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5 posts from February 2008

How to Serve the Tribe

080410a One way to avoid depersonalizing the people who use your product or service is to consider them as members of your tribe, instead of as a target market. You have to live close with members of your tribe, and you can't afford to disappoint them.

Seth's Blog: Tribe Management. 2008-Jan-30, by Seth Godin

Tribe management is a whole different way of looking at the world. It starts with permission, the understanding that the real asset most organizations can build isn't an amorphous brand but is in fact the privilege of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who want to get them. It adds to that the fact that what people really want is the ability to connect to each other, not to companies. So the permission is used to build a tribe, to build people who want to hear from the company because it helps them connect, it helps them find each other, it gives them a story to tell and something to talk about.

How to Survive the Inbox Stew

080226c Once you've been working for weeks on a newsletter or a campaign, it's hard to imagine what it's like to see it for the first time. But that's only way it's ever going to perform for you. Your email messages may compelling on your desk but in the stew of nagging assignments, endless negotiations, purchase receipts, event notices, and holiday cards occupying most of our inboxes, will yours be the delightful mushroom peaking out from behind the potatoes? To survive "inbox stew" your message has to be easy, clear, fun, entertaining, and rewarding.

Email Experience Blog: Inbox Stew: Grandma, Goods, Compadres and Confirmation. 2008-Feb-12, by Stephanie Miller of Return Path

Subscribers know intellectually the difference between personal, transactional and marketing messages, but it’s an emotional decision to open or delete when faced with inbox clutter. Subscribers view their inbox holistically—we are not only competing against others in our industry, and transactional messages for purchases and e-statements, but we are competing with grandma’s message, too. The classic example of defining your competitive marketplace by benefit and not by product is the statement that Amtrak is in the transportation business, not the train business. So too, we email marketers are not just in the retail or travel business, we are in the business of creating compelling and interesting subscriber experiences.

How Pepsi Followed Through

080219b The amazing thing about the Pepsi SuperBowl "Stuff" commercial was not the spectacle of Justin Timberlake (not pictured here) flying through the air, but the way Pepsico has wrung every opportunity to score from this campaign. They did a great job of thinking through how people would act after seeing the commercial and how to interact with them.

MediaPost: Pepsi Snags MVP Status With Super Bowl Ad-Search Combo, by 2008-Feb-5.

The Pepsi Stuff campaign snagged most valuable player status on the search firm's annual Super Bowl Search Marketing Scorecard because it nailed the goal of having consistent on- and offline messaging. The TV spot and Pepsi's various Web sites (including a microsite and branded YouTube and Facebook channels) all contain the same calls-to-action--driving users to sign up for the Pepsi Stuff program. In addition, Pepsi's search team purchased a myriad of keywords related to the TV spot, going beyond obvious branded terms like "Pepsi Stuff" or "Pepsi Super Bowl commercial" to snag viewer interest around pop star spokesperson Justin Timberlake.

How to Welcome Email Newsletter Subscribers

080212a Here is an excellent checklist to make sure your new subscriber welcome is "best practice." These are from Margaret Farmakis, Return Path's director of strategic services. You can download an entire white paper on the subject at

Target Marketing: Eight Steps to More Effective Welcome E-mails, 2008-Mar-1, by Hallie Mummert:

  1. Welcome new subscribers within 24 hours.
  2. Allow subscribers to manage their own profile.
  3. Give them a thank you gift.
  4. Remind them of the content and frequency they can anticipate.
  5. Ask them to add your sending newsletter address to their address book.
  6. Include unsubscribe instructions.
  7. Personalize the message to their name or email.
  8. Summarize your privacy policy and provide a link to the policy on your web site.

How to Help your Subscribers Find the Right Fit

080204aJust because someone is your customer doesn't mean they want to subscribe to your electronic newsletter. Nevertheless, you can dramatically improve your subscription rate if you provide newsletters which are perfect for the device your audience uses to read it. For instance, if your readers are using older displays, then having a narrow format is crucial. If your readers are very mobile, they may be reading on a Blackberry and prefer lists of text links to images and paragraphs. NextStage Evolution has just completed major research which says although relevancy and cultural connections are important, the ability to match the information portal comes first.

MarketingSherpa: How to Design Your Newsletters, 2008-Jan-30 (interview with Joseph Carrabis)

The Information Portal -- where people read your messages -- has the biggest impact (36.7%) on whether they take the action you desire. This chart underscores a key idea that recent EmailSherpa articles have highlighted: Surveying your list to see what type of device readers use to view your email is definitely worth a shot. That’s right: viewing on an iPhone, a BlackBerry, a Mac or a PC affects how they will be influenced by your message more than any other factor. Being able to segment your list according to receiving device could be a boon to your response rates.