Make Every Message Count with Multi-Touch Campaigns

People are receiving more email now than ever before. Personally, some days I can receive upwards of a hundred (or more) emails, and that’s just in my work inbox. And I’m sure I’m not alone. As a marketer, I know the value of email – but I also know there is no quicker way to turn off a customer or a prospect than by sending them too much email or email that is not relevant to them.

While some maintain that email is a ‘dead’ channel, the truth is that email is a critical component for any company’s demand generation strategy. But as important as email is, the answer is not to send more email, but to send ‘smarter’ email. Enhanced targeting and personalization are great ways to ensure you are getting more bang for your email buck. However, when it comes to communicating to your customers and prospects, can you do even more?

In today’s market, we are no longer limited to strictly using email to reach our audience – our communications channels now include dynamic content websites, social posts, SMS and more.

The key to maximizing the reach to your audience is not choosing one channel over the other, but to combine channels and create a truly integrated, multi-touch campaign.

Join Us

Please join us on July 25th for “Make Every Message Count: The Art of Blending Email, Push and SMS”.  We will discuss how you can create an automated, personalized approach to your marketing with our partner, Mautic. For those new to multi-touch campaigns, we’ll cover the basics. For more advanced marketers, you’ll walk away with tips to maximize the effectiveness of your existing programs and strategy.

You won’t want to miss this! Get the Recording for Make Every Message Count: The Art of Blending Email, Push and SMS.

-Stacey Goff Johnson
Senior Manager, Demand Generation

Make every message count

Headlining the last day of the Interact 2013 conference was the Sponsor Panel by ReturnPath, mBlox, and Liveclicker. While one might see few stragglers wandering in to attend morning sessions on the last day of other conferences, the Sponsor Panel was almost as well attended as the ISP Panel and yielded just as many insights.  Here are some of the highlights from the panel.

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Kent Ragen, Vice President, Channels, ReturnPath on Big Data

Kent observed that marketers were spending more on the content side and trying to expand data sources to make better decisions that would move email programs in the right direction. Increasingly, ReturnPath has been telling clients to send more to people who are engaged with the brand so as to maximize mindshare. The most effective marketers are using multi-channel and real-time data sets, as well as implementing well thought out streams that are based on buyer personas. In fact, there are thousands of successful and unsuccessful loyalty programs to look at and learn from. Kent also brought up the problem of phishing as a marketing problem that affects deliverability adversely. The solution? Team up with the IT team and ensure the DMARC standard is in place.

Stacy Adams, VP of Marketing, mBlox on Mobile & Push Messaging

Stacy observed that the issue with big data is siloed marketing organizations where different people own different parts of the puzzle. It is difficult to get all the data into backend systems for all the different departments to utilize, which is critical to get a complete picture of the mobile ecosystem in large brands.

Stacy suggested using email to get to people on a different device such as through a call-to-action to sign up for SMS alerts. SMS is the lowest common denominator as all phones can use SMS. Aside from one’s wallet, the most important personal item for most people is the phone. Only 56% of the population has smart phones at present – so for the other 44%, mobile messaging is exclusively about text messaging. Not surprisingly, there has been enormous growth in transactional notification through SMS. Additionally, consumers are very open to receiving SMS and push messages if the content is relevant and personalized. With push, the consumer has downloaded the app and indicated that they want push notifications ­– they are an opted-in user. It is rare for someone to delete an app because they receive too many push notifications. On the other hand, apps lacking push capabilities register far lower engagement rates than those that do. Ultimately, Stacy advised marketers not to give up on mobile if it does not work at first – just keep using the channel to see what works best.

Justin Foster, Co-founder of Liveclicker on Video in Email

Justin talked about how reducing friction between the content that people want to see and what they have to do to get it is important. Mobile devices do not allow videos to play automatically, and there are many buttons to press.

However, 30-40% more people watch videos if they are embedded, and this is something that can be achieved with the right tools and the right technique. Embedded videos play with a single tap. Shorter clips work better and the best video length is 23 seconds. Currently, there is a content production roadblock, and a need to provide enough relevant content. Marketers can engage with their database by providing advice on best practices with video, subject lines etc.

While the panelists each had specific areas of expertise which they spoke about at length during the panel discussions and debate, they all agreed on one point: responsive design is the next big thing.

sponsors
Message Systems would like to thank all our Interact 2013 sponsors!

What do we at Message Systems think the next big thing is? Why ensuring that you have a unified messaging platform in place for an effective and cost-efficient mobile engagement strategy of course! Find out more in our webinar, Your Mobile Customer Is Ready To Engage. Are You?

