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There are no secrets on the web...and everything is on the web.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have an app that let's everyone in the family know where everyone is, at all times and in all places. Parents would love it. Kids would hate it - especially the teenagers. And some spouses would never stand for it. This little marvel of an app could not only identify location but send timely and relevant messages to members of the family using location based data. Example, Joe stops at the gas station to fill up his car on the way home from work and instantly he gets a text message from his wife asking him to pick up a gallon of milk and bring it home.

Brands Set Rules to Manage Email Frequency

In the old days of direct marketing we called this recency, frequency and monetary value (RFM).  It is a highly useful technique and it's great that and others are applying it to frequency of email touch.  

The other method that is referenced we called, frequency momentum and again this is a highly useful technique but one that is rarely used.  It's too bad, because when frequency momentum is applied to "big data" it is exceptionally powerful.  Consider that mass x velocity = momentum and you begin to get the picture on what this one metric call tell us when dealing with "big data" customer files, transactional files, site traffic, etc.

Salesforce’s Reinvention As A Marketing Behemoth | TechCrunch

Worthwhile commentary and observations, but it's too positive.  The Pardot acquisition (a marketing automation platform) sits in the Saleforce "sales silo" and is not even included in their "marketing cloud."

In addition, Salesforce is moving upmarket with their pricing strategy.  One of the benefits of SaaS solutions or cloud solutions is that they can be consumed on a month-to-month basis.  Now this is not true of all SaaS solutions, but for those that are pursuing the SMB market, this is a big advantage.  Assuming what we are seeing is accurate across the board, Salesforce is migrating to an annual subscription process and away from the month-to-month options.  Makes complete sense for mid-size to large enterprises.  Also, makes sense from a cash management and receivables management perspective - but it is a move away from a customer friendly practice that is attractive to SMB companies.  Hence, it is a move up market.

London School of Marketing discusses the importance of conducting email marketing throughout the consumer lifecycle

It's refreshing to see the university crowd getting on-board with the idea of customer lifecycle marketing. Not that schools haven't previously been on-board, but the industry can use more marketing students coming out of school that have some concept of lifecycle marketing.

This is the 2nd article I have seen in recent weeks highlighting the usefulness of email marketing when applied to a defined customer lifecycle. Clearly this is not new to the marketing technology industry, but whenever 3rd party sources make the observation and emphasize the value of this typie of marketing, it is satisfying to those of us that have been practicing it for decades.

Publishers' Top Email Marketing Pain Points |MarketingProfs Article

This shouldn't be much of a surprise.  Magazine publishers have deep circulation expertise, which is a great direct marketing skill to have; but it does not translate directly into marketing automation, email marketing and dynamic content.  For this you really need to add to a deep technology skill set and strong process design capabilities.

How do I know?  I was Circulation Director for a BPA qualified magazine with over 200,000 paid subscribers, including newsstand distribution.

Publishers are in a great position to leverage the latest messaging platforms, but they will have to beef up on the technology skill sets withing their circulation departments.  And they will have to combine editorial direction with circulation skills in order to deliver relevant dynamic content to their readers.

Householding - is it a thing of the past?

Twenty-plus years ago when I started in direct marketing "householding" was a condition that every marketer with a database of any size had to deal with. For those that are too young to know what this is, let me explain:

Let's say you work for Sony and you want to market to Johnny Smith who lives at 123 Main Street, Toledo, Ohio. Johnny comes to a landing page, enters his name, address and email address into your nifty form and submits. He tells you he wants to receive email promotions and a catalog. Seems simple enough to interact with Johnny based on the information he provided.

Well, Johnny is 13 years old. His dad, Bob, who also lives at 123 Main Street, Toledo, Ohio is the guy who turned Johnny on to Sony in the first place is a little behind the times and prefers old fashion communications. He goes to Best Buy, purchases a new TV, goes to the web site where he fills out his warranty information (e.g. name and address) but does not provide an email address to the good people at Sony. However, he does check the opt-in box because he too wants to receive a catalog of Sony products.

So, Mr. Marketer, now you have two people, Johnny and Bob at the same address - both of whom have requested a print catalog.

