Why marketers should keep sending you e-mails |

There’s a reason your inbox always seems jam-packed: e-mail marketing works! But companies can get smarter about ensuring every message counts.

by Nora Aufreiter, Julien Boudet, and Vivian Weng

 email stuffed

If you’re wondering why marketers seem intent on e-mailing you more and more, there’s a simple explanation: it works.
E-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined (exhibit).
That’s because 91 percent of all US consumers still use e-mail daily,1 and the rate at which e-mails prompt purchases is not only estimated to be at least three times that of social media, but the average order value is also 17 percent higher.2

Exhibit

E-mail is still a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media.

Of course, we’re not saying marketers should bombard you with mindless spam. And consumer behavior is shifting: McKinsey’s iConsumer survey3 reported a 20 percent decline in e-mail usage between 2008 and 2012 as a share of time spent on communications, with the medium surrendering ground to social networks, instant messaging, and mobile-messaging apps. Investments in these new channels are absolutely necessary for marketers to make increasingly sophisticated use of social networks and other channels to engage with consumers and convert interest to sales. However, marketers shouldn’t be too hasty in shifting budgets away from e-mail—they just need to take a few steps to harness the full power of the inbox.

1. Focus on the journey, not the click

keep-calm_happy-journey

Marketers often obsess over every aspect of every e-mail sent, from the subject line to visuals to copy. And they should—so long as they remember that e-mail is merely the first click (literally) in a consumer’s decision journey. The e-mail is part of a series of interactions with a brand, and marketers should be just as obsessed with where an e-mail sends the user. Why invest so much time in an e-mail only to drop the user onto a generic home page? Customized landing pages—which send the user directly to the item or offer featured in the e-mail—can increase conversion rates by more than 25 percent. And don’t forget mobile. Nearly 45 percent of all marketing e-mails today are opened on a mobile device.4 Yet many marketers fail to optimize landing pages for the platform. If you think that’s no big deal, consider this: Google says 61 percent of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing. And, even worse, 40 percent visit a competitor’s site instead.

2. Share the lessons

lessons-learned

The best marketing organizations view every e-mail as an opportunity to learn more about their consumer. They define clear learning objectives for each campaign, capture data, and share it within the marketing group and the rest of the organization. One apparel company that markets through multiple channels recently implemented a monthly review of its e-mail campaigns in which marketers share three “hits” and three “misses.” These reviews are attended by marketers, merchants, and brand teams, with top lessons broadcast on closed-circuit TV screens throughout its corporate campus. “We want our team to share every lesson,” the head of direct marketing said. “If what we’re doing doesn’t work, we should celebrate finding that out.” As a result of this continuous learning process, the company is on course to double e-commerce revenue as a percentage of total sales without increasing its number of e-mail campaigns.

3. Get personal

personal

Standing out certainly has become more difficult. While e-mail usage has declined, the volume of messages continues to rise: the number of marketing e-mails was forecast to reach a record 838 billion in the United States in 2013, according to Forrester. It’s no wonder relevancy should be a priority for every marketer. The best e-mails feel personal—and they are. Flash-sale site Gilt Groupe sends more than 3,000 variations of its daily e-mail, for example, each tailored based on past user click-throughs, browsing history, and purchase history. Of course, building true customization and targeting abilities is a transformative process that requires specific capabilities and supporting infrastructure. Customer information often lives in different parts of the organization and must be aggregated to create a single view of each consumer. A targeting engine must be built to guide the right message to the right person. And operations need to be ready for the change; creating and sending 3,000 e-mails a day is very different from sending one mass e-mail blast. Although it’s a lot of work, it drives real returns: one financial institution increased revenue from target segments by 20 percent by using life-cycle events to trigger personalized e-mails to existing customers; home-goods retailer Williams-Sonoma reported a tenfold improvement in response rates by adopting personalized e-mail offerings based on individuals’ on-site and catalog shopping behavior.

