the channel they are using at that point to ensure that not only the right message is sent at the right time, but also though the right medium.
Of course there are many challenges on the way – such as multiple email addresses, privacy issue and obviously understanding our customers or potential customers better.
But then Rome wasn’t built in a day

This post originally appeared on the eCircle blog

What has my email marketing programme got to do with CRM and Customer Experience?

In the bad old days ( or good old days if your hat was thrown in the ring with TV and Print), brands spoke at customers, interrupting their daily lives in the hope that it would cause a reaction . That reaction being that they would purchase your product, based on how the message defined the brand.

You could also argue that email marketers followed a similar route. The substantially cheaper version of ‘’spray and pray’’ was adopted by many brands and indeed encouraged by email service providers who hid behind a very thin veil of targeting to justify a great deal of finger wagging at those unaccountable ATL marketers.

But obviously the world has changed .The ‘advertising' landscape has changed alongside. And it has changed from a communications perspective in a number of ways.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Email and Social Media

Mike over at The Social Penguin asked me about how best to combine the 2 and whether ''email was dead?''. I'm very happy that he decided to post my thoughts

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Social Media, Social Networking, Social Media Marketing

Mike McGrail over at Social Penguin was asking for some ideas for definitions in less than 140 characters ( yes just a Tweet's worth)

social media - is about what consumers want to talk about

social media marketing - is about how brands listen and respond to what consumers talk about

social media networking - is about consumers gathering to talk and listen to each other and the brands they love or hate

Any takers?

It's not rocket science appearing on the eCircle blog, Inside the Box.

Thanks eCircle

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

View from the Social Inbox

The View from the Social Inbox 2010 report from Merkle suggests that the use of email has shifted with users allocating a greater share of email time to permission email and a shrinking share to personal or social use.

But...the amount of time spent on social emails seems steady as does the number of social emails that are arriving.41% of email time is still spent on social emails

I'd imagine this reflects some switching to other social media for 'socialising' but not the mass movement we may well have expected, while the increase in email marketing whether promotional or service oriented, is reflected in users spending more time with them.

And hope is that users are spending more time with these permission emails because they are becoming more relevant, driving up engagement.

Email Click-Through Rates Increase 55% With Multiple Social Sharing Options

Email Marketing and Social Media Integration Highlights
  • Emails that included at least one social sharing option generated over 30 percent higher CTR than emails that did not include any social sharing options.
  • Emails that included at least three social sharing icons generated over 55 percent higher CTR than messages without any sharing options.
  • 60 percent of all social emails included only one sharing icon. Only 11.2 percent of social emails included 3 icons or more.
  • Twitter was the most popular social sharing option, included in 67.2 percent of all social emails; Facebook came in a close second at 62.7 percent.
  • Emails shared on Twitter returned CTRs of 10.20 percent − over 40 percent higher than messages not linked to any social media.
  • Almost 19 percent of SMB marketers (GetResponse users) used the Twitter integration feature (linked their campaigns to Twitter) at least once. Only 13.5 percent included social sharing options.

Full report available via registration here

Simplicity...not being too clever

This piece from the IAB highlights how the best ideas are often the simplest..

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Conversation Maturity

Forrester are offering the opportunity to see benchmark 'Social Maturity' with this free survey .

They want to benchmark  companies to see if they can answer questions like:

  • How do you define “social maturity” and why is it important to get there?
  • Which companies are ahead of the curve in implementing social technologies for both external use (i.e., for customers/consumers) and/or internal use (i.e., for employees/partners)?
  • What have been the biggest drivers of success?
  • What are the biggest challenges?
  • What steps do most organizations need to take and why?

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Mobile Devices and Old Audiences....

Interesting view on how venues ( theatrical and sporting) are reacting to the emergence of 'Social Mobile Devices'

Monday, 14 June 2010

It's not about the Technology Stupid

I recently read an interesting article on how Apple’s iPad was changing the way we build business relationships and have conversations.

