Recent Posts

Kevin Smith vs Southwest Airlines - Fact or Fiction?

Written on February 19th, 2010 | Posted by Lisa B. Shosteck


This week the Inbox Insiders, an email marketing discussion group, had a lot to say about the Kevin Smith vs Southwest Airlines debacle. 

Here's what DJ Waldow of Blue Sky Factory, an eec Silver Sponsor, shared with us: 

I'm more interested in how Southwest handled the situation from a social media perspective. I can't speak to all channels, but I'll start with one of the most visible - Twitter. It started with a tweet from Kevin on Feb 13th at 6:52PM:

Dear @SouthwestAir - I know I'm fat, but was Captain Leysath really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?

@SouthwestAir replied 16 minutes later with this: @ThatKevinSmith hey Kevin! I'm so sorry for your experience tonight! Hopefully we can make things right, please follow so we may DM!

I personally think SWA's reply on Twitter was really good. Without knowing the full situation, they did a nice job in replying by acknowledging the issue, apologizing and offering to carry on the conversation privately (via DM).  From there it started to get ugly as Kevin Smith began to tweet like a madman using a ton of profanities.

The one issue I do have with how SWA handled this situation is that they may have jumped the gun a bit with their initial blog post.  It seems as though they might not have gotten all of their facts straight.

Takeaways, Lessons Learned, etc. (just my opinion here):

  • Social Media is alive and well.
  • People tend to use social media to either sing praises (We love you!) or complain (I was wronged. I hate you!).
  • While it is important to reply promptly, be sure to have all of your facts straight.
  • Remember that people will be quick to form their own opinions, take sides, and are not afraid to voice their thoughts publicly.
  • Twitter is not always the answer; it often takes real humans.
  • Sometimes it makes sense to "take it private" (as outlined by Amber Naslund).
  • Responding to customer service via social media channels is not really that different than how it "used to be done."

A few resources:

For more details, check out DJ's blog post.

eec'ers - What do you think?

Did Southwest handle the situation properly? 
Is this all a publicity stunt for Smith's new movie?
Do you think companies should publically respond to customer service issues?

Leave a comment below with your thoughts.



more » | comment »

Integrating Email Marketing & Social Strategies - What Do You Think?

Written on February 18th, 2010 | Posted by Nate Romance in Email, Email marketing, Social media


During last month's meeting of the eec List Growth and Engagement Roundtable, the group members shared their thoughts and experiences on the concept of integrating email marketing and social strategies.

Luke Glasner of Glasner Consulting opened the discussion by highlighting a successful program that he implemented where his company created Facebook and LinkedIn groups that focused on the same topics as a specific email newsletter that his company sends out. After creating these social groups, newsletter subscribers were encouraged to join the recently-built social communities to interact with others who had similar interests. “The connection worked both ways” said Glasner. “In addition to growing our social communities with our email subscribers, we also encouraged our social fans to join our email newsletter list.”

Stephanie Miller of Return Path asked the group about the value of having the same subscribers consuming your content from both email and social networks. Miller said “if the goal is to have multiple touchpoints with the same subscribers, then it’s fine to cross-pollinate. If you see your social followers and email subscribers as unique audiences, then sending them the same content probably isn’t the best strategy.” Miller sees this as a real challenge that all marketers face. “Before jumping into a social community, it’s important to think about the broader contact strategy and how these new channels will impact this. If your social followers are a fundamentally different group of customers than your email subscribers, then you should communicate with them differently, and not try a one size fits all message.”

Luke mentioned that for publishers, the cross-pollination of email and social customers makes sense. “The goal of many publishers is to generate exposure for advertisers. While social can do an excellent job of building community, the monetization of advertising is not as straight forward as it is in traditional email marketing.” Because of this, Glasner says “it’s important to drive your social fans to become email subscribers, as this creates the exposure that publishers and their advertisers want.”

Nate Romance of ExactTarget suggested that the various channels can have different value propositions for subscribers or fans, which makes subscriber overlap okay. “Consider a retailer who uses email to provide discounts and sales, uses Facebook as a way to get brand advocates to talk to one another and provide feedback on products, and uses Twitter to provide fast customer service responses.”  Romance says that because these three channels all provide a different value to subscribers, the subscriber overlap simply means that the subscriber can use the channel that makes the most sense for their need.

“Instead of just pushing offers through these three mediums, they are communicating with the same core group of subscribers, but providing different services to the customer through each of these. Companies get into trouble if they just view Twitter and Facebook as cheap email and try to just push the same ‘free shipping’ offer. It can be redundant, and if the offer is better (or worse) on one of the channels, subscribers will notice and can voice their frustrations about this.”

