OMI Blog Moving to OMI Website!

OMI Blue MDHi Everyone,

2013 has started off with a bang here at Outward Media!  We have moved our blog to our website and I hope you will continue to follow our posts there.  You will have to re-subscribe on the new site — sorry about that!!  I couldn’t figure out a way to do it for you or I would have.     : )

Also, in other exciting news, we have added another blogger to the site — Mariana Weber.  Mariana is new to OMI and a fabulous addition to our team.  I think you’ll love her posts — and we both promise to continue posting about both the relevant AND the fun.

See you at the new OMI Blog soon!





Email Marketing Success tied to Marketing Automation

30332268I’ve talked a lot about how email marketing is both art and science in the past.  This has never been more true than today.  Whether you market to businesses or consumers, using an part art/part scientific approach to how you market to them has never been more important.  And, using a well-thought-out process that includes targeting and segmentation, then really tweaking your message to make it extremely relevant to those segments is key to email marketing success.  And, as I’ve pointed out before, it is equally important to start with clean email address data and email deployment tools and strategy.

So, how do you effectively accomplish all of this?  With the exploding numbers of marketing channels available to your business to communicate and interact with customers and prospects, how do you capture all of this rich information and effectively apply the intelligence to your email marketing campaigns?

Two words  . . .  Marketing Automation.

Sandra Zoratti wrote (yet another) great article recently on the Marketing Automation in BtoBOnline.  She defines marketing automation like this:

In other words, [marketing] automation is the creating and sending out the evocative, subjective, creative (art) messaging that helps us, as b-to-b marketers, better engage with our prospects and clients.”

So true!  With marketing automation, you can actually start to bond with your customers through your marketing interactions.  Marketing automation tools (now available at a myriad of price-points and complexity) will help you better capture the rich inbound customer interactions (tied to specific behaviors) so that you can make all of your outbound communications much more relevant to each segment, and therefore, successful.

In her article, Zoratti also points out the three common deficiencies resident in companies trying to build more personal, targeted and personal communications programs (a leading strategy according to the CMO Council):

1)  Poor data gathering techniques and analytics.

2)  Siloed data and, as a result, inaccessible data.

3)  Inaccurate and/or unclean data

With a marketing automation solution in place, however, these deficiencies can be remedied over time — making all marketing efforts much more effective.  Zoratti comments:

We b-to-b marketers need help to capture and leverage the power that lies latent in data, create customized content based on that analysis and then measure results and learn from each marketing action.  Over time and through iterative learning, we get better and better at content marketing and speaking relevantly to our customers.

And, marketing automation helps you get there.  If you haven’t considered using a marketing automation solution to help you market better, you should definitely take a look at what is available in the market.  Marketing automation will definitely lift your marketing efforts to the next level and help you extract more success from each campaign over time — because you are marketing smarter.  As Zoratti says,  “When leveraged properly, marketing automation can drive big results for retention, engagement and your bottom line.”  And, that spells marketing s-u-c-c-e-s-s!

By the way, if you haven’t had a chance to read Sandra’s book called Precision Marketing, you owe yourself a great Holiday gift.  This book provides excellent perspective on how to market with precision — and enhance your entire marketing strategy while doing so.  I highly recommend it.

Happy Holidays!

Time to take a Survey on Email Marketing for Free Stuff?

smallbannerFor those of you in the Marketing space, you probably know all about Marketing Sherpa.  For those who aren’t familiar, they are a research institute, specializing in what works in all aspects of marketing.  We’ve become quite fond of them, and this year, we are helping to get the word out about their annual email marketing survey.  I thought I’d invite my blog readers to also take part and share your valuable email marketing strategies, insights and best practices in this important survey for our industry —  2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Survey.

Because we specialize in the email marketing space, we can’t wait to see the results of the survey.  I’ve reviewed the reports from the past couple of years and they are truly mesmerizing as marketers from all across the US discuss what they are doing to capitalize on this important direct marketing channel.  The survey is distributed to a wide audience of marketers as the intent is to gain perspectives about a wide range of email marketing topics.  The hope is to gain responses from all levels within the marketing department or agency — entry-level marketers, right up to the CMOs.

