Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dead Tree Media

We went home from work the other night in a storm (not a metaphor), there was actually a storm. The winds were raging, there was a Tornado warning on TVNZ's website for the shore and upon leaving the office, the Habitual Fix Street wobble board was sailing up the street and taking out everything in its path.

Upon arriving at the top of our driveway, I force open the drivers door to be greeted by 26 pieces of "dead tree media" in my letterbox, or to put it more accurately, 10 pieces in the letterbox, 16 peppered throughout the surrounding flora and fauna and now saturated and papier mached to my white concrete driveway. Now combine the 26 in our letterbox with the surrounding 5 letterboxes on our shared driveway and multiply that accordingly and we now have 130 crappy, poor quality flyers advertising (very effectively to my flowers, trees and driveway by now) retail giants like Briscoes, Noel Leemings, Farmers, Pascoes, Stevens, The Warehouse.

The bad news is my trees have no disposable income whatsoever, nor the need for a toaster, diamond ring or LED telly…the good news (yet to be received) would be for these retailers to become present in this modern time of realization of the rapid demise of our planet and cease this incredibly irresponsible behavior. I'd also ask, if Jim says on TVOne news that we are expecting 60k winds, if I can adapt my hairdo, why can the distributors of this largely unwanted scourge decrease or cancel the print run accordingly or if they must, deliver a day later.

It seems so unfair that we can unsubscribe from receiving email and have so much control over the media that is being presented to us now but have no control over the one that is the most annoying by far.

I'm off to buy a "No Circulars" sign for the dip-shit that delivers in my area to ignore…


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Am I boring you yet?

I'm sitting at my desk under duress this morning, a head cold that is woollying my ability to absorb information and oddly adjusting my balance and depth perception…if you are present in my inbox today and want my attention, you are truly in need of a miracle.

Daily, I wade through the massive din of content/blogs/forums in by inbox, hitting "right-click-delete" at the speed with which I am taking in header and subject lines, today everything is a little blurry my mood is showing definite indifference to the uninspiring job that marketers are doing to capture my attention. And then, wouldn't you know it…a miracle…

Social Media has Ruined Marketing, author Robert Fleming, CEO/President of the global eMarketing Assoc.

First of all I am old. How old, let's just say I remember a time when Beatles music was not played in elevators. Therefore I remember fondly the “old days”. So I get a bit nostalgic thinking back on time when there was really just newspapers, TV, radio and direct mail as key advertising elements (ok billboards too). It was a great time here are 5 reasons why.

  1. WE REALLY DIDN’T LISTEN TO CUSTOMERS - Ok we had focus groups, but we conducted a monolog with our customers. Not a dialog. Customers couldn’t moan and groan about our poor customer service, or faulty products to the whole world. We could crush small business with the strength of budgets, not the quality of service and products. WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT - Because now small business can compete on a more level playing field, and the strength of your marketing does not necessarily have to rest with the size of your budget.
  2. WE COULD USE EXPENSIVE COMPELLING CREATIVE FOR MAGAZINES, DIRECT MAIL AND OTHER MEDIA - Ok, there are still magazines and newspapers, but unless you have been living in a cave you have seen them get smaller and smaller. Direct mail is down substantially from a decade ago and the USPS will be bankrupt by December, without a government bailout. magazines are on iPads. Now we have text ads (little things), tiny banners, or 140 character tweets, social groups, fans and likes. WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT - Because now we have to get even more creative than ever, in the way we present our company, on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin (and other Internet media). We have a smaller canvas on the Internet and therefore must get much better with our brushes.
  3. WE COULD MEASURE - With Nielson, Arbitron, ABC, and so on we could get reliable numbers that had been proven for decades. Today we are bombarded with statistics, but how much is necessary to make marketing decisions. WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT - Now we need to reduce our metrics to actionable and relevant statistics, instead of just pouring over data dumps.
  4. WE COULD KEEP OUR JOBS - In the old days, in order to make your numbers and keep your job, all you had to do, is what you did before. With social media looming, and new technologies and devices appearing out of thin air, we do not have the historical data to ensure success. So we have to take chances. WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT - Because marketing is no longer "safe" - and the risks are higher than ever, but so are the rewards.
  5. WE COULD DRINK MARTINIS AT LUNCH - Doesn't seem like that’s being done much anymore. WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT - Because it was fun.