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be another article talking about the iPad …there have been a few of those already and I already own that T-shirt.

I was intrigued by the logical progression in which it was said that this new piece of technology could open up the conversation with customers. It flowed something like this (with my own little tweaks)

New Technology = Superior user experience

Superior user experience = Easier consumption

Easier consumption = more consumption

More consumption = more chances to connect

More chances to connect = and do what?

Now there’s the $million question – we often forget that ultimately it’s not about the technology but about the customer, and what we do with that connection when we have it.

Even wikipedia’s definition for CRM now includes the phrase ‘Once simply a label for a category of software tools, today, it generally denotes a company-wide business strategy embracing all client-facing departments and even beyond’

Technology allows us to do many things bigger and faster but not always better – the better only comes together when we put the customer at the heart of what we do. What we do might include email marketing, it might be social, it might be old fashioned in-store activity but whatever we do, we have to ask ourselves ‘‘what’s in it for the customer?’’

I recently sat with a client where we reviewed the ‘point’ of one of their communications. The round table brought forward 5 different USPs that were related to business needs – not one of them put the customer’s needs at the forefront.

At this point I’m going to borrow from Joseph Jaffe’s book, ‘Flip the Funnel’ where he describes ways to turn technology to your advantage. I’ll borrow just 5:

1. Technology should bring out the humanity in your company, not mask it – don’t pretend you’re something that you’re not. Ryanair are a no frills airline – the way they use their website and email programme reflect that.

2. Adopt a multi channel approach to building relationships. The easier you make it for customers, the more they will engage – using email as a case in point, don’t let it work in isolation of all the other channels you use but rather use it to support or initiate those conversations you are having.

3. Consider tiered systems for different segments – don’t talk to all your customers in the same way: is it really a surprise when your engagement levels drop because your newsletter is a ‘one for all’?. Segmentation doesn’t have to clever, in fact it’s often how unclever you are that really counts

4. Automation is not always the answer. In email marketing the more you can automate towards ‘lights out marketing’ then the more efficient you can become. But your CRM strategy needs to have that human touch sometimes
And last but not least….

5. Personalisation is the gift of technology, intimacy is the gift of humanity. Email is great..but don’t forget the bunch of flowers.

So whatever we do to instigate, facilitate or react to conversations (the whole point of technology) let’s not forget that the ‘C’ in CRM is for ‘Customer’…and not for ‘Computer’.

(This post first appeared on the eCircle Blog, Inside the Box )

Friday, 11 June 2010

Traditional marketing 'more effective' than digital advertising

Released 07 June 2010: Six out of ten small businesses believe traditional direct marketing is more effective than online marketing, according to a new survey

87 per cent of companies believe printed marketing tools are "somewhat to very effective" at attracting customers.

Another 61 per cent think they are actually better at bringing in business than web-based advertising.

The research showed that 44 per cent of small firms intend to increase their use of newsletters and direct mail campaigns this year.

However, they are not abandoning digital advertising by any means.

Indeed, some 46 per cent plan to improve their online presence in 2010, while 36 per cent will be using social media to engage with customers.

Around 42 per cent of small companies are considering increasing their overall marketing spend over the next 12 months.

This research was kindly provided to you by courier service FedEx - yes the same FedEx that make their money out of err...delivering printed marketing tools? ( and I borrowed it from an IDM release)

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

It's Not Rocket Science

Following on from my post on 'It's not how clever you's how unclever you are' ,here is a simple chart from Marketing Sherpa that really demonstrates that at least with email, it can be as simple as giving Relevant Content.

With Relevancy comes Engagement...long live the Conversation

Thursday, 20 May 2010

What's The Social Technographics Profile Of Your Customers?

Courtesy of Forrester , you can now classify consumers into six overlapping levels of social participation ( check out the explanation ) . Based on survey data you can see how participation varies among different groups of consumers, globally. You can also analyze the participation of people who buy technology.

They have kindly let me embed the tool here for you to classify your customers.