Because we are participating as a “word spreader,” those who click on our link to take the survey also get a great complimentary report.  It is the MarketingSherpa report – 30-Minute Marketer: Email Subject Lines  and it includes:

  • How to write specific subject lines, and why
  • Tips on teasing readers into opening
  • How “front-loading” a subject line can boost open rates
  • The results of several subject line tests

I have a copy of this report and I think it will definitely provide some ideas for each of you to improve your email marketing campaigns.  So, I say — go for it! : )

The length of this survey will vary depending on your answers, but will require approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.  The best part of all of this is that if you answer the open-ended questions publicly (you can also do so anonymously if you have a tendency to be shy) and/or provide quotes that Marketing Sherpa can publicize (and your quote is selected for publication), you also have an opportunity to receive a free copy of the Benchmark Report.  Last year’s copy was over 200 pages (at a cost of $450) of really great insight on the email marketing space — what is working, what isn’t, what’s on the radar, etc.  Pretty cool stuff.  That’s why I’m posting this on my blog — I hope you all take part and get both publications.  That would make me really happy.

Here’s the link again . . . and thanks for participating if you can find the time to do so!

2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Survey




American Express’ Small Business Saturday — Shop Local on 11/24

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know I get downright giddy over American Express‘ Small Business Saturday.  It just makes me happy that a Fortune 100 company is promoting the efforts of all of the wonderful small businesses that are doing so much to drive our economy forward.  So happy, in fact, that I’ve already mapped out where I’m going to shop on Saturday, and am planning my Holiday list accordingly.  American Express has sponsored a site — called ShopSmall — so that you can map out your Saturday shopping as well.

Small Business Saturday was founded in 2010 when American Express decided that they wanted to do something to support small businesses, and to help them get a larger share of the dollars spent during one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year.  In the second year (2011), over 100 million shoppers came out and shopped at independently-owned businesses on Small Business Saturday.  Every year, American Express plans new tools and promotions for the SMB sector to use to more effectively promote their businesses and to take part in the annual event.

As consumers who shop at small businesses on November 24th, as long as you enroll  your American Express credit card, you will also receive a $25 statement credit when you spend more than $25 at a registered small business (details on how to do this are included in the FAQ section of the ShopSmall website).  So, you’re supporting the business and you get a $25 credit!  Pretty cool stuff.

For small businesses, American Express is offering free online advertising, marketing materials and ideas on how to promote yourselves to get more people through the door.  Small businesses also have an opportunity to learn from other businesses who have taken part in Small Business Saturday in prior years.

Why is this so important?  American Express sports a great infographic on the website that provides some very interesting statistics on the importance of small businesses to the US economy:

  • Small businesses pay 44% of the private payroll in the US.
  • 89% of consumers state that they believe that small business plays a positive role in their communities.
  • Small business created 65% of the net new jobs in the US in the 17 year period ending in 2009.

So, get out there this coming Saturday and support your local small businesses!  And kudos to American Express for making this a Thanksgiving holiday weekend tradition!  You can comment on this or follow on Twitter at #smallbizsat.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!


CEO/CMO Perspectives on Deriving Intelligence from B2B Social Media

The Southern California Business Marketing Association (SoCal BMA) put on yet another stellar event this week. This event featured speaker Jacques Pavlenyi of IBM in a Part 2 of B2B Social Media and its impact on business leaders — and business in general.  Pavlenyi tied this topic into the recent CEO and CMO studies that IBM conducts on a regular basis — to provide some very interesting perspectives on how social media is impacting B2B marketers, and some of the challenges involved with the onslaught of data coming from social channels.  You may remember my post  reviewing Part 1 of this 2-part Executive Roundtable Series back in August.  Well, Part 2 was just as brilliant!

Pavlenyi is an excellent speaker and is so very passionate about his topic.  Here are some of the key takeaways that I noted from Part 2.  Most of my “aha” moments in Part 2 came from the two studies.  All of these studies are available (for no charge) from IBM. I highly recommend downloading them.  They are really interesting.