About the authors

Nora Aufreiter is a director in McKinsey’s Toronto office, Julien Boudet is an associate principal in the Silicon Valley office, and Vivian Weng is a consultant in the New York office. This article is adapted from “Email marketing: Think inside the new inbox,” which originally appeared on forbes.com. Copyright © 2013 McKinsey & Company. All rights reserved.

 
 

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What’s the Endgame for Social Media? + Reinventing Job Structures to Survive an Always-On World

Social Media Revolution

Social Media Revolution

What’s the Endgame for Social Media?

Social media has come a long way.
When my co-founder Steve and I originally pitched Hearsay Social to venture capital firms in Silicon Valley in 2009, many passed because they thought Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn were passing fads headed for the same fate as MySpace and Friendster. Today, 77% of Fortune 500 organizations now have an official social team and presence, according to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. No doubt there has been incredible business uptake of social media over the last few years. But what if these social media projects were only scratching the surface of social media’s business value?

Company_SocialMediapie

To tap into social business’ greater value, it will take more than launching a few corporate accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (represented by the 42% above).
The coming years will see more large and small businesses shifting social media from just the corporate level or just the division level to both the corporate and division level (represented by 22% in this Altimeter chart).

We’re headed to something greater, but to understand that requires perspective on where we are today. The first wave of social business was all about employee collaboration, giving rise to products like Yammer, Jive, and Salesforce Chatter. Then came the next wave, external social business, rooted in customer service, corporate marketing, and communications. Many companies are still working through this stage by managing all social media at the corporate level.

In 2013, there was already executive commitment and discussion around turning internal social media projects into strategic imperatives owned by lines of business. Instead of discouraging employees from social media or making it optional, companies are making social business mandatory and part of the “standard issue” of communication just as email accounts became standard issue a decade ago.

In 2014, more and more companies will usher in the third wave of social business by empowering everyone across the organization to participate. While corporate marketing teams continue to use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for brand awareness, sales teams and other customer-facing roles will increasingly tap into social networks for ways to authentically reach and engage their customers and prospects, build their credibility as a trusted advisor through value-added content, and provide higher levels of service – all to ultimately increase business and deepen relationships. Even for employees in non-customer facing roles, the expectation will be that they represent the company whenever online to amplify and reinforce the corporate brand and its value to customers.

To make it all work, we will also see companies operationalizing social business by (1) enabling and training employees to effectively use social media for business, (2) creating social business programs and guidelines, and (3) applying key business metrics to turn grand visions of social media into real business process and ROI.

In summary, the third wave of social business will move from enabling the few (i.e., the few marketers who manage corporate social media accounts) to mobilizing the many (i.e., the entire workforce and the “feet on the street”) to authentically engage at a personal and local level. After all, people buy from people, not companies.  People trust individuals, not corporations. It’s the way business has always been done, but now social business complements traditional methods and allows for companies and their employees to manage and measure this engagement at scale.

Authenticity has become a prerequisite to doing business in this new era, and empowering employees to use social media for business will be the number one way companies stay relevant and top of mind.

As the pace of technological innovation continues to accelerate and the use of social media expands, 2014 is sure to be even more disruptive than years past, with social media weaving through all aspects of business. This is the endgame of social business.

80-clara-shih
source: Harvard Business Review | by Clara Shih — CEO of Hearsay Social, an enterprise software company, and a board member of Starbucks Corporation.
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Time to Reinvent Job Structures to Survive an Always-On World

Marketing Is About Making Your Brand as Relevant as Possible, and Now You Need to Do It in Real Time

How do you keep your brand relevant in today’s “always on” environment?

For one thing, you’ve got to be very, very nimble. Tony Pace, Subway Restaurants CMO, said marketing is like Peyton Manning calling an audible at the line of scrimmage. In the past, over 80% of the marketing plan “would be executed the way you originally planned,” he told the ANA’s fall conference. “Now, it’s like 20%, so you better be agile.”