  • Bars indicate the percentage of the selected demographic that are in each Social Technographics group.
  • The white marks indicate the same percentages for the whole population of the country selected.
  • The index indicates how the demographic compares to the population — a score of 100 means the demographic is the same as the population average.
  • The message "No data available" appears when you request a profile for which our survey samples are not large enough to provide a reliable answer. This occurs for age groups in Japan, Metro China, and South Korea. To see profiles in these countries, set the Age to "Not specified".

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

It Was All About The Conversation

Groundswell co-author Josh Bernoff displays a new Social Technographics ladder that adds another type of participant — the Conversationalist — or someone who updates their status updates and participates in quick conversations on Twitter and Facebook. I guess that makes iamgfc a Conversationalist too 

Thanks to Jason Falls for originally commenting on this


Don't make them stops them doing !

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Testing , Testing, 3,2,1!

Okay okay, I know that the old testing call often employed on stage by some stand up comic testing their microphone is ‘Testing testing 1,2 3,’ , but let’s take it for granted that I haven’t mistakenly written a Stand Up Comic Checklist, but that actually I want to say a few words about the importance of testing in email marketing.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Who wants my vote the most?

Back in February with the General election yet to be announced, I signed up with the 3 main political parties to get their emails.
As we are now only a matter of days to Election Day, I thought I should write a couple of posts on how much they actually wanted my vote .
So lets take a look at the number of emails I got sent

As of yesterday the counts stood at

Labour - 1
Conservatives - 17
LibDems - 25

And no that's not a mistake...Labour actually only sent me 1 email!! I thought it might be a problem with my service so I registered another email address...and that resulted in just the welcome email. Crikey Gordon, I actually wanted to hear what you were saying and your team ignored me!

So, after Round 1...Labour are thrown out of the contest

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Priorities for B2B Marketers

I came across 2 interesting pieces this week. The first, a piece from B2B Marketing on 'Rebounding from the Recession' where a debate between senior figures on the IDM's B2B Marketing Council tackled this topic. Interestingly enough, one participant claims that 'The difference between B2B and B2C has been the acknowledgement of the need to retain relationships'. I'm not sure if they are trying to say that this is a difference between B2B and B2C or whether it's taken B2B time to acknowledge the need to retain relationships'.

In both cases I disagree.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

New Marketing vs Old Marketing

Email/Mobile Marketing - Direct Mail

Social Media - Events

Word of Mouth - Word of Mouth

Banner Advertising - Press Advertising

Any more offers?

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Walking Adverts

Do you remember the heyday of the Sandwich Board? According to Wikipedia they are still in use. Well it would seem that the modern equivalent could very well be us...the consumer.

John Moore at WOMMA 2010 states that the average consumer mentions specific brands over 90 times per week in conversations with friends, family, and co-workers.

So although we do not walk around promoting brands visually as a Sandwich Board Man( although wearing a Superdry, Gio-Goi, Nike item of clothing or driving an Alfa Romeo or BMW, of course does this), we do, it seems, in our day to day conversations. It is this type of Advocacy (positive) brands aspire to tap into.

Especially when you mix in what I highlighted in a previous post about how according to Nielsen,90% of consumers trust product and brand recommendations from people they know.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

So why do I need a 'refer a friend' programme?

According to Nielsen,90% of consumers trust product and brand recommendations from people they know. Socialnomics finds that only 14% trust adverts!

A Little More Conversation

Is an article written by Andrrew Walmsley. My take on the piece is that as long as the little more conversation is a little more ''good' conversation then the Brand is on the right track.

Social Media is 'all about the conversation'. There can be no excuse , therefore, to ignore the real bedrock of any conversation...and that is 'Listening' .

The ability to listen to conversations already happening before you join in is key. Any brand worth its salt realises that it needs to be able to play a part in the real world of its customers. and if that world includes Twitter, then it has to be a part of the mix. Dell is a great example of moving the conversation to where the customer was, getting closer to the customer and even demonstrating that ROI that so many non marketers on the board crave.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Is the time finally right for mobile as a B2B channel?