But wait, let's add some more people to the house. Carol, the mom - also loves Sony, as does Jill, their 16 year daughter and Samantha, their 9 year old daughter. Each one somehow, finds their way to a Sony landing page, inputs name, address and sometimes email. At this point we have 5 people, all located at the same address, some of which like email communications and some of which like catalogs in their mail box.

Oh, what to do?

This is not a new problem for marketers. However, it is a new problem for digital marketing platforms.

You remember - those fabulous new interactive platforms that allow marketers to deliver one-to-one communications: ExactTarget, Responsys, Marketo, eTrigue, Eloqua, Constant Contact, etc.) Those wonderful marketing platforms that default to email as the be all and end all of individual communication.

Do you see the problem? I hope so.

Email is a wonderful device and communications enabler that allows one-to-one messaging. But, oh how it fails to identify relationships between individuals. Even relationships as personal and familiar as mom's and dad's, brothers and sisters living together in a house.

When an old school direct marketer thinks of marketing to a "household", the physical mailing address is a concrete unifying data element that allows the marketer to household individuals - or even others, like roommates living in an apartment. That physical address allows the marketer to create groups of people into families - without actually even knowing whether they are families or not. You see, it's fairly predictable to know that in a single family residence when Johnny, Bob, Carol, Jill and Samantha all request a catalog to the same physical address - and they all happen to have the same last name - the marketer can then decide whether or not to send 5 catalogs to this address or to send one. He/she also can make a reasonable deduction on whether they are related or have close familial like relationships.

Now what about the digital marketer? How can the digital marketer "household" or create family groups based on email address? How well do the email marketing platforms like ExactTarget, Responsys, Eloqua, ConstantContact or others provide tools that allow for householding? Pretty poor if you ask me.

It's a bit of a conundrum, wouldn't you say?

In fact, I would say it's may be easier to "household" in B2B environments today due to the presence of a company domain (e.g. than it is to household digitally for families in homes and their physical locations. Although, the bigger the company, the less likely that householding will identify individuals that are physically nearby or in close proximity to one another.

So, back to my question, is householding a thing of the past?

I don't think it is. Clearly it is different today in a digital world than when dealing only with physical mailing addresses. However, with social networks and the enormous amount of information that people voluntarily disclose and share online; with the impressive tools of "big data" and social listening platforms; with the constantly evolving loyalty programs, re-marketing tools and geo-location based applications that people install on their phones - householding is clearly available to digital marketers.

The challenge lies in integrating all that good data into your marketing platforms. Herein, lies the reason for the question: marketing platforms have isolated themselves into a position that relies too heavily on a single data attribute - the email address. The email address is wonderfully personal, but it too easily eliminates and isolates individuals from the natural relationships that are a normal part of life. In saying this I do not mean, it isolates the individual but rather it isolates and masks the natural relationships of life to the marketer that previously were so readily available through a physical address.

One-to-one marketing is wonderful. However, life consists of relationships and an over-dependence by marketers on singular, isolated data bits - will be to the detriment of the overall customer-company relationship.

Marketing vendors must do a much better job of expanding their ability to deliver relationship built data in order to make it easier for marketers to deliver on rich and fulfilling relationships between customer and company. The direct marketers of the past had inherent advantages that no longer exist. This may sound odd, given the shift to one-to-one marketing and the promise that this creates stronger relationships between customer and company. Unfortunately by devolving the marketing relationship down to a single email address that is without the physical context of families, neighbors, roommates and businesses, we have moved towards a more sterile marketing environment. This needs to be reversed and the fabric of our relationships must be brought back into the marketing experience.

How Bank of Montreal has achieved one-to-one customer engagement - CMO Australia

Excellent view on transitioning an organization to become focused on the customer.  If you get only one thing - get this point:  The customer-centric approach also triggered a reorganisation of marketing in the last six months from a focus on product, to customer acquisition and lifecycle management.  Great products are wonderful, but they needed to be delivered to serve the needs of customers.  Focusing on the customer is the answer.

Marketing Automation Is Driving More Money (and Accountability) for Marketers | ClickZ

As the author says - don't wait!  But do read between the lines.  Notice that she ever so slightly makes that case that you need to start with customer lifecycle use cases.

If you're going to start with customer lifecycle use cases, might I suggest, you need to have a defined customer model in place before you can create the use case that fits your customer model.  Even it's is rudimentary, define your customer model and build it up over time if necessary.

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