IBM Institute for Business Value 2012 CEO Study(1709 CEO’s surveyed across geography, industries) — points of interest:

  • Out-performing CEO’s embrace flatter, more open business structures and excel at executing tough change.
  • CEO’s who excel do so by creating economic value by engaging customers as individuals.  They accomplish this by ensuring better access to data, insight and then translating those findings into action.
  • Out-performing organizations are twice as good at deriving value from data — and understand that this is the key to engaging customers as individuals.
  • High performing organizations let big data: 1) reveal the customer you never knew, (2) lets them listen to the customers lavishly, (3) helps them to respond with focus and (4) helps them to be where their customers expect them to be (from a social media perspective).

IBM Institute for Business Value 2011 CMO Study (1700 CMO’s surveyed across geographies and industries) — points of interest:

  • CMO’s are increasingly challenged by having more data and having to use technologies that their kids use to track it. They also have less time than ever to solve the problems associated with this (average CMO tenure is < 3 years).
  • An overwhelming number of CMO’s are under-prepared for (1) the data explosion, (2) the amount of data from social media, (3) shifting channel device choices (mobile), and (4) shifting demographics.
  • Over-performing CMO’s deliver value to empowered customers, foster lasting connections (transactional relationships no longer will cut it), and they have a focus on capturing value and measuring results.

From my viewpoint, these two studies present an interesting conundrum that is taking place within organizations today.   Successful CEO’s seem to understand the importance of being able to capture, analyze and measure data from all channels — then use the intelligence gleaned from it to treat customers as individuals, as opposed to markets and/or simple transactions.  Many CMO’s, however, seem to be so overwhelmed by the barrage of data from all of the different channels and so underwhelmed by the measurement tools, that it is hard for them to make this actually happen.  And this is impacting their customer relationships — as well as their longevity at their companies.


To better support these harried CMO’s, Pavlenyi pointed out that companies like IBM, Marketo, Hubspot and Salesforce/Radian6 are creating tools to help with this.  These companies support efforts to decipher, integrate and translate all of this rich data into actionable steps.  These tools better support the large amount of data derived from social media channels — the very data that allows us to understand so much more about our customers (interests, opinions, behaviors)  than any simple B2B marketing database.  There are still many free applications available that track parts of this data — but in order to get to what these over-performing CEO’s require, you need a tool that is going to help you integrate and understand the data so that you can use it to better communicate with customers.

Pavlenyi wrapped up his conversation on these two studies  by making a really important point: Because of social media, every person in an organization is now involved in creating and shaping the corporate character and furthering the development of the brand.  And Marketing leads the charge by:

  • Managing the brand reputation
  • Enhancing the engagement of all customers
  • Expanding data collection and analytics by working across business silos for the benefit of the customer. 

Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) has been the general focus of CMOs. While the focus obviously needs to be there, it needs to be combined with a focus on the customer experience.  I know — easier said than done when you are running around with your hair on fire trying to get campaigns out the door.  Luckily, with the increasing numbers of tools (in all price ranges), there is definite hope on the horizon for managing the avalanche of data available to us from social media  — and all — marketing channels.

Kudos to the SoCal BMA for putting on another great event!  And kudos to Jacques Pavlenyi for another great — and insightful — presentation.  I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!

The Marketer’s Mandate: Get Relevant, Get Real, or Get Lost

I met a fabulous new friend last week, Sandra Zoratti.  Sandra is a writer, speaker, VP Marketing at Ricoh —  and an overall great marketer.  Like me, she believes in using a very precise methodology in regard to direct marketing.  In fact, Sandra (along with her colleague Lee Gallagher) just published a book called “Precision Marketing.”  I’ve bought it and have been voraciously reading it — and it is fabulous.  I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to improve the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.

Sandra also authored a post recently that really resonated with me about how data — and the right data — can really help to drive your direct marketing efforts.  So much so . . . that I thought I’d share it with my readers, too.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!  Here it is . . .


