How Engaged is Your Brand?

Late last year Alterian surveyed 1,462 marketers around the world at various industry event for their eighth annual survey. The basic question was: How engaged is your brand?

Respondents in this survey agreed with other surveys which found that expectations were that marketing budgets would increase in 2011. In the Alterian survey 48.53% percent of those surveyed expected this. North American marketers were more optimistic about budgets increasing slightly than their European counterparts. 52% of Marketers also expect their digital marketing budgets to increase slightly.

As for engaging customers via their websites, 55% of those responding stated their focus was on campaigns and offers intended to drive interaction on the website. Surprisingly, only 11% stated they personalized each visitor experience to the website. As the report points out, mass marketing over personalization is still the norm. That means most companies are not leveraging the full power of marketing via their websites, social and email marketing.

When it comes to the level of email engagement, the study suggests (and it doesn’t surprise me) that marketers are doing better with personalization in email marketing as compared to other channels. On the up side, 43% segment audiences with different messages. On the down side, only 13% are delivering email based on individual customer preferences with real-time monitoring.

As observed in the report, some email marketers still cling to the idea of hammering the same list over and over again regardless of engagement, thus treating all subscribers the same. If your content is not relevant and you aren’t engaging your subscribers on some level, they aren’t likely to be motivated to do anything other than ignore you or worse, hit that spam button.

I often hear people trying to explain the power of segmenting use Einstein’s quote regarding how the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. That sums up pretty well the waste of time and effort which results if you don’t use segmentation to optimize your list and increase relevance.

Every single interaction with a customer is an opportunity to engage them. Let me rephrase that! Every single interaction via email (or any channel) MUST engage the user if you want it to accomplish more than some passive branding in an inbox. Even transactional emails can engage and drive more sales if you seize the opportunity.

All of this is overwhelming if you are trying to do it in-house. This is why people are looking for partners offering an integrated cross-channel solution for marketing where the focus is on engaging the customer via the channels the customers choose and not the other way around. I’m quite confident this will be a big trend in 2011 and eventually become the norm – simply because in today’s cross-channel world, it has to be.

The Wedding of the Century: Email Marketing & Social Marketing

The Wedding of the Century: Email Marketing & Social MarketingEveryone is talking about this week’s big royal wedding, but the hottest romance for marketers is social and email marketing.

Well, to be honest, these are just two of the channels marketers should be romancing with a multi-channel approach.


According to eCricle’s European Social Media and Email Marketing Study:

  • 95% of the people with an email account check their emails at least once a day.
  • One quarter of email receivers check their emails via a mobile device every day.
  • Most of the social networkers still use their email account for ecommerce (85%).

The online survey was conducted late last year and had just over 1000 European respondents ranging in age from 14 to 69 years.

As you can see from the numbers above, email is still the one channel which seems to reach just about everyone practically every day. In fact, everyone taking part in the survey (and this will likely come as no surprise) uses email.

Older target groups lean towards email and newsletters as the preferred channel, while the 20-49 demographic are best reached via a combination of email and social media marketing.

The numbers keep supporting the conclusion that multi-channel marketing is a must if you want to reach the widest possible audience. Of course, it’s not just about reach! It’s also about choice. Putting the power of choice in the hands of the consumer and allowing them to decide when and where they want to interact with you is one powerfully positive message!

Email and social networks are actually closely linked. You can’t even register for a social network unless you have an email account. The notion that every new communication channel must kill the previous one is rather myopic. Historically, mass communication channels don’t die, they evolve. It’s certainly true that some traditional channels are in trouble, such as print, but it’s not likely they will simply cease to exist anytime soon. There will certainly be a shake out and those who can’t keep up will die, but a mass extinction any time soon is unlikely.

So email marketing has quite a few years of relevance left and in fact, smartphones are likely to invigorate email as people use email along with social and SMS to stay in touch and keep informed. One word of caution, as more and more people become smartphone users, I suspect they will become less and less tolerant of irrelevant information from marketers via this platform. The smartphone is a very personal device and we would all do well to respect the personal space it occupies.

When the survey asked what people use email for, the number one response was to communicate with family, friends and acquaintances. Online ordering and purchasing was second and coming in at number three was notifications from social networks. It appears email and social can live happily ever after or at least shack up and share the rent.

The same survey found that the reason most people are fans or followers of a brand is because they are looking for discounts and special offers. Right behind that was a desire to be informed about company and brand news.

Marketers just can’t rely on one channel anymore. A multi-channel approach where the choice is in the hands of the consumer and you are there when they want to interact is the key to a happy relationship.