This was the title of a discussion on LinkedIn.

Of course this question has been rattling around in its cage for a while now. My comment ended on a note talking about how we seem to be fixated with a very narrow view of what mobile means. It is of course not purely the accessing of content via a mobile phone,which is picked up by this article on Clickz

Mobile B2B needs to look at its application on a case by case business with applications being suitable in some sectors and not in others. We need to take into account how businesses in particular at the smaller end of the spectrum actually behave much more like consumers than corporates and so our marketing should reflect that. Here mobile can play a very important role

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Why should I sign up to your newsletter?

Although many of us will have multiple email addresses, the sharing of these addresses with organisations that are going to market to us is still a sign of trust.

One of the easiest ways to keep that trust is obviously not to fill a recipient's inbox with a flood of emails.

Its also important to give something back. And by that I mean giving them something non subscribers can't get or priority access to that content

Attitudinal vs Behavioural Loyalty

I recently read a whitepaper co-written by Don Peppers -

In it, it discusses the types of Loyalty. It describes Attitudinal Loyalty, occurring when a customer is favorably disposed to you: they like you and they trust you. The other definition of loyalty is behavioral loyalty, which is measurable by transactions: a customer is loyal if they buy repeatedly.

Of course we all want customers to be attitudinally loyal but the paper reasons that the only real business benefit of loyalty comes from behavioural loyalty.

In my opinion this is not the case. I may regularly shop at the local Tesco, but this Behavioural Loyalty is a Forced Loyalty as it is the only supermarket within easy reach . I might however on an ad-hoc basis use Waitrose..and I love the Waitrose experience so much that I recommend it to friends and family as a result of my attitudinal loyalty which results in an indirect business benefit to Waitrose.

I am surprised that Mr Peppers does not take this into account – but I am wondering if the fact that the paper was co written by Oracle’s VP of CRM Applications influenced the focus on a transactional viewpoint.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The Future is Mobile...again!

"Regarding the pace of change, we believe more users will likely connect to the Internet via mobile devices than desktop PCs within five years."

--The Mobile Internet Report, Morgan Stanley, 12/09

Isn't that as obvious as saying that most phone calls will be made via mobile phones than on fixed line phones? particular if you look at mobile devices as including phones, netbooks, e-readers,laptops..not to mention the iPad category of devices. Doies the iPad create a new category or is it just Apples Netbook?

This article seems to suggest a new ' feet-up' category . I think it's more of a 'anytime, anyplace, anything' category.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Co-Stealth Marketing Tactics? Mine's a half!

As defined by wikipedia includes the phrase

a marketing company might pay an actor or socially adept person to use a certain product visibly and convincingly in locations where target consumers congregate

Now read this article I came across in the Yorkshire Post

Pub-surgery MP gets beer drenching

Published Date: 10 March 2010
A YORKSHIRE MP was left drenched in beer after an angry constituent poured a drink over her during one of her regular surgeries at a local pub.
Anne McIntosh, the Conservative MP for the Vale of York and one of David Cameron's shadow environment ministers, was left ruing her decision to hold meetings with constituents at The Three Tuns in Thirsk after a half-pint of John Smith's Extra Smooth bitter was poured over her following a disagreement with a local voter.

I'm still trying to decide who wins here, the Tory MR, the Pub or John Smiths!! Or are we seeing the beginning of a new shared channel?


Full Article can be seen here

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Testing Testing 1 2 3

I came across this piece on the 'Three Vital Elements of Email to Test' this morning.

A tidy little piece which again highlights the importance of audience selection in any for of direct marketing, or indeed marketing in general.

The audience is primary when considering any form of testing as it more often than not actually provides you with the biggest uplift in response.

