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Friday, January 31, 2014

Engagement Begins with Preference Management

For gyms and health clubs across the country, January is the real holiday season. An estimated 12-15 percent of all gym memberships in a given year are sold in January and most facilities see a huge spike in personal training, nutrition and class enrollments. Seeking to put the excesses of the holidays behind them – and perhaps to make good on that New Year’s resolution – millions of Americans are sweating their way through the depths of winter.

Inside the typical CMO’s office, a similar trend is in effect. But instead of building muscles, they are seeking to build engagement, that magical place where prospects become customers, customers become loyal fans and a healthy, profitable cycle of interaction gains momentum. Instead of classes and diets, CMOs are buying software, engaging consultants and (gulp) seeking buy-in from skeptical CEOs. 

In the gym, the search for fitness might begin with push-ups, the stair-stepper or perhaps some good old-fashioned weights.

In the CMO’s office, the solution is murkier. A clever social media campaign? A bigger investment in display advertising? A new in-store customer service training program?

For many enterprises, the journey to engagement must begin with listening to and learning from its audience. Without the basic ability to hear what consumers want and respond to their wishes, every other engagement initiative is doomed to fail. We call this preference management – the active collection and distribution of preferences such as product interest, channel preference and frequency of communication.

These preferences are not derived by profile data, purchase history or where they are on your website; rather, they are expressly stated by the consumer themselves. In other words, preference management means giving your customers and prospects the ability to conveniently communicate with your company, recording the information in a central location and acting on what they say.

Sounds simple, right? In truth, it can be incredibly complex for an enterprise-level company with numerous customer touchpoints, departments, offerings and locations. As larger organizations delve into the topic, they soon discover why preference management is easier said than done.

But who said getting in shape was easy? The point is that it is possible to make real progress on engagement when you start at the right place and move forward in incremental steps. I’ll discuss each of those steps in this space as the year progresses. But for now, I invite you to consider your company’s ability to collect, maintain and appropriately distribute customer and prospect information. Search this site for articles and videos on how to get started and don’t hesitate to contact us to lean more.

If engagement is your goal, preference management is your starting point. Welcome to the gym!

About the Author: 
Rob Tate is the Director of Enterprise Sales at PossibleNOW.

Friday, January 24, 2014

NFL.com Gets High Scores on Engaging Emails

Challenge: Email deliverability is now dependent on a sender’s ability to deliver engaging content to subscribers. Since engagement has become a key ingredient in ISP's reputation scores, marketers need to up their game to play by the changing rules or risk poor ROI rates on campaigns.

As we reported in a previous blog, 70-75% of Email Subscribers are Inactive, marketers need to capture attention and invite engagement due to Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, and AOL now incorporating a new algorithm that includes the original guidelines for identifying SPAM, plus active engagement rates.

While marketers are using many other forms of communication, email still continues to be a prime vehicle for customer interactions. In the Salesforce.com Exacttarget Marketing Cloud 2014 State of Marketing study that polled over 2,600 mid- to senior-level marketing managers cross all industries;
  • 67 percent of marketers say their number one priority for 2014 is to increase sales directly attributable to digital marketing campaigns,
  • 64 percent are focused on increasing email click throughs and open rates.
In our ERDM Voice of Customer (VoC) research findings we learned what customers want relative to email:
  • Consumers expect companies to use their preferences to deliver increasingly personalized offers, communications, and experiences.
  • As a result of preference-based interactions, consumers are more willing to respond to communications and offers.
  • Customers look to personalized follow-up emails as value-added triggers to go online and evaluate relevant products.
  • Customers want more than just buying history-based emails.
  • Create opt-in preference databases to drive true personalization of communications and offers.
The NFL.com Newsletter, winner of the MarketingSherpa Email Awards 2013, took relevancy to a whole new level. Subscribers get real-time content about their designated favorite teams, and even receive countdowns to game time. Fans depend on these emails to stay abreast of timing for the next big kick-off.

These efforts resulted in doubled newsletter open rates and increased click through rates of 26%.

