Archive for November, 2008

Executive email cut-through

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Another thought sprang to mind whilst at the marketing research focussed Insight Show this week, as I find often happens when the mind is stimulated by presentations and sales pitches. There were several suppliers offering mobile-based research services, and one who suggested that executive response was improved through the mobile channel as senior managers are more likely to have a high quality mobile experience device like a BlackBerry, on which they might be motivated to spend a few minutes participating in a survey during downtime whilst travelling, perhaps.

At the same time, like me, you’ve probably been receiving an increasing number of emails that contain a “Read this on a mobile device” link (next to “If you can’t read this click here”) at the top of the message. I think this is pretty neat; as good as the BlackBerry is, it’s inability until recently to properly display html formatted emails is both a fairly unforgivable deficiency but also an email deliverability road block, as such emails can’t be read easily, if at all. A link to a mobile screen formatted version of the email viewable in the web browser is ideal for such recipients, allowing them to view a rich, if abbreviated version of the message. I’m always checking email in the coffee queue, which is a good time to get a marketing message to me when I’ve got a minute or two spare, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

Another trick to try out when the opportunity arises.

International Association for Information and Data Quality

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Also at the Data Management and Information Quality Conference (see previous post) I signed up with the snappily titled International Association for Information and Data Quality (IAIDQ), a worldwide organisation devoted to the pursuit and promotion of data quality. Professing that “All those impacted by poor data and information quality, and those who just want to learn more, are welcome”, I can recommend membership to anyone with an interest in this area. Registration is not expensive (I even received a free mug, although I can’t vouch for whether the offer is still available!) and provides access to a wealth of information and resources, including occasional webinars and online tutorials.

6 data quality rules

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Fine oratory (such as that of a certain Barack Obama) often deploys what’s known as the “tricolon” or rule of threes – three words or phrases that create a pleasing cadence and drive a message home. Whilst the oratory of information quality guru Larry English at the recent Data Management and Information Quality Conference may not quite have been of President-elect standard (though still pretty good!), here are two sets of three rules relating to data quality that I picked up – a double tricolon, if you will!

3 Steps to better data

  1. Understand – perform interactive analysis (profiling) to establish what you’re got and where any issues lie.
  2. Improve – apply change to both underlying data and processes to enhance data quality and address the issues identified in step 1.
  3. Protect and control – on an ongoing, business as usual basis ensure that issues are identified and improvements made.

Handle information as you would any asset

  1. Acquire – data, like other assets, must always come from somewhere, be it an external source such as a list broker or in-house data capture. Consider what these sources are and how they’re selected.
  2. Manage – assets such as plant, equipment and stock all need managing (especially if you’re stock is perishable, like data), so take care of it in the same way.
  3. Dispose – at the end of its lifecycle, an asset is disposed as it no longer has value or performs its task. Data decays and looses value, so plan for it’s disposal.

Customising business to business email

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Last night I attended the IDM Business Performance Awards 2008 presentation at the Kings Fund in London. Although the winners and featured case study was consumer orientated, consisting of a travel agent and their digital agency, I got to thinking how some of the techniques could be applied to business to business email activity.

A particularly neat aspect of the email creative being deployed to previous customers, encouraging them to book another holiday, was to use images from their previous destination or locations in which they had expressed an interest. In digital medium, this ought to be relatively straight forward of course, simply dropping the relevant graphic into the email at the point of broadcast based on a database variable. Despite how easy it might be, I’m not aware of too many people doing this kind of thing.

In a B2B context though, what sort of similar creative customisation could be undertaken? I use the word customisation deliberately, to distinguish from personalisation. The latter is the insertion of elements specific to the individual; a personalised salutation or use of a job title is an obvious example. Customisation is a broader alteration of the creative execution, usually based on a segmentation, thereby grouping a set of individuals together.

Everyone is familiar with personalisation, and to my mind it’s casual overuse in email subject lines such as “Simon, how are you tackling the pressures Acme Software faces?” I tend to avoid this type of personalisation, as it just seems like trying too hard. However creative customisation of email from a software company, along the lines of the travel example above, don’t immediately present themselves. A picture of the box the CD comes in, depending on which product the recipient browsed? Mmmm, I don’t think that’s going to win an award!

Instead, how about a creative customisation based on the industry of the recipient. A subtle image depicting their industry, be it a production line, trading desk or retail outlet conveys an appreciation of the recipient’s world helps show that as marketers we’re paying attention. The subject could even be customised to make reference to the industry as well. Corny stock photography needs to be avoided of course, but that’s not my area of expertise! I haven’t had the chance to try it yet, I’ll let you know when I do and do share your own experience too.