5 New Year resolutions for marketers

Posted by on 31 Jan 2011 | Category: Hints & Tips, Industry Trends

January may now be over, but its still not too late to make New Years Resolutions for 2011. Here’s a great article from Direct Mag on “5 New Year resolutions for marketers” by Chris Gartlan.

Every year, marketers search for the next big thing that will make or break the success of their interactive marketing campaigns. A lot of buzzwords like “mobile” or “social” inevitably get thrown around but what does it really mean for marketers? Before you refresh marketing goals for 2011, here are five resolutions to consider.

1. Make data the foundation of your marketing


Collecting data has never been a problem as we know that it fuels our marketing programs and overall business decisions. But achieving visibility and usability is often another story. Many times information is stored in data warehouses and databases across the organisation and tedious exporting needs to be undertaken before being able to take any action. Simply put, many marketers are missing opportunities to engage with customers because their information and processes have become outdated before the customer engagement metrics are aggregated and sorted.

Making a change to the way you currently use click-through rates, online browsing history, shopping cart abandonment, previous purchase history, and other customer information starts with an assessment. Understanding what tools you have before you take action will pay off in the long run.

2. Use mobile to connect with customers


Mobile marketing is often overshadowed as social media and email marketing becomes more sophisticated. But as consumers rapidly begin to adopt smartphones, mobile marketing can no longer be viewed as a “silo” in a marketing campaign.

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to begin mobile marketing is SMS. Creating text-in voting programs, Q&A text response campaigns and mobile coupons for your target audience are simple tactics to engage customers. Developing content that is specifically designed for mobile phones is also important – perhaps you might even consider creating a mobile app for your company.

3. Market to customers as individuals


It’s all too easy to be swept away by the creativity of the advertising instead of its relevance. Prioritising customer service before sales is crucial and there are some innovative and simple ways to do this. One example is to listen and be a part of the conversations that are happening online about your company. There are many online monitoring tools available to easily do this and you’ll be surprised by the amount of insight you’ll receive from listening to you customers.

4. Make social media a real part of the marketing mix


For many, 2010 marked the year that social media became a reality instead of just a trend for marketers to watch out for. We know that in the past, customers who had a bad experience with your brand would share it with 5 of their different friends but today, a bad customer experience could lead to negative information about your brand posted to 500 Twitter followers.

One way to integrate social media into your campaigns is to do some social ‘soul searching’. Gather metrics about who is hitting the ‘like’ button on Facebook, who is re-tweeting and what content attracts more user engagement. Another simple tactic is to use social media to gather local data. Geolocation devices and apps such as Foursquare give you the opportunity to find out who is visiting your store and how often.

5. Engage in ‘smart’ automation


In any campaign, there are some jobs that are tedious and time-consuming but remain essential. At the same time, marketing budgets aren’t getting any bigger so marketers need to find ways to work smarter, not harder.

With so much data to manage, automation is a great way to make information usable. Marketers can engage in ‘smart’ automation tools that integrate new customer data and preferences such as tweets on Twitter or likes on Facebook into every communication that is sent out.

Each new year offers a blank slate and a new outlook to start the year off right. And while you may not stay as organised as you’d like or as in shape as you had hoped by mid-year, making resolutions to improve your interactive marketing program can be well worth the investment.

How NOT to Personalize a Document

Posted by on 10 Dec 2010 | Category: Hints & Tips

A great article by Heidi Tolliver-Nigro at The Digital Nirvana:

In a classic Seinfeld episode, the comedian joked, “There’s good naked and bad naked.” So it is with personalization. There’s good personalization and bad personalization.

The goal of personalized communication, whether it’s in print or email, is to create a message that is relevant to the recipient and engages the recipient in a relationship with the marketer. While some may think that more personalization is  better, that’s not always the case. You have to be careful what and how you personalize.

I got a personalized contact today that unnerved me out and made me want to immediately end my relationship with the sender. If it had been from a marketer rather than a potential client, I would have.

The sender is a someone who, as part of his ministry, is beginning to send out daily inspirational emails.

The first contact was a welcome email, addressing me by name. Nicely done. Although adding names to emails is easy these days, I appreciated the extra effort.

The next day, I received my first daily email, which could be accessed using an email link. Clearly, he was tracking responses. So far, so good.

The next day, I received my next daily email. I didn’t have time to read it, so I left it unopened.

Today, I received the daily email and gasped.

Dear, Heidi.

You haven’t read your last lesson so this is a reminder to login and read your latest lesson below.

Agh! Personalization gone amuck.

First, there had only been 24 hours between the initial email and the reminder. Then there was the issue of the wording. I am tracking you—watching you from afar—so I know you haven’t opened the email yet. You signed up to read these, Heidi, and since I’m monitoring you, I’ve noticed that you are slacking. Get on the stick, girl!

That may not be what he intended, but that’s what he wrote.

It drives home just how important it is to think through how, when, and why you (and your clients) contact customers and prospects with personalized information. How is this personalization being used? How will it be received by the target? Will it be welcomed as a relevant, helpful communication? Or will it make them feel invaded?

Remember that personalization, on its own, does little. Done wrong, it actually can be harmful. Personalization is simply a tool. Be careful how you use it.

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