Here’s one of the biggest trends for off-domain social initiatives that I’m tracking as I kick off a new overview of social tools for B2B marketers: Marketers like you no longer want just the perfect point solution for each new social marketing campaign; instead, they want integrated solutions and are starting to use larger software packages aimed at providing complete digital marketing solutions.
This is welcome news because successful social programs should be part of your comprehensive marketing plans; they can’t exist as their own island. Several years ago, B2B marketing organizations could run their social marketing initiatives in a silo, but today they must coordinate them with their lead origination and lead nurturing programs as well as with other awareness campaigns.
The three leaders in the most recent Forrester Wave™ evaluation of email marketing vendors reflect this change in their products; they all promote their social offerings front and center on their home pages, often with the same prominence as their traditional email offerings. Screenshots of each of those home pages are below.
ExactTarget expanded into social marketing beginning with its acquisition of CoTweet some time ago in March 2010.It now has a “Social Marketing Hub” as a part of its “Interactive Marketing Hub” — email marketing is just one of three product categories on its website, getting equal billing with both social and mobile marketing.
Email marketing is at an important crossroads because email is losing its appeal for consumers. Research shows that younger people in particular feel email is too formal. Forrester’s European Technographics® surveys show that consumers’ attitudes toward email marketing have only grown more critical over time. In 2007, 24% of European Internet users agreed that email was a good way to learn about new products, but only 12% agreed in 2010. And 54% of European online consumers state that they delete most promotional emails without reading them.
Are consumers deleting your promotional emails as well? Are you wondering what content and updates your customers value? You should just ask them! Surveys, social media, and offline anecdotes will give you insight into what email content, offers, and even style your users like. For instance, the BBC's GoodFood magazine asked its Facebook fans, "What theme would you like to see in today's newsletter?" and used the results to craft its email content.
ExactTarget filed an S-1 last Wednesday, November 23, the first step towards an initial public offering (IPO) by the end of March, 2012.1 The company grew substantially over the past several years and is tracking a 55% growth rate in 2011. ExactTarget now services about 4,600 direct clients and reports $148 million in revenue through September 30, 2011. Congratulations to Scott Dorsey and his team for guiding the company to this point.
How will ExactTarget's IPO benefit CI Pros? The IPO can:
Provide additional capital for research and development. The funds ExactTarget will raise through the IPO will help transform the company from an email service provider (ESP) into a full-fledged marketing technology platform. Increased R&D will allow the company to evolve through organic development and acquisitions. Both moves will help it to fill out its cross-channel campaign management and Customer Intelligence offerings. CI Professionals at mid-to-large enterprises should expect to see the company move more aggressively to offer enhanced enterprise marketing capabilities.
Enhance attractiveness to partners. ExactTarget's IMH has yet to catch on with heavy hitters in analytics, offline channel management, and marketing resource or operations management.2 The quarterly and annual disclosure requirements on ExactTarget could help clarify the company's plans to potential partners and assuage concerns about future competition. Stronger partnerships will lead to additional IMH applications for CI Pros.
By now, you've all heard about Epsilon's April 1 data breach — an unauthorized party accessed a subset of Epsilon's email clients' data. My colleague Dave Frankland outlines the circumstances of the incident and its implications on Customer Intelligence and data security in his blog post immediately following the incident.
I attended Epsilon's Customer Symposium in Naples, Fla., last week, and I wanted to pipe in with some commentary based on what was addressed directly by Epsilon at the event.
Marketers: The way I would look at this is "if a data breach can happen to Epsilon — a firm which specializes in data and data management — it can definitely happen to me." We learned from Bryan Sartin, director of investigative services, Verizon Business Security Solutions, and Mick Walsh, supervisor, Miami Electronic Crime Task Force, US Secret Service, that electronic crime is a huge and growing business, due in part to the ease of access to consumer information online and the ease of access to the data black market through online search engines. Three-quarters of cases of electronic crimes executed through malware come from data disclosed through Facebook.
I spoke last week at Interact 2011, a Responsys-sponsored event attended by about 600 of its current clients and prospects. The theme of this year's event was "The New School of Marketing," a framework Responsys has developed to help marketers better connect with empowered consumers. The fundamental principles of New School Marketing are that it is: permission-based, automated, cross-channel, and focused on engagement. See what Responsys thinks will change from current approaches to those that are part of New School Marketing:
I found the event to be extremely well produced (not just because it featured a fantastic performance by the iconic Cyndi Lauper -- see photos below) and full of some great marketer stories which I'd like to share in my next several posts.
Marketers must follow the FTC’s CAN-SPAM guidelines as they apply to transactional messages; however, transactional emails are frequently embedded with promotional content. We’ve found that retailers can, on average, generate an additional $2.9 million annually by including promotions in their transactional communications. When content gets mixed in together, we often hear clients asking: where is the line drawn between promotional and transactional messages?
While there is no silver bullet for determining the difference between each message type, there are some guidelines that can help you determine whether or not the message will be subject to the CAN-SPAM Act. The FTC places a great deal of weight on the subject line of a message, so if the subject line would lead the recipient to think it’s a transactional message, it’s a transactional message for CAN-SPAM purposes. Additionally, the content of the message matters. If the majority of the message is commercial, or the bulk of the transactional part of the message doesn’t appear at the beginning of the message, CAN-SPAM considers the message a commercial one.
Regardless of message type, there are a few best practices to keep in mind to comply with CAN-SPAM (and maintain a good sender reputation).
First of all, let me welcome you to Forrester's new blogging platform. Hopefully you'll find this blogging environment an easy way to access our blog-worthy ideas and community comments
Next, I wanted to officially announce (drum roll please) that I am back leading Forrester's email marketing research. Some of you may know that I did a lot of work in email marketing until 2007 when Julie Katz took the helm, joined subsequently by David Daniels following Forrester's acquisition of Jupiter. I'm excited to be back in the space and already have a stream of research underway.
First up is a piece on how the recession has affected consumer attitudes toward email marketing.
Then next quarter look for three pieces:
*One on the integration of email and social media
*Another updating our email marketing review methodology. See here for the older version.
*And then the third doing a best and worst of email marketing. This piece is also an update of some similar research we did here a few years ago.
What email marketing research would you like to see from us? I'd love to include your ideas in my research plan.
I met earlier this week with Constant Contact, the email service provider focused on the small (and I mean SMALL business market. . . half of their clients have fewer than 5 employees). They were in to talk about a new survey tool they've developed ListenUp!, the first product in a new marketing suite of SMB tools they are developing to complement their email capabilities. The survey tool looks good. . . a helpful solution for small marketers trying to conduct some market research, or gather some customer data to make segmentation possible.
But what really impressed me in my conversation with Constant Contact was their value system and how it has led to continued growth for them. Here it is: