Archive for the ‘Customer Relationship Management’ Category

Percassity Perspectives

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Latest edition of my company newsletter.

Issue 6, January 2011 In the news this issue, we highlight fines levied in the UK for data privacy breaches and examine trends in social media marketing. Our guest contribution looks at some key considerations regarding vertical specific CRM solutions, plus our usual round-up of Percassity updates, events and round-up from the web.

Percassity Perspectives

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Latest edition of my company newsletter.

Issue 5, October 2010 This edition’s news round up takes a look at the potential of transactional emails, the BBC’s take on social media monitoring and court action against the UK by the EU data protection authorities. We also write on how old-style email campaigns waste marketing resources, and look at some low cost CRM technology solutions for SME’s.

Percassity Perspectives

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Latest edition of my company newsletter.

Issue 2, January 2010 Includes articles on the growing primacy of customer intelligence specialists, the emergence of the chief customer officer, more Google news, and the final installment of How to kick off your CRM system project. We also add a new “Vacancies” section.

Alternative approaches to subject line personalisation

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Over coffee with a client’s VP of Marketing last month, we came up with an idea for customising (or customizing!) subject lines in email marketing. It’s well known that subject lines are a key determinant of open rates and every good campaign should involve the testing of different variations to establish which one  performs best. Considerations often revolve around personalisation or length (with regards to whether shorter or longer is better), but we got to thinking that quirky or straight might also have an effect.

Some people, we concluded, might quite enjoy an email subject like “Have lunch on us whilst we talk about our stuff!”, whereas others may prefer a more serious tone along the lines of “Learn the benefits of our products over lunch”. This could be tested over a sequence of campaign executions and the individual open rate for each recipient recorded to see whether they tended to respond better to one type of line or another. This implied preference could then be recorded within the email or marketing database and utilised as a customisation parameter in future activity.

Of course any number of other factors could influence an individual’s open rate so ongoing monitoring and adjustment would be needed to ensure peak effectiveness. Just an idea though, and I set it free here for your consideration. If you give it a go, let me know how you get on!

Percassity Perspectives

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Having started a business earlier in the year, we’ve just commenced publishing a (hopefully!) bi-monthly email newsletter, which we’re calling Percassity Perspectives. Since the subject matter crosses-over with this blog, I plan to post a quick link to the newsletter on our website every time we publish. Enjoy!

Issue 1, October 2009 With a news round up including the latest in data protection developments in Europe, marketing technology product news, the latest from Google, and the first part of our guide How to kick off your CRM system project.

Your eyes only – data driven personalised web advertising

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

I don’t tend to cover web related matters here too much, even though website management has formed part of my role at times. However, when specific opportunities come up for integrating or enhancing insight with web techniques, I’m always interested. At this week’s Technology for Marketing exhibition I stopped by online ad serving solution provider Mediaplex, for a run-down on their services. In brief, they hold advertisers’ online adverting inventory and serve it to media sites where advertising has been placed. In this way, the are able to ensure the latest version of an ad, appropriate to the audience in which it is being displayed, without the advertiser having the nightmare of managing myriad different advertising locations and creative executions manually.

Such services get more sophisticated though, in that they are able to recognise repeat visitors to a given site (through the use of cookies) and serve a version of the ad appropriate to such an individual; perhaps building on a creative theme or trying an alternative messaging angle. In addition, whilst at a rudimentary level, this technology is beginning to allow one-to-one advertising, or at least ads that are highly segmented. By linking their ad serving platform to an advertiser’s CRM data, it becomes possible to create customer and prospect segments to which specific messaging and creative can be targeted. By recognising visitors using previously placed cookies, highly relevant advertising can be placed, appropriate to the individual’s purchasing cycle or previously stated requirements, perhaps.

Mediaplex don’t have real-time links from their platform to CRM systems today, relying on relatively unsophisticated batch data transfer to share segmentation and ad targeting rules. The possibilities to build on this readily present themselves though, and apart from the usual privacy and “big brother” considerations, another powerful use of marketing data presents itself for improving relevance and effectiveness of marketing communications.

