The one thing all winning e-mail departments have in common is a killer list.
The inbox is a sacred place. It’s a destination to which you have been invited. Built correctly, your e-mail plan will yield enormous results.
Let’s take a look at how you can construct a high-quality internal e-mail database.
- Leverage your online customer service Web portal. Customers who do business with you online provide a great opportunity to enhance your e-mail list. Consumers want to complete online transactions to make their life easier.
Starting a new subscription, making a payment, placing a subscription on hold, or tipping a newspaper carrier are examples of transactions easily completed online.
Require your customers to register an account for the right to complete online transactions. The Web portal accounts are linked to their subscription accounts. So they identify themselves by providing key information.
One piece of data you shouldn’t miss is asking for their contact e-mail address. Once they submit their registration forms, allow your system to send confirmation e-mails to consumers at the e-mail addresses they provided.
When they receive the confirmation e-mails, they click the confirmation link, which verifies them as customers. Using your Web service portal provides you an ongoing source of top quality e-mail addresses.
12 May 2013 · by Joe Talcott
There is an oft-used expression in business seminars and courses: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
I’ve never been a big fan of this axiom, since some of the biggest successes in history have come from situations in which there was no plan in sight.
As Sir Alexander Flemming wrote, “When I woke up just after dawn on September 28, 1928, I certainly didn’t plan to revolutionise all medicine by discovering the world’s first antibiotic or bacteria killer. But I suppose that was exactly what I did.”
That discovery of penicillin has saved millions of lives, including my father’s in 1944. So, not having a plan does not condemn one to failure. But I have recently become more aware of businesses who seem to have an actual “plan to fail.”
It’s not some scheme to cheat the tax collector. In fact, it is probably done without much thought. But the result is the same nonetheless. They are doing things in their businesses that have a negative effect on a large number of their customers.
Let me give some firsthand examples.
About a month ago, I was traveling overseas and booked into a hotel for a few nights. In this hotel, Wi-Fi Internet access was included in the room charge. (I hesitate to say “free Wi-Fi,” because I am a marketer and I know that it gets paid for by the customer. But it was certainly better than being charged extra for the use of the wireless service). The service was relatively fast and easy to connect.... [more]
24 April 2013 · by Bob Provost
On Sunday, April 14, 2013, my newsroom colleagues at The Star-Ledger collected three statuettes at the New York Emmy® Awards.
In marketing textbook terms, that piece of news constitutes “cognitive dissonance,” a situation where the facts are at odds with perceived reality.
Reality is, in this case, that the newspaper won three awards for television/video programme production, competing in the most challenging TV market in America.
Even more surprising, these awards bring the Star-Ledger’s total Emmy® collection to 10 won since first entering the competition four years ago.
So what might this mean to you? Why do you care? How does this address the revenue problems you/we are facing today?
In my last blog, (Newspapers are “not dead yet”), I referenced the plight of the newspaper viewed as a media dinosaur, doomed to extinction by its perceived inability to survive a change in habitat.
We do not recognise the modern dinosaur in the thousands of species of birds that we observe around the world, so we assume that the dinosaur is gone, extinct, unable to survive in the Darwinian survival of the fittest.
Yet the dinosaur/bird could give lessons in adaptability, differentiation, and survival. In fact, since Darwin developed his theory of evolution in part by observing the birds of the Galapagos Islands, dinosaurs/birds apparently have taught us a lesson!
Check out your newsroom’s digital traffic and audience stats. Compare them with any and all local competitors and you will probably find you are clearly the dominant digital player in your market.... [more]
22 April 2013 · by Anne Wong
We’re often reminded that the media economy, particularly for publishers, has been “re-priced.” That’s an elegant way of saying it costs a lot more to make a lot less.
Advertisers just don’t believe they should pay the same dollars for reaching the same person digitally versus print, and the development and content procurement costs for multiple platforms is sky high.
The old days were, quite frankly, easy. Print products take much less time to produce – a picture and some words and a spot of ad copy, right? Then pop it on some paper, ship it to the newsstand, and, voila, you make a bunch of ad revenue.
Now, of course, it’s more than just pics and words. It’s pics and pixels, video, polls, social, interactive graphics, blogs, links, updates, more updates, training, night staff, day staff, support staff, back-up support staff, 24/7, faster, trending analytics, paywalls … the cost of enhancing and enriching experience just keeps climbing.
Moreover, the cost and resource impact of the new digital media economy impacts every department.
As the head of a medium-sized marketing department, I’m finding this new media economy is stretching us to the limit.
Admittedly, we don’t farm much stuff out to expensive agencies. Instead, our team of 10 creative designers develops the great majority of marketing materials in-house. Perhaps that is why we notice the changes even more acutely.
