Thursday, 28 July 2011

Ok..So if Email is Dead ...

Why are Google trying so hard to get people to ditch their Hotmail and Yahoo etc. accounts and move over to GMail ?

They are promoting Email Interventions  to get you to convince your wayward friends to convert.

Here is there YouTube video explaining how you can help your friends from the embarrassment of outdated email addresses

There must be a reason to put this effort in.

Yahoo and Hotmail are more popular as web destinations as well being more popular as email clients ( see campaign monitor stats here)  and Google want to change this. Google realise that the email address is still the key to this.

I wrote a post on this last year on Email being the key to multi-channel marketing where I referred to an article that stated '' The integration of social, mobile and e-mail has already begun to settle inside the inbox'' 

And to win that battle it's going to be easier on your own soil !... in particular if you already have Google+ and mobile options.

You could always send me any comments at I didn't need an intervention

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Personalisation for the Connected Consumer

Today’s world is increasingly being inhabited with Connected Consumers. These consumers use multiple channels, touch-points and devices to communicate with brands and with each other at warp speed, 24/7. The number of marketing messages that consumers see is often quoted in the thousands. Whatever the number, it’s a lot!

For brands, providing communications that quickly create engagement with these consumers requires that message to resonate and so personalisation is a key plank of any organisation’s eCRM Strategy.

I often have a quote in my presentations about lazy marketers creating email newsletters. Now of course, having offended a large proportion of the audience, I explain later on by actually talking about lazy marketers creating one size fits all email newsletters. This is based on the principle that if I put enough ‘stuff’ in front of you, something will take your fancy. Today’s consumer doesn’t have the time or patience to trawl through a mass of content to find something they need

Now of course we mustn’t mistake personalisation for salutation. ‘Dear Gianfranco’ doesn’t really cut the mustard in terms of personalisation these days. Even Cicero, the Roman philosopher, a few thousand years ago talked about remembering and using someone’s name to have a successful conversation with them. We need more than that if we are to persuade our audience to takes us along with them on their journey

My old Greek friend Aristotle ( don’t worry, there are no more philosophers in this piece) talks about Pathos, Ethos and Logos in the art of persuasion. In plain English that roughly equates to Emotion, Credibility and Logic.

The emotion (Pathos) of a brand can open up an email inbox for example but only positive and relevant experiences will keep it open. And I believe that Credibility and Logic have the use of data at the heart.

In today’s data rich marketing world, logic in the form of personalisation in eCRM can be based on 3 key information areas

Profile – What I’ve told a brand about myself in terms of age, sex and interests
Behaviour – What a brand can infer are my likes, interests from my interaction with them
Transactional – What do my purchases both on and offline tell you about my current and future needs?

Used correctly, combining these starts to create relevance and context to our messages in particular if we can overlay location as part of all this as well an understanding of what device and or app they are reading the message on. As a result, the messages and the brand gain credibility

But of course this new eCRM only works when the context and relevance that you are engaging with me with has my Permission. But it also stops working if you abuse my Privacy by ignoring the Permission I have given you. That permission is about engaging me on particular topics, at certain times using my preferred media.  Nothing more.

Of course before you can convince an audience, using Aristotle’s Ethos, they have to accept you as being credible. And credibility also has Trust as a cornerstone.

As a consumer I want the recommendations and relevancy that personalisation brings, but don’t want you to abuse that trust.

And if you do, as a connected consumer in today’s world using connected networks, your lack of ethos will be quickly shared.

Friday, 15 July 2011

My Interview for Social Media Citizens

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Giedrius Ivanauskas for Social Media Citizens earlier this month.

G: How would you define a social media “influencer”?
GC: I define influence as being able to change other people’s behaviour or thoughts. Influencers in Social Media need not have thousands upon thousands of followers or fans, but should be able to use their connections to change behaviour and create conversations with them. Real influence also means that these actions are spread onwards to stimulate conversations in the wider community.
And of course brands can be influenced themselves, not by single powerful influencers but by many influencers speaking as one in the ‘crowd’. Look at how companies like Starbucks use consumers to influence products and services via mystarbucksidea 

G: How do you measure the influence?
GC: Funnily enough I look at the whole spread of a person’s footprint.
The rest of the interview can be read here

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Choosing an Email Service Provider - Think About the Destination and not just the Cruise

We've recently been involved in looking at our Email Service Provider (ESP) partner of choice .

There are many other sources, some listed below, that have helped in the selection process by providing key areas to look at and points to consider.

And yet the best description of the number one area to focus on sprang to me as I listened to the sermon at the local church one weekend. The sermon was about how we look at the journey without the destination in mind, simply enjoying the services and facilities of the Cruise Liner we are on called Life. We have no real sense of where we are going with this and don't really know how we are progressing on that journey.

So how does this relate to selecting an ESP?

Well, my one tip would be to think about where you want to be medium and long term with your Email/Social/Mobile marketing and select your ESP accordingly. There are 100s of ESPs out there and the task of matching to your needs is difficult, especially when most of them will actually do what you want and more.

Don't be swayed by the vast amount of technology , services and consulting that is available . Be clear about where you are now and where you want to be in 6, 12, 18 months. You don't want to be in  position where you have outgrown your ESP in year 1. A shelf life of 2 to 3 years is great but in some cases you may be looking to 5 years to cover the costs of the original switch.

Make sure that the fundamentals are covered before getting excited by the extra widgets available. In many cases ESPs are dumped not because they can't provide the functionality, but because the client didn't use the functionality they were paying for.

I am not advocating that you stick with one ESP for life, but then they are not just for Christmas either.

Useful Sources of Information

Email Vendor Selection

ClickMail Marketing

Counterpillar - Its like choosing a spouse

Be Relevant Email Marketing Blog

Chief Marketer - It's like buying a house

Email Experience Council 

eConsultancy Email Marketing Buyers Guide