Don’t say we didn’t warn you – early bird pricing for Insight 2014, Message Systems user conference, will end this month. So if you haven’t yet purchased your ticket, now’s the time. And if you’ve already registered for Interact 2014, you might want to arrive a day early, because we have something smashing planned for you. No, not another guest appearance by a giant feathered friend like what happened last year, but something better: Pre-conference training sessions at no additional cost!

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Our gate crashing guest of honor at the welcome reception in 2013

Come November 11, Jeff Gorton, who heads up our training division, will be conducting a full day of training on the eve of Insight 2014. Jeff, who will also be speaking about Momentum 4: REST API Overview on the first day of Insight 2014, will offer the following courses:

Advanced Policy Scripting Design

Developing policy in Momentum using the Lua programming language is super powerful, but can become unruly as you add more functionality to the policy scripts. In this training session from 9am-12pm, Jeff will present and demonstrate the most efficient approach to designing your Lua policy scripts for current functionality but also as a framework for future functionality. This training session is open to all current Message Systems University (MSU) subscribers. To learn more about how your company can join MSU, please contact training@messagesystems.com.

Implementing Cross Channel Communications with Momentum

Momentum Mobile enables you to send and receive email, SMS/MMS text, push notifications and IM chat all from a single application server. From 1.30pm to 4.30pm, the Message Systems Training Team will present and demonstrate how to take advantage of this enterprise-class mobile middleware and cross-channel messaging platform. This session is open to all attendees.

Be sure to take advantage of our pre-conference training sessions taking place on the eve of Insight 2014. And after a fruitful day of learning, join us for our welcome reception where you can mingle with other attendees and enjoy some good company, and poolside food & drinks.

Remember, we have two awesome panels the following days that you’ll be sorry to miss:

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We’re getting pretty excited to meet all of you at Insight 2014 again, so act now and register today!

To learn more about Momentum’s mobile capabilities and cross-channel communications, check our white paper, The New Communications Standard

The New Communications Standard

Message Systems has unveiled Momentum Mobile, the newest addition to the Momentum product family, creating the world’s first proven, enterprise-class mobile middleware and cross-channel messaging platform. By centralizing all digital messaging channels on a single server or cluster, Momentum Mobile gives our clients the ability to do what no other mobile communications platform can: conduct secure, context-aware conversations with customers across email, text, chat and push notifications on all types of devices operating on a growing number of networks. With Momentum Mobile our clients can transform message content on the fly from one channel to another, orchestrate two-way customer dialogs in real time and have immediate access to cross-channel engagement data to drive personalization and new revenue offers. The full press release can be found here.

New and Updated Collateral

If you’d like to find out more about our new mobile offering and other products, we have more detailed product specifications in the brochures below:

Our Product Marketing Director, Jose Santa Ana will be hosting a webinar together with Vice President and Forrester Analyst, Julie Ask on mobile engagement. Come Nov 14, they’ll talk about Mobile Momentum and cover the following topics:

  • How mobile is changing the engagement model with customers.
  • Why, where and when mobile is effective, and what role messaging can play
  • Why highly visible front-end technologies should not overshadow back-end requirements
  • How to consolidate your email, SMS/MMS, and mobile push initiatives into a unified engagement strategy

If you’d like to find out more about how to put together an effective and cost-efficient mobile engagement strategy, do download The New Communications Standard white paper!

The New Communications Standard

Email Marketing News Digest

It can be hard to say “Goodbye” to your list subscribers, but it’s not necessarily forever. Take some time to make their exit a smooth one and you may well see them again. Aside from optimizing the unsubscribe process, we have a great line-up of articles this week including a new survey that reveals customer preferences for marketing channels, and best practice tips for email engagement and design.

It’s OK for subscribers to say “Goodbye”

It’s normal to lose 30% of your email list each year due to attrition and that’s perfectly fine. Here are some ways to optimize the process and maybe even keep subscribers from leaving:

  • Make it easy to find the unsubscribe button
  • Make sure that your unsubscribe page is branded for a good last impression
  • Send them to a preference center – sometimes all it takes to keep subscribers from leaving is adjusting the email frequency or personalizing their email experience.
  • Get feedback so you can improve the email experience for those who are still on the list.