Companies have set up command centers to monitor what the social media are saying about them around the clock. As Jim Farley, exec VP-global marketing at Ford Motor Co., explained it to Automotive News: Social media “has got us thinking differently about advertising not just as a digital media mix transformation, but more fundamentally about getting away from campaigns and moving toward being ‘always on.’ Digital really begs for an ‘always on’ content factory that’s producing content all the time that’s relevant to the news cycle.”

P&I now creates custom digital products.
P&I now creates custom digital products.

Marketing, after all is said and done, is about making your brand as relevant as possible, and now you need to do it in real time. At your company that not only means busting down silos, but also reinventing your job.
And to do both of those things, you’ve got to act like a startup, where people are urged to range far and wide in an effort to understand how consumers “will think, interact and operate in the future,” as the head of the British retail chain Tesco told the Financial Times.

Understanding the consumer, of course, is the essence of marketing, and companies are willing to rejigger traditional relationships and job structures to gain a better understanding of what motivates their customers.

Diverse roles
A story well told is what it’s all about these days. And at our place our people are playing very diverse roles to tell that story.

Brian Reilly, newly appointed corporate director of digital strategy for Crain Communications, remembers when he worked at Crain’s Chicago Business in the late ’90s: “Our early efforts [in digital] didn’t involve too much chasing of the customer. Rather, our toolset at the time dictated that we take more of a ‘if you build it they will come’ approach. …

“Fast forward about 15 years… and everything we do today at Crain is focused on chasing the customer — and what to do when we catch him or her! We have come to understand that our job is to help our customers succeed, and providing the best news, analysis and information in their industry is how we do that.”

David M. Klein, the digital general manager of our Pensions & Investments, has helped expedite the transition from a brand focused on a single platform — print — to a brand that produces content across multiple channels, including web, tablet, mobile, data and events. David points out that P&I’s success is predicated on understanding how our customers consume content on each of those platforms, and he’s built a team of in-house developers who can act quickly to create custom digital products as new platforms and technologies emerge.

Mary Kramer, publisher of Crain’s Detroit Business, said she went back to school at age 53 to get a master’s degree in integrated-marketing communications. “Why?” she asked. “Because as a journalist with P&L responsibility, I knew I needed to learn more about technology and how it was changing marketing, journalism and other forms of communication. It changed how I looked at our publication and what we do every day. I have to keep up with technology — if I don’t use it myself I won’t know what it is and how it works and how it impacts our business.”

Another Crain’s Detroit staffer is Nancy Hanus, digital-content strategy manager. Nancy thinks of what we do as evolution rather than reinvention. “If you stand still in this industry you become irrelevant. Adapting to a changing media world is important no matter what you do. It goes for me as a digital strategist as much as it applied to me as a business editor. Don’t stand still. Ever.

“It’s important,” Nancy continued, “that you not be afraid. That you are bold. Create your own path, your own career — don’t depend on an employer or a degree to tell you what you should be doing.

Opportunities
David Denor, director of Crain’s Chicago Business custom media, believes continual market shifts “not only provide us the opportunity to re-examine our business and its method of delivery, but to create opportunities for shaping the roles within the organization to meet those needs of change. As a growing and evolving company, we should embrace and recognize the assets that employees can bring to the table.”

It’s also very evident that the new work environment is a pretty exciting place. Nathan Skid, multimedia editor of our Detroit paper, says “every day offers something new. Last Tuesday, I broke major Detroit restaurant news in the morning, shot photos of an NHL press conference in the afternoon and helped our video intern wrap up his first video shoot.”

As you can see, our people have that entrepreneurial zeal to reinvent themselves and their jobs so we can stay attuned to the changing needs of our customers. The publication you’re reading is no exception to this evolution, and you’ll see more on that front early next year.

