DMNews Interview Q&A: David Daniels, A Renaissance Man

Direct Marketing News

I was recently interviewed by DM News, if you missed it, here is a copy.

Q&A: David Daniels, A Renaissance Man

We’ve all heard that email is dead. But David Daniels, CEO and co-founder of marketing education and advisory service provider The Relevancy Group, says email is here to stay. I sat down with Daniels at ExactTarget’s Connections ’13 conference, and discussed which email marketing metrics and trends are here for good.

How would you describe the year of 2013 to 2014?

I would describe it as the renaissance for email. People finally understand that it’s not going away. It’s here to stay. At The Relevancy Group, we like to think about it like our digital fingerprint because we need an email address to pretty much do anything or everything. Are people interacting with email less? No. On the desktop computer maybe. All the things in mobile have really fueled [the renaissance].

Are there any common email practices today that really make you cringe?

There are a number of people that [don’t] actually use the data that’s available to them and actually test. There’s so much opportunity out there. In our market research, we do surveys every month. And still, the number of people that use click behaviors as a segmentation attribute—have you clicked, haven’t you clicked—it’s still only about a quarter of marketers who actually use that data…Those are things that make me cringe: Why aren’t more people doing that? The other thing is testing. We still only see about one-third of marketers—and that number is pretty consistent year to year—do even basic A/B testing. I think part of the reason for that is it’s a time and material issue. There’s just not enough hours in the day.

When marketers buy technology, it’s usually best-of-breed. What are the advantages and challenges?

The integration of that data or the time it takes to get that data [is a challenge]. Some of our large retail clients have to go and fill out a statement sheet even before the data gets pulled to say “this is my ROI statement of why I want to see that data out of that repository…” You have to go through all these layers and hoops. That’s about a week before you actually get the data that you think you want. Then when you get it, you might think this isn’t actually the data that I was looking for.

What’s one channel that email complements particularly well today?

It’s certainly social in both directions: Being able to use social as a platform to acquire new email registrants but to also use email as a push channel to say ‘you just bought this, can you go do a product review on our website?’…Consumers again feel like they have a voice and they’re part of that process.

What’s one metric that you think marketers overhype?

Open rates would probably be one of those metrics because it’s flawed. It’s been flawed since email started…Why the open rate doesn’t really matter is because all of the images have to render. Most things are off by default. We know that about 40% of consumers turn images on. Now with the way that people are triaging their email on the mobile devices, that plays into it. It’s a rendering issue. It’s a good indicator if you see your opens drop off. That’s probably an indicator that there’s a deliverability issue. It’s good from that perspective as an alert. As far as a constant measure to look at or to benchmark people on across the industry, it’s a horrible metric…I would focus more on the behavioral things like clicks and click-to-open rates.

Marketing Analytics, Optimizing the Connected Customer Experience

ClickZ

   This is an excerpt from my recent ClickZ column.  

Given the number of channels that email marketers must work with and the continued growth of mobile as a consumer viewport, I sat down with Christopher Nash, senior business optimization consultant at Sitecore, to get his perspective on strategies to build a successful campaign.

David Daniels: Tell me about how your clients utilize web analytics to improve email relevance.

Christopher Nash: Our clients are more and more thinking in terms of providing relevance for customer journeys instead of just email batches. The customer journey is about a variety of digital touches from multiple devices over time. What I hear our clients say is that they want as much visibility – from data – as they can get across these digital touches. I hear clients express frustration when they lose visibility for what an email recipient does when the recipient visits the website. Contrast that with the scenario where you have one analytics that captures data for customer journeys. Our customers get this ability. Suddenly there are new tools in the toolbox for email marketers. For example, in the early phase of the customer journey I see clients personalizing email content based on the digital behavior from the recipient’s recent website visits and conversions. I see clients increasingly seeing an email and website visit as a unified experience for the individual being targeted. The personalization – and increased relevance – used in the email continues to the website visit.

DD: Are you seeing more clients adapt their email deployments for consumption on mobile devices?

Read the rest of the interview on ClickZ

 

Realizing Agile Email Marketing: The Future of Video, Content, and Context

In a previous ClickZ column, I discussed the importance of adapting to change and the use of responsive design to optimize content rendering. In this column, I will dive deeper into that trend and highlight what Movable Ink refers to as “agile email marketing.”

Agile email marketing is different than the current waterfall process of email marketing campaign production. The current linear process of email marketing production assumes a certain level of rework, particularly as it relates to how testing is achieved in most email marketing applications. The agile approach is centered around the subscriber including up-to-the-minute contextual information, such as their location, time of day, and device. This is married with unlimited variations of content, historical subscriber data, and optimization rules to ensure that the right message is delivered to the right person at the right time. Such an idea is not new, but Movable Ink, a fast-growing New York-based company, has made this a reality for top retailers and brands. What makes its approach even more compelling is that it’s not an ESP; the company makes it easy to cut and paste its capabilities into the marketer’s existing email marketing solution.

Movable Ink just recently announced the ability to use video in its solution, which my firm recognizes as a huge growth area for email marketing. For example, YouTube reports that it has 800 million unique visitors each month and that mobile consumption of video has tripled since 2011. To better understand the opportunity of video in email and agile email marketing, I sat down with Movable Ink VP of Marketing Jordan Cohen.

Read the full column and interview on ClickZ.