Ernan’s Insights on Marketing Best Practices

Monday, March 30, 2015

3 Tips to Improve Your Email Marketing Effectiveness

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CustomerThink.com
Direct Mail Enriches Customer ExperienceHere are two email stats which reinforce the role of high value email as part of your mix; people who buy products via email spend 138% more than those who didn't receive email offers, and 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email.
Based on this good news, here are 3 strategies for improving the performance of your email;
1. Use Consumer Behaviors to Personalize Email
According to Listrack, "If significant attention is given to email content development, companies can begin to see better results":
  • 90% of online shoppers find it helpful to be alerted when frequently purchased items go on sale.
  • 72% are willing to receive more emails if they feature weekly sales, top sellers and new products.
  • 84% of online consumers who signed up to receive promotional emails want emails to contain products relevant to their purchasing history.
  • 69% are willing to share personal preference data in order to receive emails more relevant to them.
This is in line with ERDM VoC research findings contained in our ebook "5 Ways to Use Human Data to Drive Deep Engagement", in which we noted that:
  • Truly personalized communications motivate customers to provide increasingly deeper levels of information and increases their willingness to engage in interactions.
  • If a consumer feels as though a company is making no effort to understand them, or is only using their information to sell them something, they perceive their marketing as being "value-less" and not worthy of their time.
2. Increase Open Rates with Compelling Subject Lines
A recent analysis of five million emails by the email management service Baydin found that a typical email user gets 147 messages a day and deletes 71 of them (48%). So, finding ways to grab attention is essential.
Marketing company Influitive used creative email subject line to develop an emotional tie to a new product launch for a B-to-B campaign that took big risks and netted big rewards. The company decided to take the risk of an attention grabbing subject line because it fit in with the analogy they were making about building relationships. According to Jim Williams, Vice President of Marketing, "If you can relate some arcane B2B pitch to some personal thing,…then I think you've done a good job as a marketer." The quirky campaign, used the subject line "So I'll pick you up at 7?" And, had a headline stating, "Don't make referrals awkward." It then discussed Influitive's recently launched referral automation solution product.
The company received 10 times the number of normal replies. Results of this email campaign include: 25% open rate (Influitive's highest) and 2.3% click through rate.
3. Use Email To Engage With Relevancy
According to the DMA's National Client Email Survey 2014, a 760 percent increase in email revenue came from segmented emails. The trend is now for marketers to move away from generic messaging and meet consumer demands for relevancy by engaging in more targeted and personalized communications.
Jewlery company Alex & Ani engages with customers throughout their journey, from email to onsite, from social to in-store, and beyond. Through the use of abandoned cart emails the company saw a 73% lift in monthly email revenue and 36% lift in monthly revenue. They sent an initial email message and then followed up a few days later with another email, starting to integrate recommended products based on the customer's known interests or products that other customers recently purchased. The company serves messaging to individual consumers based on increased degrees of interest on specific products, leading to increased conversion rates.
Recommendations for Enhancing Email Value
  • Develop highly targeted, engaging and relevant messaging that presents recipients with a reason to open and act.
  • Use time sensitive offers. They create urgency to act.
  • Integrate your email with other media touch points and events.
  • Develop email messaging around consumer history, preferences, and purchases. When recipients get emails that truly "speak to them" engagement soars.
Consumers — both BtoC and BtoB — are email weary and wary. To drive engagement, emails must contain value and relevance. Use purchase, behavior and interaction data to craft email messaging that is welcomed.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Warby Parker Co-Founder & Co-CEO Answers 4 Questions for Marketing Innovators

Dave Gilboa, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Warby Parker, will address these 4 questions;
  1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?
  2. Why is this so important?
  3. How will the customer experience be improved by this?
  4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?
Please send your feedback and ideas for people you would us to interview to ernan@erdm.com

