B2B Newsletters and Nurture Programs

I was asked recently: “Is an email newsletter part of a nurture program?” Usually we think of newsletters as useful devices to keep customers informed and engaged. And that is, in part, a goal of a nurture program. So a bit of confusion about how newsletters and nurture fit together is understandable.  In fact, newsletters should not be considered part of a nurture program, although they may co-exist with one.…

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Raise your hand if you want to be talked at

I saw Toy Story 3 (again) this weekend, and was struck by a scene in the film where one toy-character complimented another toy on his acting abilities. An odd choice of compliment, since neither had choice of expression or movement while their owner, a little girl, spun disjointed fantasies. The same is true for marketing emails. We may aspire to “conversation”, lead “nurturing” or any number of euphemisms that imply…

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The Relevance of Relevance

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of moderating a panel on relevance at MediaPost’s Email Insider Summit. One of the thornier questions to come up was, “What do you do when your subscribers’ information changes?” I would add, “… and how do you know?” These aren’t easy questions to answer. Email marketers have two tools which ask subscribers to share their information. A quick overview for anyone not familiar with…

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Should Permission Need to be Explicit?

Earlier this month, the topic of permission spurred heated debate on Inbox Insiders, an industry discussion group in which I participate. One group argued that explicit, up-front permission is the gold standard and that anything less – including eAppends – are unethical. The other group suggested that it should be fine to send an email to someone who has chosen to do business with you and hasn’t opted-out of communications.…

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Skunkworks Direct Marketing

YouTube is fantastic for inspiration. I was trolling through in a moment of procrastination, and landed on an old commercial for a B2B marketing giant.  It was a rebranding campaign, and there was absolutely no way for anyone watching the commercial to contact the company for more information.  What a loss. That’s not unusual, even these days. There is something about having a dedicated sales force that makes even good…

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B2B Emails, Meet Twitter

Most direct-to-consumer marketers haven’t quite figured out what to do with Twitter yet. Is it just a customer service channel? Or is it a place to dump offers? Are customers even listening? Score one for business-to-business (B2B) marketers. The channel fits in well with the kind of news distribution and networking that businesses already do. It’s a smart way for you to share articles and information, because it shows off…

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Retailers: How Good Are Your Holiday Plans?

As Holiday 2009 raced to the finish line, I blogged about the disappointing lack of relevance in emails during what is arguably the most important time of the year for many retailers. We’re all about to take our last deep breath before rushing into the fray for Holiday 2010.  So now is a good time to ask: how good are your holiday plans?  Here are three tactics it’s not too…

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Managing Cadence

I’ve heard a lot of discussion about cadence lately. Everyone seems to want a magic frequency number which will cause stars and planets to align and customers to read emails in the kind of loving detail that you normally see only determined children attempt as they sound out dinosaur names. If you have subscribers clamoring for more email from you, consider yourself lucky. For the rest of us, here are…

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Step Up to the Messaging Plate

Email marketing hasn’t been this exciting since late 2003, when I kept my browser window pointed to the House of Representatives floor proceedings site, refreshing every 10 minutes to see if CAN-SPAM had passed yet.  (I learned quickly that Congress spends an inordinate amount of time renaming post offices, instead of voting on legislation that I am waiting for. But I digress.) The big change this time around centers on…

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eNurturing For An Efficient Sales Pipeline

Years ago, I followed up on a failed lead generation program by speaking to the salespeople who called the leads. They told me, “I called and asked if they wanted the product, but they weren’t interested.” When I approached their manager to diplomatically question their sales skills, I was told, “Well, we had other priorities, so we couldn’t pay much attention to your program.” If you’ve ever heard statements like…

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