Fortune, in an article on Tesla Motors, said that “conviction comes about when the possible future that you see aligns with a deeply held view of how the world should be.” As part of the reinvention process people need to thrive on the disruptive forces that are realigning the future with the shape of the world that will be.

Rance Crain

source: Advertising Age |By Rance Crain

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LISTEN… It’s Musical Christmas Cheer.

C H R I S T M A S   C H E E R   F O R   Y O U R   E A R !

SPRINGSTEEN | Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town

ELVIS | Elvis’ Christmas Album

BAND AID | Do They Know It’s Christmas

QUEEN | Thank God It’s Christmas

LENNON: Happy Christmas

McCARTNEY: Wonderful Christmas Time

DARLENE LOVE | Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)

A DOGGIE CHRISTMAS WISH | Silent Night (Thank you for our fur Angels)

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Thanksgiving + Music Giving Thanks.

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Thanks


Count your blessings — however large or small or in between.

Count them daily.

It may not always be the easiest thing to do;

not yet crafted as a day-to-day, minute-to-minute, personal habit.

But, when we do, we sit with our self — in silence… and, fill our mind with thanks.

~VM

Sam & Dave: “I Thank You”

Sly & The Family Stone: “Thank You (Falletine Be Mice Elf Agin)”

Led Zeppelin: “Thank You”

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Among other assets, project management + communicative + highly analytical + exceptionally detail/results oriented + well-organized + a software/electronic tools buff + highly efficient.

Seriously… A contribution of $5-10 will not hurt any one of us, but will surely save one of them.
In aggregate, $5-10 multiplies very quickly and does a lot of good for folks less fortunate than us.

TYPHOON RELIEF LINK IN PHOTO

A hot meal delivered to victims after a disaster, blood when it is needed most, shelter when there is nowhere else to turn, an emergency message delivered to a member of the Armed Forces from their family — these are just some of the ways that gifts are put to work through the American Red Cross. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the American Red Cross is empowering people to perform extraordinary acts in the face of emergencies.

Give directly to the Red Cross using the Causes application on Facebook.

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The Power of Restraint: Always Leave Them Wanting More | Eminem – rap god + search results god

20131016_2

The Power of Restraint: Always Leave Them Wanting More

by Anthony K. Tjan  |   9:00 AM October 15, 2013

The setting: the spectacular office of one of the most respected names in entertainment, a senior executive in the motion picture industry. The players: the executive, accompanied by his bevy of direct reports and support staff, plus a CEO friend of mine and his chairman (we’ll call him Mr. Chairman).

The meeting was unusual in its purpose. Mr. Chairman, who does not come from the entertainment industry, wanted to share his epiphany on how movie-makers should rethink the categorization of movie genres.  His hypothesis was that movies should not be called romantic, horror, thriller, etc., but instead use a schema inspired by psychologist Abraham Maslow’s famous “hierarchy of needs” that might better explain and predict which movies are likely to succeed.

After the regular pleasantries, Mr. Chairman, a soft-spoken and even-keeled individual, began sharing his new taxonomy for the movie industry, scrawling some sketches along the way.  The meeting moved along quickly and positively. Within minutes, curiosity was piqued, and by the 10-minute mark the entertainment mogul and his entourage were engrossed.  After about 20 minutes, they seemed enthralled, having embraced several of “wow moments” described by Mr. Chairman.

Precisely at this high point of excitement, around the 25-minute mark of the meeting, Mr. Chairman glanced at his watch and announced that he had already taken a meaningful amount of their time and should leave now. He asked them to follow up if any of his thoughts stuck.  With some bewilderment goodbyes were said, and that was it — meeting done and wrapped up in just under 30 minutes.

But, of course, a long-term relationship ensued.

For my CEO friend it was a career life lesson: “Leave them wanting more.” But this was not a Machiavellian strategy born out of a premeditated plan. It was the natural product of Mr. Chairman’s innate leadership, humility, patience, emotional intelligence, and introverted disposition.  With those qualities come self control, and an instinct for when to apply restraint.