My 1,2,3 revolve around these areas

1 : Keep it simple or lose the ability to see the wood for the trees
2 : Counting to 10 before changing anything
3 : Lest we forget what we learnt last time

These are expanded upon in an article I wrote a while back on

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Video in email saves on data segmentation?

One of the big email success stories for 2009 and for this year, will be the continued use of videos within email.

According to a recent survey by GetResponse, over 80% of SMBs intend to use video in 2010 for applications such as training, product demos etc.

This is not surprising as 65% of responders believed the use of video had a positive impact on conversion rates.

But as with any other application, proper segmentation of the audience is needed to maximise conversion.( A segmentation best practice checklist can be found on e-Circle's website).

Hence my surprise when I saw this release from PRWeb, who claim that use of video ''Saves time in campaign creation by reducing need for list segmentation'' thinks they should stick to PR.

Email Marketing - What's your ROI?

I came across an amazing statistic this morning about the ROI organisations are getting from their email marketing.

Although a year old now, the Adestra Email Marketing Census highlighted how few organisations actually know what their ROI is.According to this census,the majority of respondents being in the UK, a staggering 42% of organisations have no idea what their ROI is!!

And yet, 78% of these organisations believed that as a channel , email was 'excellent' or 'good' for ROI, and yet Direct Marketing was only regarded 'excellent' or 'good' by 6%. I find this confusing as I always thought email was a direct channel ?

I know that often email marketing is seen as being a pretty cheap channel, but that doesn't excuse organisations doing the fundamentals of getting a grip its effectiveness. I was once given these wise words: 'If emails cost as much as direct mail, a lot more thought would be put into how many are sent out'

This is very true in particular when you begin to look at the negative impact too many emails can have on open rates, and even on getting them into the recipients inbox now that the like of Hotmail monitor email open activity as part of their junk email filtering

I can only hope that the 1 in 3 organisations in the survey that say that Measurement & Evaluation is a focus are all in that group that say they have no idea what their ROI is!

Friday, 26 February 2010

LD2010 #2: Nick Clegg answers your questions

Now there's a subject line to inspire opening an email ! ?

No welcome, no personalisation and probably the worst laid out email I have ever received!! It took me to the full magazine on line

My only question is...did you pay an agency for this?

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

How to start off an email conversation...the right way

Well, still no welcome from any of the political parties. They should take a leaf out of the Sunday Times Wine Club. As soon as I had registered with them and agreed to join their email list, I received a welcome email from them, the contents of which are below.

Many thanks for letting us know you'd like to hear from us. From now on we'll keep you up to date with all our latest news and offers.

As we often buy limited-edition wines from quality-driven producers (the sort a supermarket would be forced to overlook) our list changes frequently. With great new discoveries coming in and out of the cellar all the time, it's worth staying in touch and checking your emails regularly to avoid missing out.

If you'd like to see our latest offers - and find details of our relaxed tasting evenings - please visit our website.

Best wishes,

Dan Snook, Wine Director

An immediate welcome with confirmation that I had registered and with some indication of what I can expect.

Lets hope the wines are as good!!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Dear Gordon, I've just met you and you're already asking for money?

Well, I guess that as part of an unofficial launch of the General Election Campaign, The Labour Party would want to get their message across to as many people as possible. So I was not surprised that I would get this email about their new 'A future fair for all' push.

What did surprise me was that despite the fact that I had only signed up for their emails 48 hours ago, they were already asking for a donation!!

Who on earth manages these campaigns for Labour? Do they not know about how relationships are built on a mutual understanding of what each party wants? Well, I have a fair idea of what they want! news from the LibDems as yet.

Friday, 19 February 2010

''Coronation Street's Ken Barlow backs our social care plans''

That was the welcome from the Conservative Party...about 24 hours after I registered on-line for their emails.

So my first email wasn't a thank you for registering or a welcome, but just an immediate dump into the overall program.

And to make things worse, they managed to get the personalisation wrong...I became Dear ,

So I am assuming that the Tory program was being lauded for the quantity of emails being sent rather than the quality!!

