Tuesday, October 30, 2007

How do Marketers Measure Online Marketing?

While there is a big push these days to get to the true ROI of your online marketing campaigns, we don't seem to be there yet.

According to a Penton Media Custom Research study commissioned by PROMO Magazine, click-throughs and response rates are still mostly used to measure the success of marketing campaigns.

Measuring Email ROI

On another note, the DMA found that e-mail's ROI will reach $45.65 for every dollar spent in 2008.

Anna Chernis of the DNA claimed: "E-mail produces the highest response rate for lead generation —especially for house campaigns—of direct mail methods we have studied,"

The one item to note is that in 2005, email delivered
$57.25 for every dollar spent on it so there is a downward trend here.

Bottom line: You can produce with email but in order to secure your marketing budget, you need to prove that sales are directly related to your marketing efforts. Can you really prove marketing's effectiveness based on click-throughs? Here is one way you can use to improve the way you track your marketing campaigns using a closed-loop approach.

In addition, email ROI is decreasing but there are ways to leverage email with other marketing channels such as search, direct mail, podcasts and videos to help increase the effectiveness of email.

Happy marketing!

Chad H.

PS: Here's a related article over on ClickZ called:
Why E-Mail ROI Is So Amazing


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Americans Hate Canadians

I'm pretty steamed at the moment. I don't know how else to explain this but to say that Americans hate their brothers and sisters to the North. Are you guys jealous of our health care system or something? What is it??

If you try and access TV show episodes like The Office, you get messages like this: "We're sorry, but the clip you requested is not available from your location". I'm sorry, what?! I have a job that depends on this (refer to my last post). I thought, "OK, maybe this is coincidence" but then I just read in national Canadian newspaper, the Globe and Mail, that Comedy Central did the same thing with the Daily Show. Websites can detect which country you're coming from based on your IP address and block you. I guess I shouldn't complain that much as it's not like it is in China, but come on!

It turns out that Americans don't hate Canadians (well, some may). The reason that Canadians are blocked is because Global TV and other Canadian TV networks have paid a pretty penny to re-broadcast these shows in Canada and don't want Canadians to access these shows for free on the net. Therefore, Global is really to blame here but here's the reality:

  • Canadians don't care who is blocking the videos, they are being blocked. We live in a free country up here and we don't look highly on being restricted in our web browsing (especially on US web sites!!)

  • The brand of these TV shows and US networks suffer - not the Canadian networks. I think that this is grossly underestimated. Negativity is very powerful these days as bloggers can write up how dissatisfied they are very easily via blogs. :)

  • Why not add a comment that tells me the reason I can't watch the video? I guess that would get Global in trouble. It looks like that the problem was rectified by the Daily Show as it now redirects you to a Canadian network called the Comedy Network. They learned their lesson - why hasn't The Office (notice how I blamed the show and not NBC - I actually am holding Steve Carrel responsible as he runs the office).
Don't set the expectation of placing videos on the net and then make them impossible to reach because of the country you live in. This is a web 2.0 no no - especially when video is so easily accessible via YouTube and other channels. While the web can be used to virally promote your product/service or TV show, it can just as easily destroy it.

Chad H.

PS - Question for the Global TV people - why do you have other videos on your site and not The Office? Please let me know.
PPS - Hey Global TV: ET Canada really sucks.


I have a new job... in viral marketing

No, I haven't left my current job. I've added a second job working for the Dundler Mifflin Infinity team, Sudbury Ontario Branch. I'm not joking!

I submitted my application on the new Dundler Mifflin Infinity website which was accepted and I plan to help them sell paper. My first task was adding that nice banner ad over there. Go ahead and give it a click. You use paper, don't you?

If you watch the show The Office on NBC like I do with my wife most weeks, you'll understand what Dundler Mifflin is all about. This season, they've launched a new website that allows their customers to buy their product online (if you're asking what took them so long, you need to watch the show). NBC has created an entire online campaign to build on the theme of the actual episodes. This includes all of the web 2.0 mix such as social networks, videos etc... What I liked about this site is that they really make you feel part of the team and it really isn't all that difficult to participate. By including features such as adding web banners as part of the tasks that your "manager" has set out for you, your adding to the viral effect - it's brilliant! In addition, "applying for a job" was a snap. Online "branches" from across the globe compete against each other. For this week's task, the branch with the most clicks, wins. Go Sudbury branch!