New mobile consumer attitude survey shows surprising results

A survey for Millward Brown Digital shows that 68% of respondents found a text or push message valuable. In addition 59% prefer SMS and push campaigns over other forms of mobile marketing including video advertising, banner, standard display ads and even email. More than 50% indicated that a SMS or push message would persuade them to make a purchase over other forms of mobile marketing.

Which Email Practices Seem to be Working for Brands?

Return Path’s recent study seeks to discover which email engagement tactics are working better for brands and a summary of the results can be found below.

ReturnPath-Email-Tactics-and-Engagement-Outcomes-Sept20131

65% of B2B Buyers Concur Emails Shape Their View of a Company’s Brand

A recent report revealed that 65% of B2B buyers agreed that emails shape their view of a company. Here are some recommendations on how you can build your company’s brand image through email.

  • Have your emails come from a specific person instead of a generic email address to increase open rates.
  • Drop HTML for Rich Text to increase engagement rates.
  • Speak to customers in a personal tone and have a company personality.
  • Keep the call-to-action high on the page and helpful.

Email Design Best Practices In 2013 (Infographic)

Email-Newsletter-Design-Best-Practises-Infograph

This week I’ve been lucky enough to be in Seattle, WA, attending MozCon, the advanced SEO and inbound marketing conference hosted by Moz.com. While I expected to learn a lot about what’s new and exciting in the world of website optimization, I was struck by something else that I “knew”, but hadn’t really grasped the magnitude of at all: the whole world is suddenly multi-channel. And it happened overnight.

Roger looks at the Multi-Channel World before him

I know it sounds silly that I’m only realizing this now – we’ve been saying this at Message Systems for some time: consumer’s expectations about how we communicate with them have changed, and if you don’t stay ahead of their expectations you will be left behind.

But I was still looking at this future through email-colored glasses, and by the end of the first day of the conference I was struck by how pervasive mobile — with its text messages and apps — has become, and how it is changing the way we communicate with everyone. And its not just us US-based, early-adopters I’m talking about. The statistics on Internet and messaging access via mobile in emerging markets are staggering. For vast numbers of people around the world, mobile phones are the Internet.

Once that realization set in, it became clear that a lot of the important knowledge and best practices that I was gaining at this inbound marketing conference also applied to how businesses need to approach their communications as a whole:

  • Your customers, prospects and community will respond best when you engage them in meaningful two-way conversation that makes them feel appreciated and valued.
  • They are everywhere – and on every device – imaginable, and they expect to communicate with you easily, no matter where they are or what device they are using at that moment.
  • Marketers, community managers, client support teams, and everyone else who communicates with them need to ensure that they are providing consistent, quality content across all of those devices, optimized for each channel, interchangeably.

As a marketing professional, it will be no easy task, and I found myself madly scribbling to-do’s and lists of all the things we need to accomplish to keep up with this massive shift that’s already well underway. But I also find it fascinating, and even a little thrilling, to be in this industry at this time, and have a front-row seat to watch everything about the way companies do business with their customers change.

 Learn more about what marketing in a multi-channel really means when you download The New Communications Standard White Paper!

The New Communications Standard

Weekly Email Marketing News Digest

Mobile has been in the news a lot recently, and no wonder. Studies are repeatedly serving up evidence that mobile is changing the way we consume information – right from the moment we wake up. That impact has changed the way email marketers go about doing their jobs as well and will continue to inform further efforts at customer engagement and retention.

Google.com was the top visited mobile site last week

Experian Marketing Services launched a new mobile product last week to provide marketers with more data and insights to behavior on the mobile. For the week ending Feb 23, Google was the top visited mobile site with 17.27% of the market share in terms of mobile visits. Second in place was YouTube with 4.55% market share, followed by Facebook with 2.65%.

Hitwise Mobile: Website rankings among all sites

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Source: Experian Marketing Services

Are We ‘Pushing’ The Messaging Threshold?

