SurveyMonkey is the world’s leading provider of web-based survey solutions, trusted by millions of companies, organizations and individuals alike to gather the insights they need to make more informed decisions. When we were putting together our A Day in the Life infographic, they were one of the first Message Systems customers we decided we wanted to feature because we’re big SurveyMonkey fans here. In fact, we’ve used SurveyMonkey repeatedly to do market research on trends in email marketing and mobile messaging.

Way back in 2011 we used SurveyMonkey to ask consumers who were actively engaged in digital message-based interactions with businesses online how they were using their smartphones and the various message channels. We collected all the most interesting findings from that study in our Survey of Consumer Messaging Preferences paper. It’s fascinating to look back at some of the numbers we turned up at the time.

For instance, we found that 25% of smartphone owners using their phone rather than a desktop computer to go online. Seemed like a “wow” stat at the time, but it was really just a harbinger of things to come. More recent research finds that 60% of smartphone owners surf the web on their phones now, and as much as 65% of all email gets opened first on a mobile device. That first study also found that younger consumers were more likely than older consumers to use IM to communicate with companies they do business with on a regular basis, by a rate of 72% to 7%.

The second study we did using SurveyMonkey resulted in our Marketing Channel and Engagement Benchmark Study paper. That one was a survey of our customer base and the wider email marketing community, and was more focused on what was happening with email trends and metrics, especially email deliverability and marketer spend on cross-channel marketing. We were keying off a study, current at the time, by the Direct Marketing Association finding that ROI for email marketing dropping by 25 percent over a five-year period. Message Systems customers didn’t seem to be affected by that trend, however, with 70% reporting their ROI for email had trended upward over the same time period.

Marketing Channels In Order of Popularity
Marketing Channels In Order of Popularity

We also got some interesting data on channel spend, with the vast majority – 97% of respondents – reporting that they spent on email marketing, and uncovered pretty healthy mobile marketing numbers too, with 16% reporting that they were using SMS text marketing.

In both these cases SurveyMonkey made it really easy for us as a marketing organization to get some valuable insights into our target market, and also build out some engaging content to drive media interest, demonstrate thought leadership and use in our lead generation efforts.

Thanks to our friends at SurveyMonkey for being a valued Message Systems customer, and such a helpful resource for our own marketing efforts too!

Looking to get started on a mobile marketing campaign? Forrester’s VP & Principal Analyst, Julie Ask presents a 4-step plan for engaging with customers on mobile in the Go-to Guide for Mobile Engagement webinar!

Go2Guide-Webinar_BlogPostAd_040114

 

We’re heading to Customer Engagement Technology World (CETW) in New York on Nov 6-7! And you can join us with a complimentary pass if you register with Message Systems VIP code CEX028!

Customer Engagement Technology World is focused on leveraging technology solutions that enable richer engagement and enhanced experiences for customers and employees.

It’s a place where you can learn to better optimize your campaigns, channels and systems for more effective customer engagement.

It’s also a place where you can ‘Say Hi!’ to us at Booth 505. We’ll be sharing our knowledge on how to engage your customers on their terms by:

  • Communicating via email, SMS, push, and chat
  • Sharing two-way mobile and cross-channel communication
  • Sending timely, relevant and personalized messages 
  • Getting enhanced visibility into messaging metrics

And after stopping by our booth remember to check out the following sessions where we’ll be speaking!

A Multi-Channel Communication Plan: CRITICAL to Boost Your Customer Engagement

Date: November 6
Time: 12:45pm – 1.45pm
Venue: Room 2

Session Chair: Barry Abel, Senior VP, Sales, Message Systems
Speaker: Mark Griswold, Vice President & CIO, The Blue Book Building & Construction Network

Session Description:

Developing a fully integrated digital communication strategy will result in more effective customer engagement. However, few companies are equipped with the necessary knowledge and resources to implement a strategy that caters to the digital communication needs of its customers, who maintain 8-12 digital channels on average. In today’s tech-savvy world, it is crucial that companies learn how to communicate with their customers across multiple channels including email, SMS text, IM, and social messaging. This session discusses strategies and best practices for multi-channel customer communication.

While the session on a multi-channel communication plan is only open to conference attendees, we’ll also be speaking at the following session that is open to all attendees.

How To Drive Engagement By Combining Email With Mobile Messaging

Date: November 7
Time: 11.15am – 11.45pm
Venue: Learning Lounge

Speaker: Jose Santa Ana, Director of Product Marketing, Message Systems

Session Description:

It’s clear that both email and mobile messaging are indispensable tools in the marketer’s arsenal. The true value in utilizing these channels are derived however, not when these are used separately, but when used in tandem with each other — in targeted, coordinated cross-channel campaigns. Organizations can recognize significant business value by utilizing a single message management platform to support all types of digital messaging (email, text, push, IM, social, etc.). Unifying these cross-channel messages under one program makes the program more effective. Attend this session and understand how a unified platform facilitates the delivery of contextually relevant and timely messages that enhance the customer experience — to drive higher loyalty, engagement and profitability.