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August in New York City: this usually elicits a groan or two from either local residents or seasoned travelers alike, for this time of year it’s usually sweltering in the city.  2013 proved to be different though.  At least last week, for LeadsCon East, the weather cooperated with the summer showers of Tuesday giving way to perfect sunny, not-too-hot weather for Wednesday and Thursday.  So you could be forgiven if you missed a few sessions at the conference.  If you attended though, you would have experienced sessions with enthusiastic and passionate marketers eager to learn the next best thing in the world of leads.

Common themes at the sessions and on the floor of the exhibit hall were: volume, quality, and compliance.  Volumes are always welcome when talking leads, but companies now also need quality leads in order to compete. And the FTC seeking better consumer protection is forcing a huge clean up in many parts of the industry.  What was missing though was a conversation on what you did with these leads once you’ve acquired them.  So what’s the next best thing in the world of leads? How do you convert these leads into the revenue that drives your business?

We talked to a few attendees who came by the Message Systems booth and who didn’t expect a software vendor to be there, while others came by asking immediately “Do you sell leads, or are you a platform?”  It seems like those were the two categories of vendors exhibiting at the show.

Barry Abel at LeadsCon

But once we got the conversation going about who we are and what we do, you could see the “aha” moment in their eyes.  Of course we need to communicate with and engage these leads before we can convert them – and of course in this day and age, we need to engage with them digitally!

All in all, it was a good show.  The energy was positive: people were talking about the economy picking up, and unlike in previous shows, nowhere now could you hear the dreaded R word. And quite a few marketers got excited about the next best thing: getting to engage and convert their leads through effective two-way conversations across email, SMS/MMS, mobile push, and other digital channels.

Jose Santa Ana at LeadsCon

Want to find out more about email, SMS/MMS, mobile push? Download The New Communications Standard by Jose!

The New Communications Standard

The lines between what constitutes a CRM solution and what constitutes a marketing service provider (MSP) get blurrier all the time. Our client Infusionsoft is a great example of that. They’re known as an MSP, but CRM is a key component in their all-in-one offering that also combines email + social marketing and e-commerce features. Quite a few companies that come from the direct email and customer engagement world are doing innovative things with marketing automation by bringing CRM capabilities into the mix. But we haven’t seen many providers of conventional CRM software moving decisively into the customer engagement / direct marketing realm. But that might be changing.

Our recently launched Momentum for CRM is a something of a step in that direction, and how the solution got its start might tell us where things could be headed. Our team in Europe began working with a large manufacturer of mobile electronics last year to upgrade that company’s messaging capabilities. The primary marketing team was managing customer communications using a Siebel CRM implementation to handle email, and they worked with outside vendors to manage their SMS/MMS mobile campaigns. Of course, Siebel’s a powerful tool for engaging with large customer bases. But for our client, certain limitations in messaging capabilities – especially in timing sends for optimum response and volume limits – meant that campaign performance was consistently below expectations. Additionally, lack of integration between email and mobile, and control over the volume and cadence of outgoing SMS/MMS text messages, meant that marketing teams routinely exceeded their monthly budget for mobile operations, leading to out-of-control costs.

Our product team crafted a bundled solution that would enable the firm to address all of these challenges by facilitating greater message delivery capacity, timed delivery, email + mobile integration, and on-the-fly message development drawing on data sources outside the Siebel system. Integrating SMS/MMS messaging meant that marketers could manage mobile campaigns through Siebel now too, and limit outgoing messages to control spending. You can read a lot more about this project here (PDF). Essentially, the combination of powerful CRM and flexible cross-channel messaging turned the internal marketing department and its Seibel system into a full service, multi-channel MSP.

Might we start to see the big CRM providers take some cues from their MSP competitors and begin treating messaging as a first-class citizen in their product offerings? Salesforce, of course, is out in front here with its native outgoing mail capability and Chatter platform, which with its multi-channel messaging capabilities clearly has compelling uses for customer care and marketing beyond its core team collaboration use cases. Should other CRM vendors begin to take messaging capabilities more seriously? I’d argue that CRM vendors need to make greater messaging capabilities a priority, especially since messaging is more and more the main way the customer stays connected with the business in our smartphone and social media-dominated communications environment.

Think of the evolution of communications for customer support and how it is coalescing around the concepts of not too hot; not too cold — we want it just right. Aren’t we all becoming a little like Goldilocks in terms of how we like to receive support? It’s a subject that speaks directly to message channel choices. (more…)

Back in February Amazon Web Services caused some ripples in the messaging community when they announced the beta release of Simple Email Service (Amazon SES), which was proclaimed as a cheap bulk email-sending service for businesses and developers. (more…)