Dave Gilboa
Dave Gilboa is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Warby Parker, a transformative lifestyle brand offering designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially-conscious businesses.
Prior to launching Warby Parker in 2010, Dave was an Associate at merchant bank Allen & Company and, earlier, served as Special Assistant to the Founder and CEO of the TriZetto Group and has held strategy and business development roles at Genomic Health and Crescendo Bioscience. Dave has worked extensively with non-profit organizations, and serves as a founding member of the Entrepreneur Board of Venture for America, an organization dedicated to mobilizing graduates as entrepreneurs in low-cost cities.
1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?
Introducing unexpected and fun elements that drive word of mouth. A recent example of this came in the form of our "Make-Your-Own-Annual Report," which enabled customers to generate their very own annual report. It was a really fun tool and led to us becoming a trending topic on Twitter. A lot of annual reports tend to read a bit stodgy because they focus so heavily on financial data, so we wanted to go in a completely different direction when we started releasing them in 2011. Instead of solely talking about our business, we talk about our customers, our employees, and our office which, we think, is a lot more interesting to read than our financial records.
We also like to surprise customers in stores. During the holidays we introduced the Wheel of Good Omens, which was a giant wheel that customers could spin to win prizes. They could walk away with a Warby Parker FIY (fold-it-yourself ) fortune teller, treats, and more. (Everyone was a winner).
Another unexpected element is our surprise-and-delight campaign, which, as you can probably guess, surprises our customers with a wide variety of gifts. Recently, we sent out custom chocolate bars that commemorated the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
There is also our @warbyparkerhelp YouTube channel, which allows our employees to respond to customers' tweets with videos, which we think creates a more meaningful, personal interaction. Sometimes you need more than 140 characters.
2. Why is this so important?
As a startup, we will never have the marketing budget or resources to compete against the massive companies in our industry. In a David vs. Goliath scenario, it is not brute force that wins the battle, but creativity and being able to leverage unique capabilities and assets. We have an incredibly creative team, so one of our core values is to inject fun and quirkiness into everything we do. We leverage this as our unfair advantage instead of competing with dollars.
3. How will the customer experience be improved by this?
Consumers love having stories to tell at dinner parties or around the water cooler and, increasingly, to share on social media. Our hope is to bring brand elements to life in interesting ways that are remarkable enough to share.
4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?
The best brands drive word of mouth, which serves as a multiplier effect for every marketing dollar spent.
What is your favorite activity outside of work?
I grew up by the beach in San Diego and still love any opportunity to jump in an ocean. Swimming, surfing, kitesurfing, paddleboarding, scuba diving, etc. You name it, I'll be there.

Monday, March 16, 2015

RR Donnelley CMO Answers 4 Questions for Marketing Innovators

Alisa Norris, CMO of RR Donnelley will address these 4 questions;
  1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?
  2. Why is this so important?
  3. How will the customer experience be improved by this?
  4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?
Please send your feedback and ideas for people you would us to interview to ernan@erdm.com

Alisa Norris
In 2013, Alisa joined RR Donnelley, a Fortune 300 company, to lead all aspects of marketing and communications. Today she is building new marketing capabilities that support the company's transformation from one of the world's largest print services providers to a leading integrated communication services provider.
Alisa serves as an Independent Director for Standard Motor Products. She is a member of the New York City Board of Directors of Step Up Women's Network and she is a Board Member of IDEAlliance.
1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?
Consumers are bombarded with messages at every turn. So how do we blast through the cluttered communication landscape to nurture relationships with consumers? How do we create connected experiences between companies and the audiences they need to reach? That's the challenge today.
2. Why is this so important?
Because connected experiences drive brand loyalty, spark conversations, and inspire consumers to act. All of the channels — print, digital, email, text, video, web, and social — must work together to create these connected experiences for consumers.
We all know that companies are investing heavily in omni-channel communications. But how many are successfully connecting across all of the channels? And how many marketers understand the power of print — yes, I said print — as a critical gateway driving the connected experience? Print engages the senses. It's tactile. It's shareable. Many of us flip through the crisp pages of a vivid catalog and then hold up our mobile device to click for valuable information. Or we see a gorgeously photographed product in a stylish magazine and turn to our tablet to place an order. Maybe we click our device at a point-of-purchase display and gain exclusive benefits. The possibilities are endless! Yet too many marketers underestimate the power of print in our digital world.
3. How will the customer experience be improved by this?
Brands that fail to synchronize their channels can alienate consumers — creating disconnected experiences and losing potential sales. This happens frequently. Here's an example from my life: For years, I looked forward to the communications — emails, direct mail, catalogs — from one of my favorite brands. It's a brand I have welcomed into my home, even shared with my four children. Recently my son opened the brand's catalog and noticed an unusual model building set. Under the photo it said: "Watch the Video." My son expected to click his mobile device over the ad and see the video right then and there. That would have been ideal. But the ad directed him to a URL. He lost interest and moved on. I then went to the brand's website and typed in the URL to view the video. Nothing came up. I searched the website under videos, models, building. Nothing! The brand had a great idea to connect print with their digital world — to connect all their channels — and failed to do so. The brand lost my purchase.
4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?
Every company has finite budgets. Consumers have finite attention bandwidth. Therefore, brands must synchronize all the channels to send the right message to the right person at the right time — every time. The inbox must connect with the mailbox. The direct mail piece must match the mobile message. At RR Donnelley, a 150-year-old company that began as a printer, our focus always has been to connect people through the power of words and images. That remains true today. We intimately understand the integrated role of print as we help companies create effective multi-channel campaigns. No matter how many ways consumers will communicate, we know print will continue to be a critical gateway to extend and enhance the consumer experience.
What is your favorite activity outside of work?
I cherish the personal time that I carve out on weekends to cook with my children. One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday morning is to take my four children to our local farmers' market. The children will bite into just-picked apples while I purchase beets pulled from the ground that very morning — or maybe the ripest tomatoes or peppers. Then we pile in the car and return home to prepare a feast. We've been creating farm-to-table dinners before we even knew it was a trend!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Myth Busted: How Direct Mail Can Actually Enrich the Digital Customer Journey

