More Stories
If you're looking to buy - look closely at how suppression lists are handled.

I really like the idea that Subscribers Rule!  You know, that feel good strategy of "opt-in" only email, "double opt-in" and the like.

So here's a little gotcha to nip you in the back-end of your contract with marketing automation providers or any other messaging platform that lets you manage subscriber relationships.... but before I get to the details, let me tell you a story...

Many years ago, I learned it was equally as important to know who NOT to talk to as it was to know those you wanted to talk to.  You know, build up a fat suppression list so you eliminate those potential customers in the market that are bad for business.  This might include dead people (you laugh, put people die every day and it's important to have a good process for removing their names and contact details if you're marketing to consumers); bankrupt businesses; high credit risk consumers or companies; companies that are too small or in the wrong industry; companies that simply can't spend enough money to generate enough profit to make it worth your while.

I once worked for a company where we had 225,000 active 12 month buyers.  After a little deep analysis, we discovered that 200,000 of them were not the kind of companies we wanted as customers.  I spent the next 18 months getting rid of customers and building up a rather large suppression file.  As I recall our suppression list went from about 10,000 records to over 200,000. Kinda funny huh? :)  Well, annual revenue growth doubled from 25% to over 50% and net profit doubled as well.  Clearly there were other things at work besides simply building a big suppression list, but selling to the right customers was a significant step in the right direction.

So, what does this have to do with marketing automation?  Everything.  We just finished signing a contract with a marketing automation vendor and one of the questions asked, during the early stages of configuration and launch - pretty much as an afterthought was...btw, our suppression file is not included in the quantity of records defined in our contract, correct?  Uh, No.  That is not correct was the response.  Those "do not email" records are included in your allotment of records purchased.

So there you have it.  On one side, they say, "we want you to aggressively and proactively manage your email file so you only send to individuals that want to here from you - those that respond." However, don't expect us to do you any favors, if you get too aggressive and eliminate a large swath of contacts (e.g. 50,000 contacts as a suppression file) then you still have to pay us for those records - even though you won't be marketing to them... and we're going to charge you just like the "good names" that you do want to market to - those that respond.

Somebody in their pricing group missed on this one.  And just so we're clear, the picture above, courtesy of ExactTarget is not the brand in question.  It is however, the marketing automation platform they purchased - Pardot.

As for us and our client, we'll negotiate the limitation out of the way when it becomes a factor, but until then - if you're looking to buy, ask the question: how do you treat suppression files?  Can we load up your system and eliminate those individuals we don't want to talk to?  Or are you going to charge us for all that dead wood?

The Future of Marketing is the Customer Journey | ExactTarget Blog

Noteworthy announcements? Steps in the right direction.  Yes, but if you're a B2B marketer don't get your hopes up yet about the hype surrounding the "customer journey."

I sat through a webinar yesterday with ExactTarget and all examples used were for consumer products selling to individual consumers.  

The example companies noted in the press are Microsoft, Sony and SkyMall, each noted for consumer product lines.  Yes, they sell to businesses but that's not what is being touted with customer journeys.

For B2B marketers where are the B2B examples for the customer journey - starting with the definition of the customer.  Is it the purchasing agent, the VP of Sales or the IT Director?  Maybe it's the manufacturing plant, the HQ office or the outsourced call center?  You get the drift.  Mapping the customer journey falls apart quickly in the realm of B2B companies and multi-channel interactions if you define the customer as the company.  It simply isn't done very well - if at all - even though very powerful technology exists, and the theories of "big data" abound.

Don't get me wrong, we are fans of ExactTarget, but please make note: the customer journey examples are consumer focused, Pardot as the marketing automation platform of Salesforce isn't even in the marketing cloud - it's in the sales cloud and the company acts like they are still separate organizations.

In new realm of modern marketing and customer journeys it's really tough to sell the story when sales and marketing processes are separate and silo'd organizations.  The ExactTarget Marketing Cloud is developing nicely, but Salesforce needs to recognize that sales and marketing processes need to work together.  Their marketing cloud and sales cloud should too.

Bill Nussey Navigates Silverpop's Future With IBM

Nice opinion piece on the future of marketing and how some of it has been built on the past of email marketing.  It's the personalization of the marketing experience that absolutely correct - and of course that IBM has been chasing this vision for quite some time.

IBM was a large client of a company I worked for several years back and I had opportuntiy to engage deeply with leader across several divisions.  The two that stuck out most were Global Services and Software.  Both IGS (IBM Global Services) saw the marketing zone first, followed by the software division.  Now that both are "in the zone" and it's being led by Ginny at the top and the excitement around Watson, and cognitive computing, we are clearly in the early stages of what marketing, or 1 to 1 relationships will become - all through the advancements in technology.

Dark Mail will hide everything in your email

I'm not buying it.  There are no secrets on the web... and everything is on the web.  Like all software development, once it is invented, the next team or group of individuals will figure out a way to overcome the barriers it creates.  This is the natural march of progress.

However, I do like the idea that control of access is held by the individual instead of by the publisher or creator of the software.  This is fundamentally correct and places responsibility and accountability on the sender or recipient of the message.

Which to Choose for Great Online Marketing: ExactTarget or Pardot?

Pardon me while I chuckle about the early reference for "work at home mom's".  Neither of these products are geared for small, work at home mom's - unless of course the mom is a corporate marketing manager and runs company's digital marketing activities.

If in reality you are a small business, being run out of your home, go look at Constant Contact, InfusionSoft, HatchBuck or maybe even HubSpot.  But ExactTarget or Pardot?  No way.

The Lifecycle Marketing Butterfly Effect | MediaPost

This is a cute analogy but I think it misses the monumental impact of how the "butterfly effect" bridges into a defined customer lifecycle.  Let me illustrate:

Years ago, I worked for a company where 90% of first time buyers were "satisfied."  Sadly, only 10% of those same satisfied customers came back and made a 2nd purchase.  From a profitability perspective this was devastating on the over-all financial health of the company.

In another business in which I worked, in the international payments industry, it took 7 payments for a customers to become "converted."  Meaning, a new customer acquisition didn't actually happen until 7 transactions had occurred.  Once that 7th trade occurred, renewal / retention rates soared to greater than 90%.

In both of these example, the "butterfly effect" literally was a small thing, early in the customer lifecycle, but with monumental financial impacts down the road.  Without observing and knowing these key leverage points, the companies continued to pour big dollars into acquisition efforts within little profitable return on the investment.

The "butterfly effect" is a cute idea and I appreciate the authors clever way of bringing it to the forefront, but my advance is to translate it into hard tracking metrics in your own defined customer lifecycle.

More posts are loading...