As you can see, there are plenty of ways to engage with us at Customer Engagement Technology World and we’re happy to do it on your terms. So see you in New York and ‘Say Hi’ to us!

Learn more about what it means to combine email with mobile messaging for more effective campaign results with The New Communications Standard white paper!

The New Communications Standard

Entertainment sites and showbiz blogs nowadays provide episode recaps of popular TV shows soon after they air. Reading these recaps allow you to catch up on the main plot lines of episodes you might have missed but have no time for watching, as the next newer episode is already about to air. While over a hundred attendees were fortunate enough to attend Interact 2013 in San Diego a couple of weeks ago, many were not able to go. So for those of you who missed that “episode”, we present the recap of Interact 2013’s Welcome Keynote!

Episode Aired: Oct 8, 2013             Setting: Paradise Point Resort and Spa

Tuesday morning in San Diego dawned bright and sunny. After the fun poolside cocktail reception the night before, a few might have staggered into the opening keynote session in recovery mode; but all were eager to get Interact 2013 off and running.

George kicked off the session welcoming all attendees and giving an overview of what was in store for the next couple of days: what to expect from the tracks, the content and speakers, the ISP panel, the tech lounge, and the various social and networking opportunities for attendees.

George Interact keynote

Scene 1 – Proliferation of Networks & Device Explosion

Steve took the stage to cover the future of digital messaging, talking about four forces that are shaping this future. First was the proliferation of so many different networks. When sending a message, the sender has to deal with all the different networks today: from ISPs, to carrier/telcos, to mobile push networks like APNS and GCN (Apple and Google). And on the horizon are even more networks like the OTT (over the top) apps that include Whatsapp and Samsung ch@t, Google voice, social networks, and mobile IM. The second force to consider was device explosion: we all know the enormous variety of devices out there, from smartphones, to tablets and e-readers, to smart TVs and wearable devices.

device preferences throughout the day

Scene 2: Increasing Engagement Volumes Through Cross-Channel

The third force shaping digital messaging is the incredible volume of messages being sent – and the rapid growth rate. Some stats mentioned include 7 trillion emails, 2 trillion push notifications to APNS alone, and system generated messages overtaking the number of person-to-person messages in 2014. Lastly, cross-channel is here today: In a recent survey, 39% of respondents cross-channel shopped for credit card, 50% of mortgages closed through cross-channels. But siloed systems to support these cross channel interactions mean longer development cycles, higher cost of maintenance, slower adoption, and loss of customers to competitors who offer a better experience.

These four forces shaping digital messaging today and into the future translate to incredible complexity for companies trying to engage with their customers digitally.

Steve Interact Keynote

Scene 3: The Roadmap For The Future

Next up was Alec, who highlighted what Message Systems is doing today and in the product roadmap to help alleviate companies’ pains in dealing with all these complexities. He first showed the architecture of the Message Systems Digital Messaging Platform, then talked about how we’ve improved the platform’s architecture to take advantage of multi-core systems, to improve performance dramatically, while at the same time reducing latency and hardware requirements.

Alec Interact Keynote

Finally, Dain took over to talk about digital messaging on a global scale: how our international footprint is helping shape the future direction of our offerings to our clients. He cited an example, saying that the Message Systems code written to support DMARC was inspired by the global user community. He also noted that service providers worldwide are looking to see how they can leverage and provide value-added services to their customers – specifically in mobile.

And with that, Dain again thanked attendees for coming and closed the keynote session.

Dain Interact Keynote

Roll end credits:

George = George Schlossnagle, CEO, Message Systems
Steve = Steve Dille, SVP of Marketing, Message Systems
Alec = Alec Peterson, CTO, Message Systems
Dain = Dain McCracken, SVP of International Sales, Message Systems

Get ready for a world that’s shaped by the four forces in digital messaging – watch the cross-channel banking webinar!

Cross Channel Banking Webinar

Email Marketing News Digest

The latest Google Analytics and Adwords updates have a focus on multi-channel attribution and providing marketers with better clarity on what’s driving conversions. These features and the increasing emphasis on both cross-channel and multi-channel marketing strategies highlight the increasing complexity of getting the attention of customers.

The Key to the Inbox is Subscriber Love

The key to the inbox? Strong permissions and relevant emails. ISPs measure user feedback based on how many people are hitting the “this is spam” or “this is not spam” button. Here are four factors to examine when trying to determine why you are not making it into the inbox:

  • Permissions
  • Relevancy
  • Frequency
  • Behavioral Targeting

Of course if you want to hear directly from the ISPs themselves and pepper them with questions, there’s always our all star ISP panel at Interact 2013 – The Digital Messaging Industry Conference. If you have a burning question on deliverability in your mind, register today!