Adds Yael Penn of imagine 360, “People respond differently to different media. By reinforcing cross-channel, and making them play well together, having cross channel subscribers can increase the response rate of an integrated campaign.  Some people need the reinforcement of multiple channels before making a buying decision, and adding social media to an existing email marketing campaign can help accomplish this.”

Romance adds that individual subscribers or fans might have different perceptions of how they want to interact with various channels. “Some people might want to get information on Facebook, but feel like purchasing through an email is ‘safer’ or more professional. Need to reach the right subscriber with the right message and in their preferred channel at the right time.”

We want your feedback. Do you think it makes sense to have the same subscribers following you on social networks and on your email list? What are the pros and cons of this? We’d love to hear your feedback as comments on this post.


more » | comment »

Announcing ClickMail's New Vendor-Neutral Guide to Top Tier ESPs

Written on February 17th, 2010 | Posted by Marco Marini

Choosing a top tier email service provider (ESP) can be tough. With so many ESPs to choose from, each with their strengths, it can be challenging to make head-to-head comparisons.

That’s why last year we published a seminal whitepaper on how to rate ESPs, to help email marketers make an ESP choice based on the factors most important to their own organization and their unique requirements…not on any one ESP’s selling points. The whitepaper was immediately popular. Apparently marketers were hungry for that kind of objective information.

This year we updated the whitepaper and turned it into an annual guide, to stay current with the ever-changing world of email and ESPs. This new free, vendor-neutral guide to ESPs offers an unbiased yet exhaustive list of criteria complete with explanations about the significance of each factor.

It’s so impartial, it doesn’t even mention a single ESP by name. Rather than focus on telling you what this or that ESP can or can’t do, we’ve focused on your needs. We have 19 different things to consider when choosing an ESP based on what you need, not on what a particular ESP offers. It’s unlike any other ESP selection guide you’ve seen and its based on our 10 years of reselling and implementing the industry’s top-tier solutions.

To revise the whitepaper and make it new and improved as an annual guide, we:

  • Re-evaluated all 20 factors in light of email marketing in 2010. Based on that assessment, we significantly beefed up the integration information throughout
  • Removed four factors and added three:
  1. Data management tools
  2. Integration with add-on services
  3. Social media integration
  • Reorganized the factors alphabetically for better usability and objectivity

The guide now covers 19 of the most important considerations involved with ESP selection. For each of the factors, we’ve included details about why it matters and what to look for. The significance of each will vary from organization to organization. That’s why we’ve also kept the scoring sheet that was included with the original whitepaper. It will help you compare ESPs based on what’s important to your organization and your goals.

Publishing an updated ESP guide annually—rather than one whitepaper once—will enable us to keep the guide up-to-date with shifting trends and technologies, so no matter the year, you’ll have a vendor-neutral guide to, well, guide you.

Your ESP choice is critical to your success. Choose wisely. Choose well. And choose to start your selection process with this guide in hand.

Download the 2010 guide to choosing a top tier ESP.

- Marco Marini
ClickMail Marketing

more » | comment »

How Social Networking Can Magnify the Power of Your Email Campaigns

Written on February 10th, 2010 | Posted by Marco Marini in Email, Email marketing, Social media

Are you struggling to increase your in-house email list in order to extend your marketing reach? There is a growing percentage of the online population that does not sign up for emails or newsletters. Instead they get their information predominately through social networking sites and portals. To reach them, one has to get to them either through their contacts, the groups they belong to, or those they follow. But email can be the vehicle to do just that.

Email can enable and even encourage content to be shared with social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. This then allows for an extended reach to those people who haven’t opted in to receive emails from you. Plus the marketer retains some control over what specifically can be shared. For example, it might be a video, particular imagery, or a special offer. You as the marketer get to decide.

In addition to getting your content exposed to a much broader audience, sharing email content gives those doing the sharing the opportunity to add value to their respective networks. This is a huge motivator for many social networkers because it puts them in the role of trusted advisor. (Consider how often a tweet from someone in your network is simply a retweet.) This also allows a marketer to enable their audiences to evangelize on your behalf. 

This opportunity to reach the previously unreachable, and to simultaneously empower your audience to demonstrate value to their network, can lead to very high conversion rates, especially if your goal is to not only reach new prospects but also to add new subscribers to your in-house list.

The latest statistics indicate that the number of people seeing content increases approximately 24% with social networking/email integration compared to relying on email alone. That’s a massive increase for virtually no cost. FTF (forward to a friend) has been considered an email best practice for years, and it’s one marketers should keep doing. But social forwarding features blow it away when you look at the extended reach enabled by social networking vs. FTF email.