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CustomerThink.com
E-commerce marketers are increasingly seeing the value of direct mail as part of their integrated mix and, in 2014, direct mail spending rose. Why this surprising trend?
Direct Mail Enriches the Customer Experience
Direct Mail Enriches Customer ExperiencePer ERDM VoC research; Mail has the unique dimension of 'shareability' that enables BtoB and BtoC buyers to easily share and discuss direct mail with business colleagues or family members as part of the decision making process. Per a representative quote from the research, "The mailer makes it easier to discuss the offer with business associates or family, versus merely forwarding an email or the bother of printing out an email or attachments".
Using direct mail as a part of a multi-faceted campaign gives recipients multiple opportunities to engage, but for the History Channel it also provided recipients a valued collectable.
Using direct mail as a part of a multi-faceted campaign gives recipients multiple opportunities to engage, but for the History Channel it also provided recipients a valued collectable.
In a unique BtoB campaign to promote the TV program, History Asia/Photo Faceoff on the History Channel, the company used a series of photo postcards which were delivered twice weekly to the media, clients and affiliates.
The campaign, which played up the notion of a picture truly speaks a thousand words, generated excitement not only for the show but also for the art. Each mailing featuring photos and a description of the series with a call-to-action to tune in to the premiere. The pieces were so well received that the network received requests for the photographic images.
The History Channel states that the campaign generated $1.2 million in PR value through professional interest in the series, social media mentions and requests for the actual art pieces.

Per a recent NY Times article, "For many brands, catalogs are the single most effective driver of online and in-store sales, according to analysts and retailers. Some stores, like Anthropologie, rely so heavily on catalogs that they make them their principal form of advertising. "We don't call it a catalog; we call it a journal," said Susy Korb, chief marketing officer of Anthropologie…"Of course we're trying to sell clothes and accessories, but it's more to inspire and engage."

Direct Mail as Part of the Purchase Journey
In a recent study by Econsultancy, 1/5th of respondents say an understanding of customer journey is a top cross-channel success factor. However, 57% say that they don't understand customer journeys, and can't adapt their marketing mix accordingly."
Online men's retailer Bonobos ran a small test to evaluate the impact of a print catalog on their traditionally e-based purchase journey. The results were so promising that the company tried several more tests. They found that online tools to attract new customers, like display ads and emails, often have just one image or text line, while a direct mail catalog can grab consumer attention with a fuller brand story.
Now, 20% of Bonobos' first-time customers are placing their orders after receiving a catalog. And, they spend 1.5 times as much as new
Direct Mail Helps Build Long-Term Brand Engagement and Loyalty
Homebase, an online UK home and gardening retailer had a problem. Most of their income was generated during the gardening season. Or, as they put it, their spring was every other retailers' Christmas. So the company decided to use direct mail to get potential high value gardening customers to shop early and spend more.
The campaign, which won a DMA Silver Award for the Best Use of Direct Mail, was called," 'Let's Get Gardening.' The 500,000 piece mail campaign motivated potential customers to go to the website with a value-driven piece which included ideas, hints, tips, tools, and checklists. Additionally, to make the mailer even more appealing, offers were valid throughout the season. There was also an online community for engaging with other gardening enthusiasts.
Results; customers visited the site 33% more often and spent, on average, 20% more. In addition, 27,594 customers completed a survey which Homebase now uses to communicate more personally with customers.
1. Per VoC research, consumers are saying that mail has to integrate with other media. It is therefore imperative that direct mail include your web address for online access as well as social media access. A sample quote from the research; "The first thing I do, if I'm looking to respond to a mailing, is look for a website to go to and do it online vs. mailing back my order. I hate mailing stuff back."
2. Understanding customer buying patterns allows you to synchronize mailings to the times they are most receptive. This is critical given the higher per piece cost of mail versus email.
3. Analyzing customer's lifetime value will enable you to develop personalized mailings for specific points in their customer journey, thus building loyalty and purchases throughout their lifecycle.
4. Use direct mail as part of a larger customer experience to increase brand excitement.
5. Use direct mail with "dated" coupons at specific times of the year or during special events, to stimulate purchases.
6. Have tight attribution metrics to track direct mail performance and it's impact on other elements of your media mix.
It's time for marketers to re-examine the role, relevance and ROI of direct mail within today's multichannel mix. Test direct mail at different points in the customer journey. Also test different mail package formats based impact and value, not just cost. When it comes to mail, don't just think about Expense. Consider Yield and Revenue.