There’s a common misperception that extroverts are the best leaders and sales people.   Adam Grant at the Wharton School has conducted studies showing that “ambiverts” (people who are a mixture of extrovert and introvert) are actually the most effective in sales, followed by introverts and then extroverts.  In a three-month study of 300 sales people, ambiverts generated 32% more revenue than extroverts, and 24% more than introverts.

It is not that extroverted behavior is bad, but rather that when it’s not leavened with restraint and listening, it can be limiting.  Most extroverts would have loved exciting an audience as Mr. Chairman did — and likely would have had trouble ending the meeting as he did, instead over-selling to the point of diminishing returns.

The power of restraint is a lesson that cuts across all aspects of our lives.  It is a lesson that I have tried to internalize after writing a book and now numerous blog posts with editors exceptional at, yes, editing. It is not just about grammatical correctness or even structure, but a centrifugal type of editing that teaches the discipline of choice, and restrains one from making the mistake of over-telling, over-selling.

In business, we don’t edit enough. Any list of three top priorities invariably includes an “a,b, and c” below each one — which really means a list of nine. It is always a challenge to maintain focus on what truly matters — “the big rocks in the jar” as Stephen Covey would often say. Covey talked of filling a jar that represents life. You need to start with bigger rocks (the largest priorities, such as family and health) before you put in the medium size rocks, smaller pebbles, sand, and water.  If you go in that order, everything fits in the jar.  Going the other way does not work (just try it), and crowds out the things that really matter.

To practice more restraint, to stay focused on the things that really matter, consider the following:

  1. Start with self-awareness. Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet, has a simple online “quiet quiz” to let you know if you lean toward introversion or extroversion.
  2. Delegate, don’t command and control. Effective managers and leaders understand how to motivate with just enough direction to get multiplier-force leverage, because people feel a true sense of ownership. Micromanagement is a symptom of an inability to delegate and of letting your desire to do overwhelm your need to lead.
  3. Sell with more judo and less karate. This is an analogy I use often to stress, similar to the delegation point above, the important of allowing people to come to their own conclusions and using that to create intrinsic motivation to get the task done.
  4. Quality over quantity of voice. We all know the rare type of individual who does not talk often, but when she does, everyone listens.  There is tremendous power in increasing one’s listen-to-talk ratio and then choosing the right moments for expression.  Quality of comment usually matters more than the quantity of comments.
  5. Leave them wanting more.  This was the key lesson from Mr. Chairman.  When you lead a meeting, ask yourself each time it ends if you left people wanting more.  Consider cutting — at least mentally — your meeting time by at 20-30% to make sure you focus on the right things first, and to understand that your goal may be to have them wish for more time, or even another meeting.

Ultimately Mies van der Rohe’s got it right. His “less is more” maxim extends beyond architecture to a principle we should use much more in business practice.

More blog posts by

Anthony Tjan is CEO, Managing Partner and Founder of the venture capital firm Cue Ball, vice chairman of the advisory firm Parthenon, and co-author of the New York Times bestseller Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck (HBR Press, 2012).

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Everyone Is Going Crazy Over Eminem’s New Song ‘Rap God’ And Saying It’s The Best Rapping Of All Time… kwaaaaaaazeeeee güd scheetz

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/eminem-rap-god-2013-10#ixzz2hnaayA5T

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10 Paradoxical Traits Of Creative People + SMM At Its Best!

Creative people are humble and proud. Creative people tend to be both extroverted and introverted. Creative people are rebellious and conservative. How creative are you?

 

PRINT/ONLINE Advertising Development + Creation | ƒocus on BRAND + MANAGEMENT

 

 

I frequently find myself thinking about whether I am an artist or an entrepreneur.

I am simply trying my best to create my own unique path.

