The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

Trend: Permission Equals Performance.

Consumers now demand a greater sense of control over their relationship with a brand. Email marketers specifically have had great success creating this relationship via explicit and documented permission-based marketing. A recent eMarketer article noted that as a result of permission,“consumers are more open to email messaging than most other digital marketing.” In fact, it is the trust and ease of control that comes with this approach that has made consumers more open to further communication.

The permission-based marketing trend has proven effective and fruitful in the email community and will soon make its way into the structure of all other digital marketing. Marketers, having seen emails’ success, will tackle this change by providing their customers with detailed, open and explicit permission programs.

Takeaway: Prepare for a permission-based culture.

There is no question that permission in email marketing is essential. However, ALL digital marketers must be aware that permission-based advertising will eventually affect their brand. There has been a shift in technology that now gives the consumer greater power to demand permission from brands. Now is the time to prepare your strategy for this shift.

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Trend: Marketing Masters: They’re Publishing Content. Are You?

If you’re not creating content, start! If you are, create more!

These days marketing success goes beyond banners, email and search engine marketing. With the proliferation of digital channels and the screens that support them, marketers need to invest more in content development that entertains, delights, educates and moves their customers to buy. In the past decade, the quants overtook marketing departments at the cost of creativity, resulting in a sea of mediocre content.

Since the demand for content is growing to a louder beat, balance is gradually being restored as companies rush to strengthen their customer bonds through videos, blogs, social media and games. Contrary to the trend, effective content development doesn’t require big budgets. In fact, small to medium sized businesses in particular can master content marketing without blowing their creative budgets and in a way that adds value to their brand.

Almost a year ago, we wrote about the value of a strong content marketing campaign in our post “Giving Content Development High Priority”. Back then we stressed its importance as a foundation for marketing automation. However, today the value of quality content goes far beyond that. Tony Quin, CEO of IQ, a full service agency said in a recent post for Marketing Daily that “compelling content is the currency that buys your customer’s attention and affection long before they reach the stage of comparing features and benefits.” Knowing this, its obvious that every business CAN and SHOULD be a publisher. There is an immense amount of marketing clutter out there for businesses to compete with. Creating content that adds value to your brand will be what separates you from the competition.

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Trend: Designing for the tablet experience: Marketers will need to brand for optimization within the tablet interface.

iPad passes Mac computer in sales. The tablet is the new frontier.

It’s official. Consumers are tablet crazy; so much so that they are choosing the mobile devices over computers. It’s that time again marketers, just when you’ve finally optimized for mobile…

A look into Apples record breaking year provides an impressive example of the tablets’ rapid rise in popularity. In 2011, the company sold over 156 million iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch), 55 million of which were iPads. To put this in perspective, in just one year combined sales of these mobile devices have exceeded the 122 million Mac computers ever sold. Since it was first available for pre-order in March of 2010, the sales trend of the iPad has blown all other Apple products out of the water (see figure below). CEO Tim Cook commented “This 55 is something no one would have guessed. Including us. To put it in context, it took us 22 years to sell 55 million Macs. It took us about 5 years to sell 22 million iPods, and it took us about 3 years to sell that many iPhones. And so, this thing is, as you said, it’s on a trajectory that’s off the charts.” There has been buzz for some time of the possible upcoming announcement of the iPad3, and today we have verification via Mashable that Apple has sent out invitations for an event on March 7th. The invitation states simply “We have something you really need to see. And touch” and according to Mashable is "superimposed on what is almost certainly an iPad". Knowing this, it is more crucial than ever for marketers to take to heart the magnitude of this trend. It has been rumored that the newest generation iPad will have a full operating system, providing the user with a full blown hand held computer, and conceivably further intensifying this trend. Yes, Apple is just one example, but I think it’s safe to say they are usually ahead of the trend. Assessing how we communicate via tablet will be paramount. 

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Trend: Facebook Timeline for individuals is here. Learn now how to make it work for your business.

Back in September, Facebook unveiled their newest update, “Timeline”, poised to eventually replace users “Walls”. At that time, the update was only available to developers; but according to a Facebook spokesperson, the roll out should be completed to all users within the next few weeks. If you have yet to make the switch on your personal profile, it’s about that time. You must be rolling your eyes and sighing at the thought of yet another Facebook update. However, this one’s worth it. It’s going to be a game changer. Marketers need all the time they can get to acclimate themselves with the new interface before Timeline is launched for brand pages.

Takeaway: Tell the story of your business.

Facebook Timeline for businesses is unknown territory, but the question is not IF it will happen, but WHEN. According to a recent Mashable article, it’s a known fact that “consistency in both functionality and appearance is really important to Facebook” but logically, they need to have their base of personal users switched over before delving into business profiles. So for the time being, marketers need to do as much research and planning as possible. I have come up with a few notable predictions for when the Timeline rolls out to brand pages…

The “cover photo” will be the golden egg. It will allow marketers free reign to customize a billboard-like space above their page, essentially affording them prime real estate for free. The possibilities are endless. Additionally, it has been suggested that the new Timeline will create an increased emotional experience between brand and customer. It will no longer be a blasting of “check out this sale!” or “Like our page!” Customers and brands will now interact in a way that is more peer to peer. Sharing “life events” with each other via the Timeline will help solidify this. Finally, the switch from a “wall” view to a Timeline now allows page owners to change dates/times/places of past events, as well as add in new “life events”. I see this leading brands to post such “life events” within their timeline and challenging customers to engage in a scavenger hunt of sorts. A post embedded within the Timeline that includes a deal or special offer will not only drive traffic to the page but will increase engagement beyond the typical news feed skimming. I predict the Timeline change will alter the way customers interact with businesses. According to a Facebook representative, so far “very few people ever return to a Facebook brand’s page after liking it. People are 40-120x more likely to see your posts in their news feed.” The Timeline is like a brand’s own personal news feed. Marketers will need to make the most of this change and reward returning customers.

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Trend: Location Based Services-We want it here and we want it now.

28% of Americans are using mobile and social location based services for everything from driving directions to dinner reservations.

I must say I was surprised to read that only a quarter of us are gathering information through location based searches, mostly because I cannot imagine a day where I myself could be without that mobile connection. Personal preference aside, consumer usage of LBS’s is on the rise. We can now accomplish just about anything as long as we have a cell signal or wifi. Essentially we have been afforded the opportunity to be mobile powerhouses on a hyper local level. I can get step by step directions to that obscure sushi joint for a business lunch and locate the closest pharmacy that carries a very specific flavor of Tums, all while booking a romantic ski getaway, complete with nightly dinner reservations. And that was just between metro stops. Consumers are becoming increasingly needy and will continue to interact with LBS’s that play to that trait. It is no longer enough to base purchasing decisions off testimonial information. We want the best of the best, that’s right down the block, and we want it discounted.

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The Email Monetization Playbook
Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!

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Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!