The typical social networker has approximately 160 connections. When they share something in their network, the message they are sharing is exposed to their whole network. Compare that quantity to the person who forwards an email using FTF: Typically 1 in 1,000 email recipients actually forwards via FTF, and of those that do, the vast majority forward to 3 people or less. And hardly any of them subscribe as the result of getting the forward. It’s easy to see that when you provide interesting, valuable and relevant content into a socially networked environment (i.e. content people will want to share), some of the new people you’ve just reached will sign up with your company directly for future news or shareworthy information.

When you add social networking integration via a tool like Share-to-Social or Social Forward, be sure to provide instructions to your audience about how to share specific offers or content, and help them understand why they should. Language such as “Click the Facebook icon to the right to share these recipes with your network” tells the user the action to take (click to share) and implies the benefit (you’ll delight your friends).

All of this, however, is predicated on having information worth sharing. Your content has to have value. It must be relevant, interesting and appealing. Period.

The organic list growth opportunity is staggering too, as the latest research from MarketingSherpa and authors David Daniels and Jeanniey Mullen* show that the typical lifetime value of a new email address is between $120 and $180 each! Growing your list by just 100 recipients would play out to something like a $15,000 lift to the bottom line. Cha-ching.

Email marketing still offers the highest ROI. Imagine what you can achieve when you multiply its reach by integrating social networking features into your email campaigns!

*In their book, Email Marketing: An Hour a Day

- Marco Marini
ClickMail Marketing

more » | comment »

A Call to Action for Standard Email Metrics

Written on January 31st, 2010 | Posted by Stephanie Miller in Eec, Statistics, Metrics


The email marketing industry needs standard reporting and metrics.

Today it is impossible to compare and benchmark response and deliverability rates across the industry because marketers get reports with different terms based on different calculations. Marketers are restricted in comparing reports and synchronizing data when looking to evaluate or change email broadcast vendors.

Inaccurate or inconsistent metrics diffuse the credibility of email marketers.  If our own metrics cannot conform to benchmarks, we lessen our ability to convince senior management and fellow digital marketers of our success.  It also hinders our ability to negotiate for resources.

You can help.  Read the quick background here and then take action with the links below.

The email marketing industry may be ignobly unique among direct and online marketing disciplines for our lack of measurement standardization.  For the past two years, the members of the eec Measurement Accuracy Roundtable (a volunteer member committee)  have wrestled with the problem of a lack of a consistent and unified standards for the most basic email metrics such as delivered, open and click.

Through our work, the Roundtable has built a foundation for industry standardization for these basic but important metrics.

We have created (and vetted) new definitions of key measures so that they are not only accurate, but the names accurately reflect the measure.  (You can read in past eec blog postings about the struggles and debates to come up with terms we could all support.)  Latest definitions are here.

We have surveyed dozens of email broadcast vendors (ESP's and MTA/on-premise providers) in order to audit existing reporting and gauge the level of variance across the industry.  Please note that the eec Roundtable does not support or claim that any one provider’s method of calculating common metrics is better than any other.  Many ESP's and other broadcast vendors participated in the development of these definitions.  We are very grateful for their support.

The Roundtable has repeatedly come to the industry – practitioners, eec members and thought leaders – to gather feedback and insights.

Now it’s time for action.

Here’s how you can help us start the ball rolling.  Join our launch efforts now.

Voice your support (or dissent) for standardization of metrics in our industry.  Take this one question survey.

Read the definitions

Tell us your thoughts and send in any corrections to the Roundtable.

CommitSign the petition to advance standard metrics now.

Join the Roundtable (eec members only).  Just email Ali at the eec.

Please place your comments below.  And stay tuned!

Thanks to the hard working members of the eec Measurement Accuracy Roundtable! 

- John Caldwell & Luke Glasner, eec Measurement Accuracy Roundtable Co-Chairs



more » | comment »

Platinum Sponsors
Gold Sponsors
  • Adestra-logo_100x31_
  • Clickmail_marteking_logo
  • Logo_harlandclarkedigitalsm
  • Strikeiron-225
  • Epsilon
Silver Sponsors
  • Logo_leadspend
  • Compendium-logo
  • Logo_silverpop_-_new_2009_-_smaller
  • Bwm_logo_eec
  • Acx-di-logo_final_color_small
  • Liveintent
  • O_eloqua_140x26
  • Logo_listrak_-_new_2010_-_smaller
  • Streamsendlogo_180x150
  • Logo_getresponse2012