September 16, 2008

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Quickly Boosting E-Mail Productivity iPost figures marketers need to get more bang from their e-mail campaigns. So they've formulated and bottled the classic, proven direct marketing tactic known as RFM (recency,frequency, monetary value) into an automated tool called AutoTarget that works withtheir platform and soon can be added-on to any ISP solution. Since 96% of marketers use e-mail as a marketing channel, according to Forrester, VP Marketing Craig Kerr thinks, " Marketers don't need any more data. Most mid-tier companies don't have the time or the people to process all the data they already have. They need fast, easy and intuitive tools to help them use the data they have to get better results and bigger ROI from the e-mail campaigns they're running." Its a simple premise aimed at kick-starting the use of metrics and analytics in a medium considered to be cheap, fast and somewhat effective. Take the most valuable DM concept -- the first, best cut at the data. Bake it into a tool that e-mail marketers can easily access. Upload purchase histories and e-mail lists. Spit out segments graphically. Get the most lift with the least effort. And while AutoTarget will not be a substitute for a CRM system, a BI package or a stand-in for insightful thinking about segments, offers or creative, it will take the purchase histories of names on an e-mail list and in 24 hours parse them into 125 cells based on recency of purchase, frequency of purchase and cash value of purchases. Ranked from 111 for one-time low value buyers to 555 for frequent high margin customers, the data is displayed in punchy bar graphs to help marketing and executive types to quickly see patterns in the business which will drive decisions about where to apply their finite time and money for maximum incremental effect. E-mail marketers get better results faster by abandoning the practice of blasting often and hoping for the best. Looking at the segments will give even novice marketers a quick feeling for which customers are most engaged and which can yield the most incremental sales. Knowing this can lead to decisions about who to address, what to offer and how often to contact them -- basically a metrics-driven mindset in a box. The data will also help marketers make the case for the business value of the e-mail channel, which is often undercut by its low cost and frequent use.
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After the Fall: Salvaging Financial Services Marketing The Wall Street meltdown upended the positioning and customer credibility of most financial institutions. Catastrophic loss and universal shock forces an almost complete re-positioning and messaging to consumers by the surviving banks, brokerages and insurance companies. Rethinking fundamental marketing concepts and messages come in the wake of widespread feelings of helplessness, fear and loss which are frequently followed by anger, resentment, finger-pointing, name-calling and blame. Every financial services advertiser who promised safety and security was found wanting. Those offering growth and insight were caught flat-footed. And those promising customized service were either overwhelmed or on radio silence. Nobody really knew what was happening, when or what to do about it and consumers were basically on their own; adrift in a turbulent sea.. Now with personal finances and macro-structures in disarray consumers are reeling over losses and struggling to salvage savings or portfolios. The task of rebuilding trust and growth will require much more than a snappy new tagline or a shiny new spokesperson. It will demand a basic change in how financial services firms address customers. Since 9/15 nobody believes that a banker, a broker or an insurance agent can protect them. And many consumers blame their trusted advisor's for getting them into trouble. Financial service marketers have to take these five steps to have even a shot at rebuilding credibility and reducing defections. 1. Face Facts. Admit that the cascade of actions overwhelmed you and apologize. Don't try to stonewall. Don't whine about your own losses. Don't try to appear to be fellow victims. Your customers see you as the bad guy worthy of blame regardless of the facts or your perspective. 9/15 was an emotional flashback to 9/11 with more, personal consequences for more of the population.You cannot swim against this perceptual tsunami. Think like a Japanese -- bow deeply and apologize. 2. Place Yourself in the Food Chain. Explain clearly to customers where you fit in the bigger picture and explain which stressors on the system (sub-prime debt, credit default swaps, low liquidity) affect your operations. As soon as the Feds figure out their plan, map your services and offerings to it. Present yourself in the new marketplace context. And it wouldn't hurt to offer free consultations or services, extended hours and financing planning resources aimed at retirees, parents paying for college, newlyweds, new homeowners and other segments with common anxieties and needs. 3. Don't Make Excuses. I'm sorry will work best. Nobody will buy the reasons why you didn't know what was going on or the reasons why you didn't proactively warn your customers or advise them to move earlier, faster or smarter. The damage is done. Focus on digging out. Credibility will rest on the degree to which you acknowledge it and the number and quality of ideas you have for helping people get back on their feet and back on track. 4. Show the Way Forward. Map your offerings and services toward the common goal -- rebuilding, growth and safety. Don't look back look ahead. Present your offers in terms that directly align with customer goals which are to recover as much as they can and protect whatever they've got left. Incentives, special offers and clear education and direction on what to do will be appreciated. 5. Be Part of the Solution. Offer direct pro-active advice. Do what your customers think you should have been doing all along. The biggest element driving the panic was the sense that individuals and even institutions could do nothing but watch the dominoes fall. As the pundits and the media struggle to offer solutions, proactively take a position. Offer clear advice on what to do based on distinct investment objectives. Don't hedge. Don't equivocate. Pick a few smart things to do and push them loud, clear and often.

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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