Email design change driving a 61% click increase

Or is it? The DMA recently tested two different email designs in a split test and found that the skinny design had 61% more clicks. But wait – there’s more to the story. While on the surface the mobile optimized version seemed like a clear winner, it seemed that the copy and call-to-action from one particular link was driving the increase since the copy was not standardized between the 2 versions. In a second test where the copy was the same, there was no discernable click rate response difference.

Email Split Testing

Boom Times Still On for Emailers

Experian’s Quarterly Email Benchmark Study shows that email volume in the seond quarter was 17.9% greater than in Q2 2012. Unique open rates rose 7.2%, while unique click rates declined slightly by 0.2%. People who opened only on their mobile device averaged 10 cents per transaction while those that opened on mobile with another device averaged $1.28 per transaction. The results of the study present much food for thought when it comes to multichannel attribution. In the words of Bill Tancer, GM of global research at Experian Marketing Services,

“The path to the consumer is getting increasingly complex… We’re just now at the tip of the iceberg in knowing how to get from the initial contact to the end of the transaction.”

4 Easy Questions: Understanding Engagement to Survive and Thrive in Email and Beyond

How do you define engagement? A one-off spike from a seasonal campaign or ongoing long term interaction from subscribers? Margaret Farmakis from Return Path says it should be the latter. Here are four important questions to ask when evaluating how engagement applies to your email program:

  1. How do you define engagement? Goals need to be clearly stated and the difference between an engaged and disengaged subscriber should be clear.
  2. How do you measure engagement? Define metrics such as those from social, user-generated feedback and those from surveys as well.
  3. How do your engagement metrics compare with the competition?
  4. What is your strategy for improving engagement?

Email: Wanted Dead or Alive [Infographic]

Email Wanted Dead or Alive

Find out more about cross-channel banking and how to make shifting customer behavior work for your bank in our webinar!

Cross Channel Banking Webinar

This past weekend marked the unofficial end of summer here in the US. Yesterday was labor day, and for most people that meant it was a three-day weekend. That typically translates to outdoor activities like grilling hotdogs and burgers, fishing, and spending good times with friends and family. This also means you can no longer wear white in some circles, and the dreaded back-to-school feeling for the lucky ones who start their school year later than others.

For us here in the San Francisco bay area, the big “event” was the 5-day closure of the San Francisco-Oakland bay bridge. This long overdue 10-year, 6.4 billion dollar project was to replace the old bay bridge that was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The replacement span is designed to withstand the strongest earthquake estimated by seismologists to occur at the site over a 1,500-year period.

The old bridge was closed over the long weekend to allow crews to finish connecting the new bridge and getting it online. Scheduled to open at 5 am Tuesday morning, pictures of the first people crossing the new span already started showing up on social media around 10 pm Monday night. And it’s a pretty good-looking bridge.

bridge1

 

bridge2

Speaking of bridges, Message Systems today also released a fun new video showing how we can help you bridge the gap between you and your customers more easily, across multiple channels, more effectively. (See what I did there?)

You can check it out below. Enjoy!

What is multi-channel? How about cross-channel? Marketers themselves seem confused according to this article by Mediapost. It’s been defined as “data-enabled targeting”, linked to “behavior” and “customer lifecycle”. We’re going to throw our hat in the ring, with CEO George Schlossnagle’s detailed definitions on multi-channel and cross-channel, in articles featured on Mashable.

Email marketers looking to go cross-channel: Start by listening

Experian provides some advice for marketers nervous about dipping their toe into cross-channel marketing. Begin cross-channel listening first, then use that data to optimize email campaigns based on how customers choose to engage with the brand.

Got Questions For Brands on Twitter? Expect A Response 38% of the Time

If you are providing customer service through multi-channels, what do customers expect in terms of response time? This study by Steven Van Belleghem, in association with SSI and No Problem has the answer.

VanBelleghem-Customer-Service-Response-Times-by-Channel-June2013

Compare this with an earlier Socialbakers study and we see the disconnect.

  • Brands only answered 38% of questions posed to their Twitter account after an average lag time of 6.5 hours.
  • Brands were more responsive on Facebook, answering 60% of question posted there, but took almost an entire day.

Email Should Not Be a Lost Channel: Messaging To The Purse

In the rush to adopt cross-channel marketing, email should not be forgotten. Here are a few tips to optimize your email campaigns.