Monday, March 2, 2015

3 Ways to Increase Customer Retention, Boost Profits

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CustomerThink.com
We all know that 20% of our existing customers generate 80% of profits. However, the customer retention efforts of many companies still leave a lot to be desired.
Human EngagementAccording to a report by the Harvard Business Review/Bain & Company, "increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%."

Additionally in a Retention Science study it was noted that:
Advanced customer lifecycle metrics are being adopted slowly with only 23% of marketers tracking the rate at which their customers churn, and under 40% tracking customer lifetime value.
70% believe that their retention marketing efforts are only average, poor, or need improvement.
So, what should companies do to improve customer retention? Here are three actions that can help:
1. Know Your Customers
According to the Email Marketing Census three quarters of companies (73%) carry out basic segmentation. However only 22% said that they currently implement 'advanced segmentation'.
It is essential that you adopt strategies to engage customers and prospects with communications that are relevant to their individual interests. It's time to move away from "mass personalization" (an oxymoron), to true personalization driven by the needs of individual customers.
Case in point; traditionally, the Kentucky Derby was marketing based on assumptions about their customers. They knew little about their email subscriber file, people's interests and what would make them want to engage.
To turn things around, they implemented a new strategy to learn more about their fans and cultivate engagement with the race and venue. The program included:
Identifying specific fan behaviors in order to develop three interest-driven databases for targeted communications.
Creating newsletters that contained content that would speak specifically to the three identified segment audiences.
Through call-to-action clicks, they were able to ascertain what part of the Derby experience was of importance.
Based on behaviors, consumers were constantly moved into more appropriate segments so they could receive more relevant communications.

As a result of these actions, the Kentucky Derby achieved an average read rate of 37.35%, an average clickthrough rate of 19.44%, and a reduced opt-out rate of 64%.
2. Develop Opportunities to Engage
When you make it a priority to understand what your customers want from your business and what is important to their personal or business lives, you can create authentic and powerful opportunities to engage with your brand and product.
UK fashion giant ASOS, voted the Awards for Excellence 2014 winner by the Marketing Society of the UK, developed a loyal following via retention marketing campaigns on Twitter and Facebook which generated excitement about the brand and cultivated a community experience.
The company used a social app to drive users to the website via a virtual "queue" which allowed users to gain access to digital sales previews. Points were gained by users engaging with the app and sharing their experience on their social media posts.
The app received 715,745 shares and was seen more than 1 million times, resulting a 32% increase in Facebook fans and 174,000 people joining the virtual queue. This resulted in an increase in traffic and conversions on the ASOS website.
The company is also very active on another social platform frequented by their target customers, Pinterest, where they generate an average 7,202 pins a week. In 2012 the company had 8,000 Pinterest followers; that number rose to 49,458 by December 2013; and quadrupled by 2014 to 220,784 followers.
3. Prioritize Personalization Strategies and Technology
A study published the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and Tealium, a marketing solutions provider, noted a strong link between improved marketing performance and a strong digital marketing technology plan. It determined that:
"…those with a formal strategy contribute more to overall revenue and value creation. 50 percent are able to achieve more targeted, efficient and relevant customer engagements, and 39 percent achieve greater return and accountability of marketing spend."
Gilt, a top internet retailer has invested in technology to deliver a high level of personalization and relevance that drives customer engagement and retention. Results from their efforts have included increased orders, decreased email and mobile push notification unsubscribe rates and higher repeat purchase rates.
When customers return to the company's home page they are presented with highly customized content based on that individual's past history. Variables that drive this level of personalization include previous browsing, purchasing, favorite brands and wish lists. Additionally, customers receive personalized "Your Personal Sale" offers. These feature the most relevant brands and products based on their shopping patterns and self-stated preferences. This allows Gilt to further refine their personalization algorithms.
Building on this success, Gilt recently took this approach to the next level with their Concierge Service, a high-touch and personal concierge program that captures customer's preferences at every touch point (phone, email, chat). Through this Concierge program, Gilt has achieved double-digit reactivation and a 10% + increase in additional orders from their best customers.
Increasing customer retention rates increases profits.
Not only will you keep the customers you have but they will be more likely to refer your business to others. As reported in Luxury Daily, 20% percent of luxury sales are generated by word-of-mouth.
Understand customer lifecycle metrics.
Marketers need to have a better understanding of their customer's journey - and why customers leave. You need to track the rate and reasons for customer churn, so you can better understand what is needed to increase retention.
Don't run your marketing based on assumptions.
Through the use of well defined and accurately generated data you can develop effective segmentation strategies that will allow you to target the exact audience that is receptive to your messaging.