Every day, we see 5,000 messages.

In a single day, 294 billion emails are sent, 534 million Facebook updates are posted, 400 million tweets are tweeted, and 2 million blog posts are written.

Over-the-top?  By a loooooong shot.

For a marketing professional trying to reach the customer, cutting through this cacophony with traditional marketing methods is simply not possible.

What’s the solution?

It starts with relevance and content marketing.  Becoming credible in a post-social media world requires prescriptive content. Attempts to communicate generically are swallowed whole by the vast and ever-growing channels of digital communication that exist today. Precision Marketing –using data-driven insights to find the relevant targets, create relevant messaging and measure relevant metrics – equips the marketing professional to deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time via the right channel(s).

Let’s take a look at to demonstrate Precision Marketing in action:

Rapid Racking Ltd is a B2B company located in the UK.  They sell racking solutions to other businesses and acquire new customers primarily via print catalogs.  However, printing and distributing catalogs can be a costly way to acquire new customers if it is not precise and targeted.  Here is an excerpt of Rapid Racking’s story from the book “Precision Marketing:  Maximizing Revenue Through Relevance”:

Business Problem: Rapid Racking, a UK-based maker of shelving and racking for businesses, blasted out millions of copies of their 160-page product catalogs to any potential B2B shelving buyer. The company needed to REDUCE the customer acquisition costs while maintaining a stream of new customers.

Data-Driven Solution: Rapid Racking gathered all data on hand to determine how to use data to reduce costs by creating better relevance for prospective customers. The company’s marketers looked at the data they could collect on the prospects –such as job title and job responsibility –and then used current in-house data on existing customers to predict which prospects were the most promising

Results: Rapid Racking now mails more targeted, much smaller and less expensive mini-catalogs vs. mailing 4 million massive catalogs to an entire list of “untargeted” prospects. A 47% decrease in the cost per acquired customer has been achieved while maintaining an 8% rate of revenue growth.  All this while Rapid Racking reduced pieces mailed by 25%.

Data is the gold mine that can transform marketing.  Data drives Insights, Insights drive Relevance and Relevance drives Revenue.  -Sandra

Email Marketing = Social Network?

I came across a fabulous article from Econsultancy today entitled: “Email: the Forgotten Social Network.”  I’ve always felt that the email channel was a feeder to or promoter of traditional (did I just say that?) social media networks — but I never thought of it as a social network all unto itself.  However, the article makes some excellent points:

Successful email marketing and the network of sites and applications that make up what we today call social media rely on three important elements:

  • Engaging content.
  • Accompanying and relevant links.
  • The ability to share information.

Hellooooo . . .  email marketing is a social network!  And here I’d always thought it was a direct marketing channel.

The article points to some other excellent points . . . like:

  • There are 2.9bn email accounts worldwide (The Radicati Group, Inc. Releases Email Statistics Report, 2010-2014).
  • Email is still one of the most popular online activities: 92% of U.S. adults online use email (Pew Research Center 08/09/2011).
  • 86% of people 18 and over share content via email (Marketing Profs October 2010).
  • Email is the preferred method of commercial communication by 74% of all online adults (Merkle View From the Digital Inbox 2011).
  • 58% of people in the U.S. start their online day by reading their email (ExactTarget ìEmail X-Factor Study 2010).
  • U.S. internet users engage with an average of 11.8 brands via Email, compared to 9.4 brands via Facebook and 7.9 brands via Twitter (ExactTarget Subscribers, Fans, and Followers: The Social Profile 2010).

Email marketing is such a powerful tool — but obviously, you have to do it correctly.  Many of us are absolutely addicted to our smart-phones.  And more and more people are responding to emails on mobile devices, so response rates are continuing to increase — even as more email campaigns are deployed.  As usual, the more relevant, targeted and compelling the offer is, the more success you will have.

So, use our newest social network . . . . email . . . for your upcoming campaigns.  Don’t forget you can also use it to promote your Twitter and Facebook pages, too (old-school social networks). : )