The headline was provocative and definitely developed with humour, however the responses did not reflect this at all. The post received a huge amount of attention, some people disputing the title, others correcting bad grammar, others offering praise for it's content and general pleasure in reading it, some found it humorous and others of a younger audience were delighted in the associated fear and resignation it implied.

The salient, although long winded point here, is that it generated response, a tremendous amount of two way conversation via Social channels and the device that triggered this response in this instance, was the subject header – Social Media has Ruined Marketing.

Some questions to ask when you are preparing your shareable content via any social channel -
  • How well planned are your header or subject lines or are they often cobbled together as an afterthought?
  • Are you invoking feedback or sales? How enticing or provocative is the header?
  • Do your brand values prohibit you from creativity when developing this component of your communication?
  • Are you doing any subject line testing or similar to test effectiveness?
  • Are you asking yourself when you read the header/subject line – Am I boring you yet?
If the answer is yes…


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Is your email marketing tool the right solution for your business?

After working in the email marketing industry (supplier side) for the past 8 years, I have noticed some interesting progressions and not surprisingly, some regressions.

I've had the good fortune to be involved in the industry from a global perspective over the past 18 months and believe that NZ needs some educating on what is now available. The breadth of email marketing deployment solutions now available to NZ businesses now surpasses anything of recent times.

As a nation, we tend to call the biggest agency representing our requirements, and book an appointment, this may be the result of a Google search, market representation, longevity in the space or a past relationship. All of these decision making processes are inclined to be innate, easy and possibly flawed.

I'd question, how often a Direct Communications Team/Marketing Team sit down and do a formal tender to market. Or, if there is a lack of internal resource, approach a consultant to prepare a needs analysis of a solution, develop an RFP and receive responses based upon actual business requirements.

I'd challenge all businesses with databases upwards of 30 to 40k to question whether the email channel is progressing and increasing in engagement levels or declining or ineffectual and static. To roughly assess whether or not your business may require some external assistance or added attention from within….
  • Do you have a 6-12 month email marketing plan of activity to work to?
  • Does this channel represent a fulfillment of allocated marketing budget OR actually deliver, following a clear brief that includes primary objectives, perhaps some database segmentation, some engaging creative and post campaign analysis?
  • Is your email channel integrated with any of your site analytics, whether that be GA or something more enhanced, such as Omniture or similar?
  • What does your email reporting suite tell you or what would you love it tell you?
  • Does the tool include an API for real time customer gratification?
  • Can you re-market easily to customers based upon their behavior within your site?
  • Are you doing any of the basics…at one stage, this was considered to be a load and blast campaign, this is now a birthday email or something more appreciative than your day to day campaigning?
The number 8 wire, hire locally owned and operated, blah blah blah is all well and good and I'm all for supporting local business when it makes sound commercial sense, however laziness and familiarity means that potentially many NZ businesses are not getting the best bang for their buck in this channel at all. In essence, they are compromising great tools and analytics for support or familiarity.

What this discussion could look like -
  • This channel has to deliver, we need assistance with email design or teaching our in-house designers to optimize the channel and coding,
  • As a business we need to be relevant and engaging so delivering dynamic content is not negotiable,
  • We need to be able to reward customers for just being customers so setting up automated emails in real time for Welcomes and birthdays etc will be necessary,
  • We need to track the sales process and perhaps re-market to people that have left the website without converting,
  • Due to our database set-up, we need an alternate solution than email address as the unique identifier, the tool we select will need to deliver on this as standard,
  • We'll need to be able to throttle sends, recently our website has been timing out with too many hits.
This would be a remarkably different list for a B2B email requirement, but you get the picture.

From carrying out the needs/gap analysis, your solution requirements may end up looking something more like this -

We need to hire a professional in the space to assist with needs/gap analysis
We definitely need help when preparing an RFP
Preferably, we'll review responses from NZ/Australian support (2-3 hours is no biggy in email delivery) and see 3 of the best
Whilst we are finding a solution, we'll research some email/digital design agency's – this may be managed internally but not being done well
Contract a supplier that has an email tool that ticks all the boxes
Carry out quarterly reviews to ensure the channel is evolving and maintaining engagement and performance levels.

If any of this resonates with you…contact us via our website, or email me on and we can continue the conversation.