Redefining 'conversation'

I came across this interesting piece from the Ogilvy Blog and what conversation means these days .

To me it's interesting because it still promotes the idea of conversation as really being the constant throughout the evolution of marketing. The conversation may alter or take on a different emphasis depending on where and when it is taking place, but it still exists.

The conversation might be taking place via a social media site where peers are exchanging thoughts on a product, or it may between the brand and the consumer via feedback programs or a series of emails.

What's key is that we as marketers understand what the conversation content needs to be at that particular moment, and uses technology, where appropriate, to optimise this content and uses technology to make the conversation easier to take place.

The future is not about combining the conversation that is marketing with technology

It's about doing that now!

Off the Peg Campaigns or Bespoke?

Some companies want to simply build a program mostly based on blueprint, best practice.

In reality, best practice can only be a starting point.The best campaigns can only come into place by using the insights that come from a company’s real data about customers and competition. About what they are doing and what they have done.

Combining these elements pays off in the end.

Start off with what you want from a shirt, but get it tailored to suit you

A custom-designed shirt always fits better!

Who will speak to me first..David, Gordon or Nick?

In an article entitled 'Tories make best use of email but all parties flounder on social media', Brand Republic talks about how The Conservative Party seem to be leading the field in terms of email marketing.

Apparently, the Tories sent 12 email messages while Labour sent only one and the Liberal Democrats none at all, according to Return Path, which conducted the research.

The three parties also failed to send immediate welcome messages after people signed up to receive updates. It took the Tories six days send email message and Labour 58 days to do the same.

Surely they can't be that slack?

Well I thought I would do my own little bit of research to see if now that we seem to be in a proper build up to an election, they have cranked up their email marketing in any way? So last night I registered for all main political parties..and I am still waiting my welcome!!

Lets see who decides to speak to me first.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Permission Marketing is Efficient Marketing

Let me start by taking a view on Permission.

In my opinion, there are 2 levels of Permission. The first is probably the most obvious, which is where a consumer actually gives the brand the opportunity to talk to them. This may very well be because they are an existing customer or have an interest in getting information about a product or service. By having this level of Permission, the brand can be hopeful that the piece of marketing that arrives in front of the consumer has a greater chance of being read, and not just ignored

A second way of looking at Permission is to view it as means of engaging with the consumer at a time that resonates with them

There are many examples of where timing plays an important role in getting a message read. Brands such as SKY or Virgin know full well that the chance of getting new subscribers are increased if they hit at a time when a new source of entertainment is wanted, such as moving to a new home, or with a new baby in the family.

Insurance companies are well aware that many policies are bought in line with the purchase date of a new car, and car manufacturers can ramp up communications in line with a potential replacement for a new car..usually before the end of the 3rd year.

Timing provides relevance. If it's relevant I'll be more likely to engage with it. And engagement is a proxy for permission

So how does Permission translate into efficiency?


1. Permission gives increased response rate because the offer made is relevant and made in the right time scale.
2. The offer made in many instances can be sent pretty much automatically, which drives efficiency.
3. Permission has been given to sent the offer through an appropriate channel, which saves cost.

If they want it...they'll do it

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Batman and Robin Comic Generator

As I's all about the conversation.

Try it out at the Batman Comic Generator

Better data 'would boost mobile marketing'

A survey by O2 suggested that 58 per cent of senior marketers would devote more of their budgets to the medium following the launch of the Mobile Media Metrics tool

The research by O2 also found that 47 per cent of senior marketers indicated that better targeting would make them invest more in mobile.

That all seems very encouraging especially as to many the future is Mobile.

But lets not forget what the customer wants. We need to make sure that Mobile doesn't go the way of Direct Mail, Telemarketing, Email. They were all the future once, but marketers have abused their use so much that there has been some level of rejection by the consumer.

If the future is Mobile, then it really does need to take into account the privacy issues that will become more prevalent as we go forward

Monday, 1 February 2010

The one page ALL CUSTOMERS see?