Using web visits to build contact profiles

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

My current marketing operations role includes responsibility for local EMEA websites, and so I’ve been giving thought to better integrating data capture and web analytics with the marketing database.

At the moment there is no consistency among the “contact us” web enquiry forms across the various local country websites, with each one capturing different information, in varying formats and pick-list values, with one or two sites having no form at all. Implementing a consistent set of web forms is obviously pretty straight forwards (even for us!) but of course I want to do better than that! I’m planning to deploy a rapid addressing technology that will speed up form completion and improve address quality. This isn’t anything terribly new of course, but doing it across multiple countries is a little more involved. I’ll post an update soon with how we’re getting on.

Whilst working on that though, I’m thinking further ahead about how the information that website visitors’ browse can be linked back to the database to build contact profiles. Working on the basis that a browser will visit pages with information of interest to them, it should be possible to utilise this display of interest to determine what further information should be sent in future marketing communications. This is not perfect of course, since we all click through to pages and then decide we’re not interested, but overlaying additional information such as page viewing times and frequency of viewing pages with relevance to particular topics (i.e. products, technologies or issues) can contribute to profile refinement.

Relevance is a crucial aspect of marketing communications of course, ensuring engagement and click through, whilst preventing opt-out, so anything that can enhance this should be taken seriously. Technically it shouldn’t be too difficult, as standard web analytics already tracks page views and a visitor’s course through the site and this can be linked to an individual’s session. Clearly, the visitor needs to be encouraged to register with the site in order to “de-anomomise” this click-stream data, which is where enhancing the form completion experience comes in.

The final aspect, it goes without saying, is with regards to privacy. Most website visitors are aware that their browsing is being tracked I think (especially the types of people visiting a technology vendor’s site), but might be rather more perturbed at the though of it being linked back to them individually. I think this can be dealt with through a clear and up-front privacy statement though, definitely not buried on a disclaimer page, and the benefits presented as well (more relevant communications on topics of interest). Clearly, website visitors need to have confidence that they’re not going to be spammed as a result of agreeing to this, but it’s up to us as responsible marketers to treat such opt-in with respect. We only have ourselves to blame if our target market opt-out as a result of over-communication, becoming unavailable to us forever after.

Breaking the indiscriminate, high volume email campaign culture prevalent among some marketers can be challenging, but it’s crucial not only for marketing effectiveness but also if marketing itself is to be taken seriously.

The secret to CRM & Marketing data management?

Saturday, May 12th, 2007

If you’re a reader of marketing data consultancy Marketing Improvement‘s informative email newsletter, you may remember an article entitled “Decouple The Data – the secret to CRM & Marketing?”. In the piece, marketers are encouraged to take a copy of data from core applications and use it for campaign execution in a more flexible tool. It’s a common and compelling approach but it has drawbacks that I felt were somewhat glossed over.

It’s certainly the case that marketing departments are “always experimenting with new ideas, new sources of data and new segmentation” and as such need the kind of flexibility and lead times which corporate IT systems cannot offer. In fairness, the demands made by marketing campaign managers sometimes make me cringe, but this is a dynamic discipline which must be able to respond to events. Consequently, adding a new field or even a value to a look-up list can become necessary at short notice but which could represent months on an IT development road map. Marketers can’t wait!

Marketing Improvement’s solution is to “decouple the data”, taking a copy from central systems and setting up regular data feeds to a marketing database. They do make it clear that such a system should not exist in isolation, but this is to simplify the issue. How frequent will the update feeds be? Who will provide them? Can you easily make changes? Will you be sent just new and amended data or everything? Who will load this data? How will any changes made in the marketing database (such as privacy updates or address corrections) be sent back to the central system?

Implementing a stand alone marketing database is often the right approach, allowing Marketing to get on with its job unhindered. But think carefully before abandoning an existing corporate system that with a little effort can be coaxed into meeting your needs.

When Sales ask why a key contact didn’t receive the mailer that just went out and you have to start explaining arcane data processes, you may reflect that you don’t have the best solution!