Gone are the days where a simple creative brief would result in two or three print ads or a direct-marketing leaflet and posters. Now, on top of the print ads, you have eDMs, postings, and re-postings on social media, iPad versions in different banner and island positions, mobile-optimised versions, mobile app versions, SEM buys, e-newsletters, landing pages, various format ad units for multiple online buys – all of which need to be “built,” not just “drawn.”... [more]
11 April 2013 · by Lon Haenel
Dear Marketing Guru,
I publish a prestigious daily title. Thanks to my circulation director, our paid circulation number is in the cellar. I want to sustain my number and then grow it. Everyone loves my newspaper (I think), but the numbers don’t show it.
What’s your advice, Marketing Guru?
Panicking Prestigious Publisher
Dear Panicked Publisher,
First of all, congratulations! It sounds like you’re quite proud of your newspaper, despite your anxiety. You’re not alone. Publishers everywhere are struggling with their circulation numbers.
Don’t worry, Marketing Guru is here to help.
To stabilise your circulation number, I want you to think about three things.
- People are procrastinators.
The reason hundreds signed up on last month’s telemarketing or direct mail special is you gave them a knock-out deal with NO commitment. They bought with no strings attached. Your customers are procrastinators, and they know it.
Sell with the end in mind. Set the expectation for what’s next. Long after your introductory, limited-time, new-subscriber-only, deep-discount special ends, you’ll be working hard to sign up the same customer again. With what? A deeper discount?
All new promotions should be written to include credit card or some other form of automatic monthly renewal and payment. We call ours EASYPAY. Whether it’s a free, introductory sample or a full-price offer with a newspaper umbrella, get the monthly renewal agreement.
Job No. 1 is to get the agreement with the sale, not after. Sending renewal statements in the mail to discounted promotional starts is a tough game to win. So use the power of procrastination to work with your renewal practices, not against.
On a monthly, recurring, auto-bill agreement, your customers call you if they want to quit. You’ll find that using procrastination to your benefit keeps down the number of cancellations of promotional starts. That’s good news: You won’t have to call them with yet another sales pitch to renew.
02 April 2013 · by Joe Talcott
For millennia, people have understood the concept of an “atom.”
The Indians and Greeks devised the idea that all matter was composed of discrete and tiny units. But that understanding was based on philosophical reasoning, since it pre-dated modern science.
Democritus called the smallest indivisible particle of matter “atomos.” And the name stuck.
About 2,220 years later, in 1897, Joseph John Thomson (people called him “JJ”) found the atom wasn’t the smallest particle when he discovered the electron. A few years later, scientists were working on how to divide the “indivisible” atom. Which they did, with explosive ramifications.
In 1713, a cordwainer (or shoemaker) designed shoes, constructed them, and sold them. Today, we’d say it was a very flat organisational structure. There was no marketing department. There was no marketing, as demand exceeded supply; there were more feet than shoes.
The Industrial Revolution changed all of that.
Machines, powered by steam, and then electricity, meant that shoes could be mass-produced. The Industrial Revolution made a promise to businesses that was almost fantastical: “You can design one shoe and sell it hundreds of times.”
So now, you weren’t just searching for materials to sell shoes, you were also searching for customers for those shoes.
The Industrial Revolution shifted the supply-and-demand ratio. Mass production meant that there were more shoes than feet. And cordwainers were competing for those feet.
The Industrial Revolution meant mass production and required mass marketing. And Gutenberg’s printing press made mass-media possible. As audiences grew businesses could reach hundreds, then thousands of people with advertising.
Media made that possible.
Soon media companies were working with thousands of businesses. And media itself became a lucrative business. Advertising agencies were created to help sell ads for media companies to advertisers.
Mass production, mass media, and marketing expertise grew into the 20th century. This was the golden age of mass media.
Today, we’re living through a new revolution. The digital revolution. In this revolution, those tiny electrons discovered by Thompson speed through wires and through the air to connect all the new digital products. And their users are creating a massive connected collective.
And, just like the Industrial Revolution, this is changing everything.
Publicis uses a metaphor to describe the changes in audiences: “In the age of mass media marketers and agencies, we’re great at talking to the forests. Then as segmentation developed, we could talk to the trees. Now, the leaves are talking to each other.”... [more]
28 March 2013 · by Scott Stines
Life used to be so predictable.
You’d wake up with the newspaper at your front door. You’d peruse the headlines and stories from both near and far.
If there was time, you’d catch up on the sports scores from the late games. The top right corner of the front page provided a snapshot of the day’s weather and let you know if a coat or umbrella was needed.
On your way to work, you knew the day’s revenue would come from one of two source: advertisers or audiences.
While the changes ahead will dwarf the change of the past five years at an accelerating rate, today’s and tomorrow’s revenue still will come from one of two sources: advertisers or audiences.
