Archive for January, 2009

Is Email a Recession Proof Marketing Tool?

Just got off another interesting Webcast put on by Marketing Sherpa (@marketingsherpa) and Exact Target (@exacttarget), as part of their Email Marketing Intelligence Webinar Series. I’ll briefly share some of the highlights from their Email Benchmark Study…may prove surprising for many B2B marketers out there!

  • Email marketing and social media are the ONLY marketing tactics that are expected to increase in 2009 – online or offline
  • Online ad spend is expected to decrease by 43% this year
  • When it comes to email lists, size does matter – the biggest priority for email marketers in 2009 is growing their lists, but 1 in 5 B2B marketers are finding this harder and harder to do
  • When it comes to optimizing their email lists, only half collect the lead source and use it!
  • Segmentation can increase open rates and click-through rates by as much as 2x
  • It’s predicted that SMS integration/optimization will be the “next big thing” when it comes to email marketing this year

— Posted by Melissa Coyle

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The State of the CIO

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to make the trek to Framingham, MA and listen in on the Eighth Annual State of the CIO Research with CIO Publisher Bob Melk and Editor-in-Chief Maryfran Johnson. CIO’s eighth annual “State of the CIO” survey was conducted to understand how the role of the CIO continues to evolve in today’s business climate and to help define the CIO agenda for 2009. More than 500 CIOs in charge of IT at their company or business responded to the survey with some surprising results.

Both Bob and Maryfran were very optimistic on the growing role of the CIO, as more focus was geared towards business strategy rather than centering solely on functional challenges. It’s expected that 2009 will be the year when CIOs further establish themselves beyond the IT realm and get into the boardroom.

My colleague, Erica Camilo, also attended. In our discussions, she noted that the most thought-provoking findings in her opinion came from learning about CIOs’ investment plans and how it is now a given that IT and the business be aligned. She expressed optimism for the technology community at large as the findings revealed CIOs’ increased openness to considering alternative IT models, with more CIOs taking a permanent seat at the decision-making table.

As for my observations from a PR perspective: CIOs still want their news from a print publication. At first this took me by surprise, as I assumed they would be eager to consume content from an online news source given the continued shrinkage of print publications in the face of climbing online readership. It made sense once they noted that the broader IT specialist community was eagerly consuming content through CIO.com. I think that executive readers, including CIOs, still want their high-level, thought provoking pieces from print so they can take the time to focus on the topics in more detail. That doesn’t detract from the value of timely news and quick one-offs from the Web!

I am also excited to see the new and improved CIO coming out at the beginning of March. From the sneak-peek Maryfran presented, it looks like big changes (for the better of course) are coming!

— Posted by John Connolly

Coming in for the Landing

There’s been a flurry of Webcasts, blogs and articles recently about email marketing and optimizing landing pages. There are a few that I thought were especially worth sharing.

ExactTarget (@exacttarget) and Marketing Sherpa (@marketingsherpa) have teamed for an Email Marketing Intelligence Webcast Series, and last week’s featured topic was “Constant Improvement: How to Combine Analytics & Testing to Optimize Email Marketing Performance.” Additionally, the inbound marketing experts at HubSpot (@hubspot @mvolpe) have hosted a couple great Webcasts, including “How to Get the Most Out of Your Pay Per Click Marketing Campaign” and “Optimizing Landing Pages for Lead Generation and Conversion.”

While the Exact Target/Sherpa Webcast didn’t have as many B2B examples as I would have liked, the underlying takeaways from all of the Webcasts are the same – your list, offer and email creative are only 3 pieces of the puzzle when it comes to increasing response. Landing pages are equally as important, but most often overlooked.

When it comes to email marketing and banner ads, smart marketers know that the offer needs to be compelling, the creative should be simple, never use all HTML, always use action-oriented words and – of course – test, test, test. But, what about the landing page? The same best practices that are applied to the creative itself should also apply to the landing page:

  • Keep it simple and short
  • Always include a form (keep that simple and short, too!) and make sure it’s above the fold
  • Limit navigation – you don’t want to give folks an opportunity to nav off before submitting their information
  • Make sure your form is synched with SalesForce (or whatever your CRM tool is) so it can be tracked and your sales reps can follow-up quickly
  • Make sure your landing page content aligns with the message in your email/ad creative, and has the same look and feel
  • Stick to a vertical layout – it’s easier for the eye to process
  • Eliminate distractions – there should only be one call to action
  • Use graphics, but sparingly
  • Test, measure, then test again!

— Posted by Melissa Coyle

Too Early to See Change From Obama…I Think Not!

Yesterday’s inauguration certainly was an unprecedented event. Whether you voted for President Obama, or not, it was tough to deny the feeling of excitement, renewal and hope. And with today’s digital media capabilities (thank you CNN!) how could you help feeling empowered – huddled around your computer with your colleagues watching every second like you were there yourself.

We heard a lot about change over the last several months, but what does it all mean to our everyday life and how much longer will us impatient Americans wait. Since I can’t look into my crystal ball and predict the future, I can say that change has already come to the White House…in the way of a blog!

Shortly after Barak Obama was sworn in, Macon Phillips, the Director of New Media for the White House blogged on how the President and his administration would stay in touch with the rest of the world and laid out their priorities and new media efforts. Communication, transparency and participation were cited as their top priorities. In addition, Phillips encouraged all of us to send ideas. The blog is going to include video, full texts of speeches and slideshows on Obama’s first days in office.

Communication, transparency and participation may seem simple, but should be top priorities for all organizations looking to build a brand as Obama did from his early days of campaigning. As my colleagues noted back on Election Day the Obama campaign was a best-practice marketing case study on building a brand. And true to his word…change came to the White House on day one…

— Posted by Kim Pegnato

About those resolutions…

As we dive right into another year, I’ll be doing my best to keep my 2009 resolutions. These fall into two categories – personal resolutions (less salt! better posture!) and professional resolutions (blog more!).

With the latter in mind, I finally jumped on the twitter bandwagon. I honestly didn’t think it was going to be worth my while or something I’d enjoy, much less be active in. I had brushed it aside as yet one more thing I’d need to keep up with in my busy life. But, I can admit when I’m wrong! I lost my twitter virginity a week ago, and I’m totally hooked.

I can follow all the bloggers and reporters that I try to read each day, but much more efficiently. I can make new connections. I can share interesting news. I can see what other marketers are trying out. But what I like best so far is the instant feedback I can get from peers.

Case in point…I recently tweeted “what’s going to be the BIG thing for B2B marketers in 2009?” and within a few moments I had some great thoughts back from fellow tweeters (or is it twitterers?):

  • @ardath421: content publishing for increased engagement in 2009
  • @smersy_genius: Sales 2.0 gains more traction and B2B Marketers learn to directly increase sales productivity.  http://is.gd/eEfS
  • @joemktg: Toss-up between PURLs for all communications, and optimizing landing pages and web sites to squeeze every bit of $$ from clicks
  • @stevewoods: my vote is for lead scoring and closer alignment with sales. In a resource constrained environment, marketing for results wins

Have something to add? Follow me at @MelissaBP and let me know. Happy New Year, and hope to “tweet” you soon!

— Posted by Melissa Coyle


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