What is more important is the passion you see on this website. These people really are Office fanatics. Depending what type of business you're in, you may have your own fanatics - these are people that love your product and/or services. Think about ways that you can harness this passion so it's not just your company evangelists who are spreading the word about the great things that you do but it's your customers doing this for you.

Any other Office fans out there?

Chad H.

PS - I added The Office theme music myself (wasn't part of the task). Just click play above.
PPS - I'm serious about clicking on the banner ad. Do you want me to get fired on my first day?
PPPS - Notice how NBC uses query strings on the banner ad links. This is similar to my recent post on closed loop marketing. You need to see the post and click on the banner above to better understand what I mean


Monday, October 22, 2007

Subject lines that work

Good post on how to write subject lines with examples from Adrian Singer over at software projects.

Here are his four main characteristics of how to write a successful subject line:
#1. It needs to reference something you know about

#2. It needs to be something that is important to you

#3. It needs to have an expiration or urgency factor

#4. It needs to be something you yourself can act upon

Here is his top example:
Your Mortgage is late. Pay today to avoid a penalty

Thanks Adrian,

Chad H.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

What is RSS? Check out this video

Instead of me writing about what RSS (Real Simple Syndication) is , I'll let this whiteboard geek tell you all about it (thanks MarketingProfs!). Feel free to pass this along to your manager who doesn't understand what the hell RSS is and doesn't want to invest in it:


Automated Customer Scoring - Going Beyond Leads

Automated Lead scoring is a term that many in the B2B world are familiar with. Essentially, you take the typical manual lead qualification process that a sales rep or call center does over the phone to find the best leads and let technology do this for you. Can you apply this same concept to customers? I think you can and those of you in B2C already do this quite well.

At a recent MarketingSherpa's Boston Summit, Liz Thibeault, Senior Marketing Programs Manager, EMC Corp., described a process of having account reps manually deliver important names and lead qualification information to the marketing team for possible upsell programs. Knowing the account rep role myself quite well, wouldn't it be easier if you had a mechanism that scored existing customers through automation rather then waiting for account reps to pass on this data? For example, a highly qualified customer would be one that attended a webinar that was focused on a new product or service as well as downloaded a white paper on that topic. You can also blend into the mix data based on past purchases, role within the organization etc... If the score was high enough based on the defined criteria, the account rep would get a notification to follow up right away or the customer could be placed in a program that would deliver a highly targeted email asking the contact if they would like a live demo. It's this type of automated approach that could assist account reps in following up with the right customers at the right time which can lead to more closed deals.

The B2C world does this all the time. For example, if you purchased tickets to a Disney ice show in the past, you may receive an email letting you know that the Wiggles on ice is coming to town. Amazon shows you related books on the same page of a book you are looking at. In both cases, companies are using technology to inform customers of other offers that they may be interested in based on past activity.

If you've yet to get into lead scoring, I would first start down that path but if your main source of your business is return business from your customers, it's time to start thinking about Customer Scoring.

Chad H.

PS - Has anyone tried a Customer Scoring program?

Image from: www.readytalk.com

Monday, October 08, 2007

Your Reply To Email Should Allow Me to Reply!

I just wrote a post, went for my run and checked my email again. I realized that I have a ton of unopened email from MarketingVOX. I get daily emails from these guys which help me keep up on the latest but you know what, I can't keep up with it and it's mostly just too many details that I am not interested in. I gave up and I unsubscribed as I had no other choice.

I figured, hey, I'll take an extra minute and write them the following email:
"Daily emails are too much. Can you make it weekly and perhaps categorize some of this? I've unsubscribed - too much clutter."

I thought I was being nice here and providing some free advice. I did receive an immediate response from them but not the one I wanted:
This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

Delivery to the following recipients failed.


I consider this to be BS and an email worst practice. If you have a reply to email address:
a. make it a real one
b. have real people checking it regularly for useful requests that come through

Hey MarketingVOX! I still want your emails - just make them weekly!

Chad H.


