HostingCon: Engagement Marketing – Email, Social & Mobile Media

Another interesting session I attended at the HostingCon was by Joel Book (with ExactTarget) called “Engagement Marketing: Email, Social & Mobile Media”

He started the session with a very interesting statement “Marketing is 24×7 Conversation.. Are you equipped to fuel that conversation?”

Ladies and Gentlemen, apparently we are in the middle of Marketing Revolution and the sooner we embrace this fact and understand the new rules of customer engagement the more successful we will become.

According to the research called “Marketing Budgets 2010: Effectiveness, Measurement & Allocation” ExactTarget performed – Marketers are increasing spending on Mobile, Email, Search and Social Marketing:
28% of marketers are shifting budgets to digital channels
54% plan to increase budgets for email marketing
66% plan to increase investments in social media
56% plan to increase investments in mobile marketing
64% of companies plan to increase budgets in SEO
51% plan to increase budgets for paid search

Joel identified the following Big Three (called it “the new triangle of offense”)

  1. email marketing (no it’s not dieing out, rather transforming)
  2. social media
  3. mobile marketing

Email is still the Backbone of Customer Engagement.
Once a person gives you permission.. Email aids the buying process… Email drives repeated usage… Email keeps the customers  connected to the brand.

The Customer Life Cycle:

Business Getting = Interest + Evaluation + Purchase
Business Keeping = Usage + Re-purchase + Loyalty

In 2009 more then 50% customers made a purchase due to email (ExactEmail X-factors 2010)
In 2009 82% of top marketers said email was their channel of choice  for retention (research by Winterberry Group)

To backup his suggestions Joel presented few “Business Cases” where companies took full advantage of Email, Social & Mobile Media to drive their sales. Here are some examples of engagement strategies, channels and companies:

Email + CRM – It’s all about Customer Education
The newsletters the company “Scotts Lawn Care” sends to their clients is all about commitment of delivering content that teaches consumers what to do and how to take a full advantage of their products. They however do not mass email, rather send newsletters based on the interests of their clients.

Email + Analytics – Behavior triggered offers
Strategy: behavioral modeling –  promotes next best offer based on past purchases made

The company called “Johnston & Murphy” drives quicker re-purchase with personalized offer. They maintain a database that focuses on the age groups of their clients and their products of interest (based on the purchases they already made)

SkyMallwas used as another example. This company is one of the most proactive out there. You see the  biggest problem in sales is people that abandoned the check out process right before making the final step (apparently 70% of customers do so). The SkyMall came up with an interesting resolution – they have the series of 3 emails sent to those clients that didn’t complete the check-out process with a goal to re-engage and convince to complete the purchase. The process is completely automated and guess what it accounts towards 30% of SkyMalls yearly revenues!!! This is the money they would be simply loosing…

Email + Social Media – Fueling the Conversation
The Hosting Companies that want to stay in business and be successful need to get on the “Social Media wagon” asap. Here is why:

Face Book – 500M active users
Twitter – 190M active users
Linked in – 70M active users

75% of social media users say that email is the best way to communicate with them
50% of all content shared on the internet is shared using email (Tim Scigel, CEO, Share this)

The very first step for companies to take is incorporation of “Social sharing” into all of their customer-facing emails. The company “Dream Fields Pasta” almost went out of business three years ago, but through their “Email+Social Media” efforts they are now the most successful brand of pasta out there. Not a lot of people heard of them because they are all about engaging their specific target market. The product is 100% organic, so they made it their mission through the site design/content,  SEO  efforts ans Social Sharing to work with their “groups of interest”

Email + Social – Fueling the conversation with Twitter
Apparently out of all the companies out there  “Whole Foods” Leverages Twitter the most:

  • 1,750,000 Followers on @wholefoods using CoTweet
  • 294 stores on Twitter
  • Tweets promote the store events and invite customers to opt-in to WholeFoods’ email newsletter

Facts on Twitter

  • 66% of Fortune 500 companies engage customers via Twitter
  • Twitter users twice as likely to engage with brands than other social network users

Email + Mobile
– Direct Response
Attention – Smart Phones will comprise 37% of global handset sales by 2014. Is your site ready?

Conclusion: Get to know your customers, avoid mass-newsletters and start sending information that is relevant to customers’ specific needs/interests. Utilize social media channels to deliver that information… email is still to be used.