World news media leaders convene April 28-30 in New York for INMA’s World Congress, “Monetizing the New Print + Digital Ecosystem,” to share and discuss the rapid development of the next wave of alternative revenue models in a landscape ruled by disruption and ravaged by economic storm.
An industry that once worried about “cannibalisation” will come together to recognise and honour those with the capability and fortitude to rapidly create, mutate, and then consume their own young in the fast-changing pursuit of audience, revenue, and profit.
At stake is our ability to organise our assets to provide relevance to audiences and measurable results to advertisers, while delivering a profit that can sustain our ability to change even more and even faster.... [more]
12 March 2013 · by Bob Provost
Some of my contemporaries may recall the 1975 comedic film, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
Set in the Middle Ages, it is a parody of the Arthurian legend. I bring it to your attention because there is a disturbingly morbid scene depicting the gathering and disposal of the dead during the plague.
Actor Eric Idle plays the “dead collector,” who is asked to take away the body of an unwanted elderly man who is protesting that he is not dead.
All too often I feel the newspaper industry has been cast in the role of the unwanted elderly man. But we are not dead either.
We are allowing ourselves to be miscast as the media equivalent of the dinosaur; we’re perceived by the undereducated to be extinct in modern times, despite the fact we are surrounded by descendants of dinosaurs.
Birds, the most diverse group of land vertebrates on Earth (10,000+ species), are both a testament to evolution and the longevity of the dinosaur. In my opinion, like the dinosaur and the bird, our media organisations have a future.
But success may lead us to find ourselves looking like a very different business.
In previous blogs, I have referenced the damaged brand of newspapers, as well as the need for us to evolve rapidly in response to the changing market. I have also called on newspapers to position themselves as winners and embrace their role as multi-media solutions providers.
Well, I am encouraged that the leadership of the industry is realising that, while things may be different, they are not over. Today I plan to briefly discuss one “MUST DO” component of the successful future of our media organisations that many media companies are embracing robustly and strategically – “investment.”
In the past, savvy newspaper leaders made strategic investments in new color presses, productivity-enhancing digital technology, packaging and distribution infrastructure, etc.
Investments were predominantly of a “capital” nature: facilities, equipment, etc. Recognition that our human resource infrastructure also required renewal and retooling, on the other hand, was rare.
The most encouraging aspect of the current environment that I see is the recognition that we need to invest in people. And not an “out with the old, in with the new” approach. Although new talent is always welcomed, there is a new commitment to bring existing employees along on the journey.... [more]
26 February 2013 · by Joe Talcott
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was a British, then American, scientist, political theorist, philosopher, postmaster, musician, inventor, statesman, revolutionary, and diplomat. He was also a writer, newspaper editor, and successful publisher.
One of Franklin’s most successful publishing efforts was a annual pamphlet, entitled “Poor Richard’s Almanack,” which was published from 1732 to 1758. This very popular product included seasonal weather predictions, household hints, puzzles, jokes, recipes, and aphorisms.
“Haste makes waste,” “Love your neighbour; yet don’t pull down the hedge,” and “To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals,” are examples that still hold true.
Franklin published his annual pamphlet for 25 years, and it was a financial success. It was so because it gave his customers — his audience — what they wanted.
The reason I have indulged in this bit of American history is that I have been reading from the pages of local newspaper Web sites, as well as their Twitter and Facebook posts. And I am finding many similarities between these modern publications and the more than 250-year-old Almanack.
The content appears strikingly similar: bits of news, clever wordplay, extracts from other sources, advice, and recipes.
Because digital distribution of newspaper content provides instant feedback, we don’t have to guess what people want. We see what they choose.
And what we have discovered is they want concise tidbits of information and entertainment. Short reads, gossip, and titillating headlines create the clicks that, when accumulated, become an audience.
In many ways, editors are following a new rule of marketing in creating products for customers, rather than creating customers for products.
Benjamin Franklin was able to monetise his content by selling his annual publication.... [more]
19 February 2013 · by Scott Stines
Newspapers occupy a unique position in the communities they serve. They report the news, conduct investigative reports, and publish editorials that are oftentimes controversial.
At the same time, newspapers provide local, regional and national businesses with unsurpassed local audience delivery for their advertising messages.
Sometimes these important roles may seem at odds, as is the case with the recent situation in the New York state, where the Journal News (a Gannett newspaper) is under fire for publishing online maps revealing the names and addresses of local citizens with pistol (gun) permits.
I’m sure this is not the first time the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (freedom of speech, press, religion, and petition) has clashed with the Second Amendment (the right to keep and bear arms).
The names and addresses of New York State gun owners is public information, and the newspaper has every right to publish that public information — just as newspapers around the United States and the world publish other public information, like divorces, home sales, bankruptcies, or the local crime blotter.... [more]