One way to tackle closed loop marketing

Now that the summer is behind us I feel that I have a few extra pounds from the BBQs and beers on the patios. I've promised myself to go for at least 2 morning runs during the week and a trip the gym on the weekend. I'm still working on the 2 runs per week but I'm getting there. I know that if I don't go, I see the results of the hamburger that I had for lunch the next morning on the scale. When I do go for a run I see the positive results - great motivation to keep on exercising.

If I compare my exercise achievements to "closed loop marketing," I get half-way as I am able to track if I've lost weight on my scale but I don't know what exactly contributed to this weight loss. Was it the distance and intensity of my run or was it my avoidance of the free donuts that are passed out at the office? It's this unknown factor that contributes to your success that is the "magic number" or as Rod Tidwell in Jerry McGuire would call it "the Quan".

This post is not meant to define or re-define the term "closed loop marketing". It focuses on a few methods that are used to track various marketing initiatives which can be rolled up to larger marketing reports and/or dashboards. This type of reporting can guide marketers to determine which campaigns and channels are more successful then others by tying marketing initiatives to closed deals.

Closed Loop Marketing And Query Strings

Query strings are those weird characters you see in a URL. Here's an easy example: Go to Google and type in "Toronto Maple Leafs". On the right hand side, you'll probably see a StubHub ad (unless they removed it after people reading this clicked on it too much which I highly doubt). Click on the ad. Don't get alarmed at how expensive the seats are - that's not why you are here. Check out the long URL: http://www.stubhub.com/tix11-ticketcenter/toronto-maple-leafs-tickets/

The query string part of the URL (typically found after a "?" or "&") is gtse and gtkw. The query string values are "goog" and "Toronto%20Maple%20Leafs". In this case it seems that StubHub is tracking the search engine which is Google and the search engine keywords which are "Toronto Maple Leafs".

In a finely tuned closed marketing system, StubHub will save the search engine and keyword query string data to the profile of the people that purchase tickets. StubHub can then evaluate which search engines and keywords resulted in the most sales and invest appropriately.

Closed loop marketing seems easy eh? It isn't. This was a fairly straightforward B2C transactional example. What about the other marketing channels like email and my website? Query strings can help out there as well!

Moving Beyond Search - Query Strings and email, website, online ads and direct mail

You can take the example above and use it for your other marketing channels. For example, on your website, consider using query strings for links on your home page or category pages. This will allow you to track the source if web visitors downloaded a white paper or purchased a product. The same goes for email. If you add a query string to your web links, you can save the query string data to the web profile of the email recipient, if they click through and fill out a form.

They key to this closed loop reporting method is:
a. Having a marketing team that is bought into using this method. This includes the bandwidth to create query string values to track each individual campaigns
b. The technology to capture the query string data so that it can be reported on

Closed Loop Marketing, Query Strings, B2B, and Your CRM

With B2B, many sales cycles are prolonged and may take weeks or months before a deal is closed. In addition, your sales are not transactional - i.e. responding to an email and buying some Leaf tickets. Therefore, the deals take longer to close, more individuals on the client side are involved and you typically have your sales force that you need to work with (however, I'm focusing mostly here on online lead generation).

In this case, you need to sync up your query strings values to an object in your CRM - typically called a campaign object. Campaigns can represent an online webinar, a trade show, a demo or case study download, a request for contact etc... With the CRM salesforce.com, you can associate Campaigns to a Lead or Contact. Campaigns are then associated with Opportunities (potential deals) and when they are closed, marketing gets the credit if a Campaign was associated with the Opportunity. Which Campaigns get associated with the Opportunity is way out of scope for this post.

Here is the takeaway: You can use query strings to represent campaigns that can be recorded in your CRM. You can then implement closed loop reporting as you can run reports on the opportunities that closed and the campaigns that were associated to them. Again, you need a marketing and sales team that has bought into this concept, the resources to create campaigns and query strings that are integrated with your online strategies and the technology that will allow you to capture this data and easily sync it with a CRM.

Are there easier ways to do this? Definitely and the technology is constantly evolving. In fact, I should have an update for you soon on different ways to perform closed loop marketing. As I mentioned, I wanted to present one way to do this.

Now that I may have confused some of you, I'm going for a run.

Chad H.

PS - Here are some additional resources on closed loop marketing:



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