It is safe to say that more and more entrepreneurs are artists, and artists of all kinds are entrepreneurs. And the trend is only on the rise as all things (art, science, technology, business, culture, spirituality) are increasingly converging.

Creativity is the common theme that drives both entrepreneurs and artists alike. But creative people are often also paradoxical.

Over this past Labor Day weekend, I found myself reading excerpts from distinguished professor of psychology and management Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s (pronounced me-HIGH chick-sent-me-HIGH-ee) seminal book Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People (HarperCollins, 1996).

He writes:

“I have devoted 30 years of research to how creative people live and work, to make more understandable the mysterious process by which they come up with new ideas and new things. If I had to express in one word what makes their personalities different from others, it’s complexity. They show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an individual, each of them is a multitude.”

Mihaly describes ten traits often contradictory in nature, that are frequently present in creative people. In Creativity, Mihaly outlines these:

1. Creative people have a great deal of physical energy, but they’re also often quiet and at rest.

They work long hours, with great concentration, while projecting an aura of freshness and enthusiasm.

2. Creative people tend to be smart yet naive at the same time.

“It involves fluency, or the ability to generate a great quantity of ideas; flexibility, or the ability to switch from one perspective to another; and originality in picking unusual associations of ideas. These are the dimensions of thinking that most creativity tests measure and that most workshops try to enhance.”

3. Creative people combine playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility. But this playfulness doesn’t go very far without its antithesis, a quality of doggedness, endurance, and perseverance.

“Despite the carefree air that many creative people affect, most of them work late into the night and persist when less driven individuals would not. Vasari wrote in 1550 that when Renaissance painter Paolo Uccello was working out the laws of visual perspective, he would walk back and forth all night, muttering to himself: “What a beautiful thing is this perspective!” while his wife called him back to bed with no success.”

4. Creative people alternate between imagination and fantasy, and a rooted sense of reality.

Great art and great science involve a leap of imagination into a world that is different from the present.

5. Creative people tend to be both extroverted and introverted.

We’re usually one or the other, either preferring to be in the thick of crowds or sitting on the sidelines and observing the passing show. Creative individuals, on the other hand, seem to exhibit both traits simultaneously.

6. Creative people are humble and proud at the same time.

It is remarkable to meet a famous person who you expect to be arrogant or supercilious, only to encounter self-deprecation and shyness instead.

7. Creative people, to an extent, escape rigid gender role stereotyping.

When tests of masculinity and femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers.

8. Creative people are both rebellious and conservative.

It is impossible to be creative without having first internalized an area of culture. So it’s difficult to see how a person can be creative without being both traditional and conservative and at the same time rebellious and iconoclastic.

9. Most creative people are very passionate about their work, yet they can be extremely objective about it as well.

Without the passion, we soon lose interest in a difficult task. Yet without being objective about it, our work is not very good and lacks credibility. Here is how the historian Natalie Davis puts it:

“I think it is very important to find a way to be detached from what you write, so that you can’t be so identified with your work that you can’t accept criticism and response, and that is the danger of having as much affect as I do. But I am aware of that and of when I think it is particularly important to detach oneself from the work, and that is something where age really does help.”

10. Creative people’s openness and sensitivity often exposes them to suffering and pain, yet also to a great deal of enjoyment.

“Perhaps the most important quality, the one that is most consistently present in all creative individuals, is the ability to enjoy the process of creation for its own sake. Without this trait, poets would give up striving for perfection and would write commercial jingles, economists would work for banks where they would earn at least twice as much as they do at universities, and physicists would stop doing basic research and join industrial laboratories where the conditions are better and the expectations more predictable.”

Paradoxical or not, what I have learned most is that there is no formula for individual creation. As Mihay says, “creative individuals are remarkable for their ability to adapt to almost any situation and to make do with whatever is at hand to reach their goals.” So, more than anything else, what it takes to be creative is resourcefulness and the courage not to give up.

 

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