Over the next three years, email accounts are predicted to grow to 4.2 billion from 3.1 billion. 75% of these accounts will belong to consumers, and although spam remains in the media spotlight, 75% of the emails received will still be legitimate. It is also predicted that email will continue to be the top activity on a mobile device. Given the surge in email accounts, usage and behavior, geo-targeting and push messaging present great opportunities for brands to engage with consumers, if used responsibly.

41% of email is now opened on mobile devices

The proportion of email that is opened on mobile is set to exceed emails opened on the desktop by the end of the year. In the second half of 2012, 41% of email was opened on mobile devices. Smartphones account for 29% of the figure and tablets, 12%. Among smartphones, iOS triumph over Android in terms of platform on which emails are opened – iPhones account for 22% compared to 6% on Android. iPads took up 11.4% of the 12.1% of emails opened on tablets.

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Tips for Real-World Marketing from SearchLove and LinkLove

The SEO experts at SEOmoz have compiled a list of tips from conferences they have attended and surprise surprise, there’s a section for the email marketing community! Here’s what the experts recommend:

Encourage people to reply to email marketing – Patrick McKenzie
Facebook retargeting to build advertising lists – Will Critchlow
Start your subject lines with “RE:” – Paul Madden
Send competitor’s email marketing to Evernote – Stephen Pavlovich

Do check out the full post for the entire list of actionable tips. They are a marketer’s dream covering a huge range of topics and touching on different specialties!

Email Mostly Mobile

Our partner ReturnPath’s latest mobile study shows that email open rates on mobile have gone up by 300% from October 2010 to 2012. If you haven’t optimized your email for mobile yet, the results suggest it’s time you do.

return-path-email-mostly-mobile

What tips for mobile and email marketing would you provide if you had your say? Tell us in the comments section! And if you need more insights into leveraging on mobile behavior, download our white paper on The New Communications Standard!

The New Communications Standard

 

No, credit cards aren’t going away any time soon, but consumers are finding it easier and easier to make credit card payments just using their phone. In May we first started hearing about Google Wallet, and I was a little surprised to learn that as of earlier this week one out of every four Starbucks card transactions was made using a mobile phone.

Granted, these are highly caffeinated, urban-dwelling go-getter types, but if that many would rather use their phones than little pieces of plastic, it’s a good indication of people’s readiness for mobile payment. And clearly the card companies, like MasterCard and Visa, are playing along.

How it Works
A clear standard for m-payments is yet to emerge, and currently there are a number of different flavors of m-payment, including the following:

  • A consumer sends a unique identifier code to a merchant’s short code over SMS, and after the consumer’s identity is confirmed, the vendor sends a receipt of payment back over SMS.
  • A consumer initiates a transaction at a website using a home computer or public kiosk at a retail location, and to complete the transaction, the merchant sends a one-time password to the consumer’s phone over SMS. The consumer can be billed through the mobile operator.
  • Using a Near Field Communication (NFC)-equipped phone, a consumer contacts the merchant’s NFC tag on a poster or store to initiate a transaction.
  • A consumer downloads an app from a merchant, and the consumer uses that app to make purchases against a pre-established account with the merchant.

The latter method is exactly how the Starbucks mobile-payment system works, and it’s a win-win: Consumers find it easy to pay and manage their Starbucks accounts (No more guessing how much they have on their cards) and Starbucks doesn’t have to manufacture as many cards or dedicate cashier time to reading card value.

However this shakes out, it’s likely that consumers will soon be looking to do business with companies that, as an added convenience, will let them pay by phone.

Ready or Not, Here They Come!
So, retailers, are you ready to receive mobile payments? You don’t have to be ready for this holiday season, but you’ll probably have to be ready for the next one. And what does it really mean to be ready?

It means you’ll need to be ready to send mobile receipts, and also be able to handle the mobile queries that come up. And if you really want to go the extra mile, it also means you’ll be able to respect each customer’s messaging preferences, sending receipts or other communications over email, and then switching back to mobile just while they’re traveling, for example.

It sounds complex, but it’s not; you know where to find us, if you ever want to talk about it!