  • Use data to drive testing
  • Use a control group and segment customers when testing new strategies
  • Make sure you are using marketing automation effectively
  • Ensure a seamless transition from email to website by ensuring that the landing page content corresponds to the email offer

Four key cross-channel marketing challenges from Digital Cream

Here are four key challenges marketers face in cross-channel marketing:

  • Data analysis and attribution is a challenge in integrated cross-channel marketing
  • Disparate systems are major technological barriers
  • Diverse customer databases means that customer segmentation is a problem
  • Organisational hierarchies can prove a barrier to cross-channel marketing

And here are some stats from Google on how multichannel journeys begin and progress.

google-multichannel-blog-full

Infographic: How Email Integrates Multi-Channel Marketing

Multi-Channel-Marketing-Infographic-640x3855

Find out more about The New Communications Standard – drive engagement by combining email with mobile messaging!

The New Communications Standard

Aside from some good old-fashioned planning, it’s important to keep in mind the following when coming up with a multi-channel strategy that underscores customer support and engagement.

1. Put into place a technological messaging infrastructure that can scale on demand to handle high volumes of traffic.

2. Ensure multichannel capability and make sure your choice platform is able to manage customer communications across different channels, be it email, mobile or social.

3. Demand visibility through real-time analytics to pinpoint issues where customer service suffers a breakdown.

Ed Weber from US Airways talks about how having such detailed technical insight helped in troubleshooting problems customers face.

Cross-Channel versus Multi-Channel Communication

But why stop at multi-channel? Think about a cross-channel strategy instead where you make the customer the center of your world. Instead of blasting messages at them from a variety of platforms, track their behavior across differing channels and create a seamless brand experience – by offering them the right messages at the right time. Here’s an example of a message I received from Facebook upon the input of a wrong password – something I fear I am constantly guilty of.

FB_trouble_logging_in

When customers are stuck or at loss, you need to be able to have cross-channel systems in place to provide them with next steps at the right time. For example, what if they are trying to log in to their online bank account and have typed the wrong password?

Go one step further when you allow customers to respond directly to your original reminder email through a different channel – such as text. Dynamic transformation of messages from one channel to the next opens up a gateway of possibilities for customers to engage with you on their terms.

When you are able to step in and guide customers along by putting into place a cross-channel strategy, you’ll leave customers with a positive and lasting impression of your business.

Want to find out how to implement a multi-channel strategy to drive customer engagement? Download a copy of The New Communications Standard white paper!

The New Communications Standard

Weekly Email Marketing News Digest

This week’s email marketing series has a Valentine’s Day slant as marketers sift through emails to find out what’s trending in the season where love is in the air. They tell you what they’re in love with… or not.

From Bad First Date to Love: How ProFlowers’ Valentine’s Day Emails Won Me Over

Real life examples are often far more compelling than theoretical talk. Here’s the story of how ProFlowers first got personalization wrong… before they got it right. As they say, practice makes perfect! Here’s the version that got the thumbs up:

valentines-day-promo

Love May Be in the Air, But It’s Not in the Inbox

There’s a little less love in the inbox this year as compared to last. On Feb 5 2013, there were only 11% Valentine’s Day themed emails. Last year on the same day it was 14%. On Feb 9, where you’d expect retailers to be ramping up their activities, the percentage fell further from 13% last year to 6% this year.

valentines-day-email-chart

What’s increasing this year is the percentage of heart symbols used in email subject lines. On Feb 8, 8% of emails were using this tactic as compared to none last year.

Unsurprisingly, the words “free”, “shipping” and “save” were the three most used words in emails during the last few weeks.

UK DMers Advance New Engagement Metric

Will the open/reach metric be the next big thing in email marketing?

If a group of UK DMA (Direct Marketing Association) members have their way, that metric could become the reality for many emarketers.

The open/reach metric is defined as the number of people who have opened a marketer’s email at least once over a given period of time, from a quarter to a year, depending on the frequency of mailings.

Engagement is currently measured by open, clicks and conversions. The need to drive these metrics have led to marketers trimming their lists when it comes to ‘inactive’ subscribers – perhaps needlessly some claim. While this group of subscribers does not click frequently on mailings, they may well respond sporadically.

Do you remember us?

Our client, Dennis Dayman from Eloqua shares his experience with what he first thought was spam mail. It turned out to be a welcome email practicing one of the tenets of email marketing best practices – The Unsubscribe Option.

valentines-day-notification

Drive Frequency. Drive Subscribers. Drive Marketing

“Anyone without an email address is the digital equivalent of a homeless person.” – Dela Quist, Founder & CEO, Alchemy Worx

Quist’s advice to the audience at the Email Evolution Conference was to organically grow email databases and amplify email frequency. Increasing the frequency of email is something that lies in the grey area as emarketers often fear being labelled a spammer.

Quist urges emarketers to give consumers a chance to get around to opening emails. How so? By giving them more opportunities to open emails with more emails. According to Quist, email frequency can drive engagement between a brand and customers. It also links email to other channels. However, it’s a good idea to understand consumer behavior on those channels before embarking on a cross-channel strategy to optimize the impact of the email.

And there you have it, The Valentine’s Day edition!