There seems to be no end that supermarkets will go to to make sure that your checkout is as smooth and as quick as possible.

First of all, we generally know exactly where the checkouts are. Then:

Queues getting too long..we'll open another
Want to do it your self..go to the self scan line
Need help with your bagging to ensure you make a quick exit..we'll help.

So why don't the rest of the retail world take note. I abandoned some shopping in BHS the other day because I couldn't find the tills. Surely the most frustrating experience for a customer is having a basket full of goodies but with an experience that causes me to give up and go elsewhere.

So why on earth do online retailers make it too difficult to do this sometimes.

I regularly shop with Ocado and I know they are held in high esteem for the work that they do. In general I think they are great. But why is it that every time I want to check out, they have to lengthen the process by 3 or 4 pages by reminding me of things I bought last time but didn't buy this time. Or encouraging me to buy more because of the current BOGOF. Can you imagine how annoying that would be in a Waitrose store? Could it be that I didn't buy the Lazy Garlic because I don't want it?

If I want reminders, I'll remind you

Understanding = Resonance = Engagement

Friday, 29 January 2010

Test, Learn, Change, Repeat

“Company marketers will never get the data from digital marketing without testing, so I would encourage those who have not historically leveraged search, social media, mobile and other interactive advertising channels to do their homework to establish a digital marketing roadmap and start testing and capturing data.”

One thing that strikes me here is this idea of the Digital Roadmap. As mentioned yesterday by Alasdair Wightman, Chairman of awadigital, many organisations want to change their Digital Strategy overnight. I agree with Alasdair that this can't happen in a 'Big Bang' moment. Organisations needs to still adhere to the basics of Test, Learn, Change, Repeat. It's only by sticking with this philosophy that we can begin to understand what works best in practice with our audiences. This applies whether we are talking about email campaigns, site usability and even social media campaigns. It forces us to do the most important things which are to listen to what our customers are saying, and to watch what they are doing.

Alasdair was speaking at a Making Digital Work Harder for Your Business event co-hosted with

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

CRM....Keeping the Lights On

CRM is not just implementing expensive software, although a quick Google search of CRM will bring up a whole host of expensive CRM platforms ranging from to Oracle to Alterian etc. I have worked previously with an organisation who spent close to £1m on a software solution, but then realised they didn't have the marketers needed to get the best from the platform.

This is a typical example of CRM project coming out of an IT Strategy rather than a Customer Strategy. Many companies fall into this trap and implement CRM 'technologies' to aid in their quest for a 'single customer view', but Gartner suggests that over 55% of these projects fail

So what is CRM?

Ultimately it is about getting close to the customer and gaining engagement at all the possible touchpoints where a consumer comes across the brand. These touchpoints happen during the various phases of the Purchase Lifecycle from Awareness, through to Consideration, Purchase, Ownership and Repurchase.

Engagement is really about having the right conversation...and the right conversation is all about the right Content at the Right Time, delivered by the most appropriate vehicle. Now of course good software allows you hold all this content and can be used to deliver it via the right channel at a time when the consumer is the most receptive, but it needs the Customer Strategy behind it to be most effective.

Strategy is a combination of Logic and Interpretation. Computers can follow rules, but only people can interpret value, based on sound judgement and experience. The data might tell me that refining the segmentation and using the most responsive creative has reduced my ROI, but gut instinct will tell me that something else has played a part in this spurious outcome, whether that be timing or something else happening in the market.

CRM isn't run by the MI department but by the Marketing Department. The MI will tell you that you shouldn't contact lapsed customers, because well...they're lapsed. Marketing judgment presents the notion that there might be a reason as to why they are lapsed..maybe that particular segment don't buy your product as regularly as others so it might be worth pursuing them in a different way.

CRM software gives the impression that Lights Out Marketing ( everything is automated and doesn't need anyone about) is the Nirvana we all seek. Personally, I think its better to get into CRM with the lights on and my eyes wide open