The 5 winning reasons given for choosing the NFL.com as the best in show winner were:
  1. They explored new ways to engage and interact with their audience.
  2. They had a goal to create email that was relevant and targeted as possible.
  3. They tailored each email on a personalized level.
  4. They wanted the emails to be useful.
  5. They took into consideration the different vehicles that might be used to read an email and made the messages easy to navigate and easy to read.
On the NFL.com site visitors can register via a preference center to supply personalized information such as favorite team and opt-in to the newsletter.

3 Takeaways:
  1. Keep in mind the new rules for email deliverability that take into consideration both recipient interaction as well as content engagement. Develop new strategies that encourage interaction through deeply personalized messaging.
  2. Customers are willing to provide in-depth information in exchange for receiving value-added information. For consumers, the rationale for providing preference information is to receive increasingly relevant offers, communications, and experiences.
  3. Understand how your customers read their emails—is it on a computer, tablet, or mobile device? Design emails that will enable your message to display correctly for maximum interaction opportunities.

About the Author:
Ernan Roman Direct Marketing's Customer Experience strategies achieve consistent double-digit increases in response and revenue for their clients, which include IBM, MassMutual, QVC, Microsoft, and Symantec Corp.

As a leader in providing Voice of Customer research-based guidance, ERDM has conducted over 10,000 hours of interviews with their clients' customers and prospects, to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for high-value relationships.

he results achieved by ERDM's VoC-based strategies earned Ernan Roman induction into the Marketing Hall of Fame.

Visit his blog at: http://ernanroman.blogspot.com/

Monday, January 20, 2014

Rob Tate on marketing resolutions that matter in DMNews.com

Did you know that just 8 percent of Americans achieve their New Year's resolutions? According to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, most of us fail to make good on our New Year’s goals.

Last Tuesday, DMNews.com published a new article from Rob Tate, our Director of Enterprise Sales. In it, Rob urges marketers think about a customer engagement plan for 2014. Observing that engagement initiatives are often embraced as a priority but rarely survive to execution, he offers three concrete suggestions and encourages readers to think about budget-able, attainable, actionable goals.


Rob’s core message is clear – start at the beginning, simplify and build on your success. Here’s to making 2014 the year we all meet goals we’ve set out for ourselves.

Eric Tejeda is the Director of Product Marketing for PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Eric supports the organization’s growth objectives by productizing and launching innovative new products and services that fill critical needs in the marketplace. 

With 25 years of experience, Eric firmly believes that permission-based marketing and preference management is a mega trend and the path to success for marketers today. 

Follow me on Twitter: @EricTejeda | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Tejeda http://www.cemsummit2013.com

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hit the Marketing Nail on the Head

Here’s Scott Olrich, President of Marketing and Platform at our partner, Responsys, talking about reaching the "always-addressable consumer" with the right message at the right time:

We filmed this (and many more) at our CEM Summit in September. It struck me at the time not only as a marketer but also as a consumer. I had just completed a basement renovation project that began with the obligatory trip to the hardware store.

One of the associates helped me select the right nail guns, air compressor and table saw. I checked out and went home to begin work.

Just a few short years ago, my departure that day would have been the end of my interaction with the store. Today, in the age of the always-addressable consumer, it’s really just the beginning.

Over the course of my project I continued to get emails from that hardware store about everything from outdoor garden to appliances and lighting. The problem was I had no interest in 95 percent of the information they sent me. I eventually opted out.

The deluge of useless emails came to mind when I heard Scott talk about customer sensitivity to pointless interaction. The hardware store missed a big opportunity to sell me more products (laser level!) because they failed to target their messages to me based on my primary interest.

Scott's right. The always-addressable consumer will only reward companies that understand the responsibility that comes with increased access.

Eric Tejeda is the Director of Product Marketing for PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Eric supports the organization’s growth objectives by productizing and launching innovative new products and services that fill critical needs in the marketplace. 

With 25 years of experience, Eric firmly believes that permission-based marketing and preference management is a mega trend and the path to success for marketers today. 

Follow me on Twitter: @EricTejeda | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Tejeda http://www.cemsummit2013.com