Archive for January, 2011
When last did you pay the full price for a pizza?
Are online shoppers becoming wiser or possibly more desperate to find the exact deal that they have in mind when searching the web for these coupons and voucher codes? Is it due to this that they are now referencing brand names directly into their coupon/voucher related search terms?
It may be thanks to the younger more tech savvy bargain hunters that websites such as MoneySavingExpert, MyVoucherCodes and www.vouchercodes.co.uk are seeing a decrease in the overall voucher search traffic? Based on more intelligent and targeted search terms being used I believe these are certainly contributors to the turnaround. From my experience and in my humble opinion this may stem from users searching for a voucher code or discount coupon, being led to a voucher code affiliate site and not finding the discount deal that they are looking for.
Try searching the exact term ‘Voucher code’. You will notice that the natural and paid search results are flooded with affiliate based coupon/voucher code sites. Then scroll down and take a look at the related search terms below these results as shown in this image. >>
We can see the way that larger high street brands to the likes of Burger King, McDonalds and Pizza Hut purposefully adapt their coupon, voucher code marketing strategies to avoid any relation in online searches and terms. They pay close attention to what the prospective and rather hungry individual may discover when they journey towards making their online choices.
As I am admittedly not a search expert, I would like to hear the view on this from industry experts, please comment on this post or send us an email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to share your views on this topic.
QR codes, they show up in magazine ads, maps, food packaging, posters, leaflets, business cards, emails, websites and even on the sides of buses. They’re everywhere, however, a lot of people still don’t know what they are or how to use them.
Simply, a QR (Quick Response) Code is a two dimensional barcode. These codes are square in shape and made up of black and white squares. It is capable of encoding large amounts of data, such as a link to a video or website, contact information for a person or business, marketing promotions etc. An example (my personal favourite) of QR in action is McDonald’s using them on packaging in Japan so consumers can access nutritional information and review the amount of calories, fat, and carbohydrates in their meal. (Although if you’re eating McDonalds whilst concerned about watching what you eat, then perhaps you’re in the wrong establishment). The code fits on the packaging better then lines of text and allows the dietary information to hide from anyone who isn’t overly eager to be reminded they’re eating rubbish. All users have to do is to take a picture of the code on their smart phone with a QR reader (free from an app store) and they will be directed to the desired information. A QR Code is a hard link between the physical world and virtual. A business could create offline magazine ads with a QR Code linking to their website with the information on that landing page changing every day.
A few brave souls in the UK have tried to crack it, most notably Pepsi, last November, by printing codes on 400,000,000 cans (and some great off-line shots of Kelly Brook) with very limited success. People simply didn’t know what to do and the explanations offered, whilst helpful, weren’t enough to get over the education chasm.
At present QR Codes are not in widespread use in the UK yet, but all the required technology is in place and ready to be exploited for it to flourish. The platform is mature and is effectively used by companies and consumers predominantly in Asia. QR Codes are perceived to be cutting edge (even though they have been around since 1994) and are so easy to use, as well as versatile, that they provide instant value to individuals and companies alike. This technology has the opportunity to play an enabling role in mobile marketing strategy for product sales, information access and customer engagement but if a half naked Kelly Brook can’t get people taking a photo i don’t know what will.
After monitoring (and living) the ongoing Microsoft vs. Consumer battle of Outlook 2007. I have been recently delving deeper into the 2010 release. After downloading the 60 day trial I must admit the functionality and interface changes have evolved and presents you with a much stronger solution than the 2007 edition. On this basis I could see the 2010 release penetrating the corporate market and becoming the standard. However, as a best practice marketer who works extensively with web standards and creative design, the following is why on principle I hope it won’t.
After testing the latest beta of Outlook 2010 with HTML creative’s you can instantly see the same pitiable web standards support as 2007, all confirmed last year by the Outlook team stating their plan to continue using Microsoft Word to render HTML emails.
The initial decision from Microsoft to move away from using Internet Explorer to render emails (as they happily were pre-2007) demonstrated their confidence in emails using a MS Word engine rendering correctly across all web browsers. Unfortunately, as web standards go they were wrong!
Coming from the shambles that was the 2007 release was the creation of fixoutlook.org. I was elated to see a growing community of people wanting to make our lives better, rising up against the Microsoft giant, hoping to make sure they took note of the global discontent and that they need to listen to the consumer. So what did MS say?
“Don’t worry people, we’re listening.”
Unfortunately not hard enough as they decided to keep the Word rendering engine for 2010. At least we tried though and I look forward to joining the new protest.
Towards the end of last year Hotmail released the industry’s first real “interactive e-mail” solution. Providing users with dynamic emails that update when opened and allow you to interact directly within the email itself.
A monumental move for email interactivity and the only real step in this area since the move from text-based to HTML emails that occurred back in the 90s. Based on the results of initial beta providers (only extended to Linkedin, Orbitz, Monster and Netflix) the industry seems excited about the potential Active View offers to marketers across all verticals.
If you watch the official walk-through on You Tube by Windows Live the obvious benefit strikes out. By cutting down the number of steps in moving the user through the conversion process Active View will reduce user abandonment. In a marketers mind that screams one thing only: increased ROI.
Marketers who understand the potential it offers and are patient enough to figure out the science behind it and how best to utilise this will no doubt see great return.
If this style of functionality proceeds to develop, it could really open up opportunities in offering new types of content in the inbox that have never been feasible before. A hefty move in e-mail evolution and a stimulating move in digital marketing for 2011.
The email marketing channel will remain as vibrant and attractive to any organisations irrelevant of what their consumer and prospects databases may currently consist of. The additional offerings such as SMS/TEXT, mobile apps and of course social media will be a top priority of leading Email Service Providers in order to further the reach of these fast growing marketing channels for users and customers of their broadcasting platforms.
The introduction of Gmail and Hotmail’s priority inbox, as well as Yahoo’s view ‘email from contacts’ only in your address book will significantly change the idea of carpet bombing to a hefty list with the hopes of returning a small but valuable response rate. The Priority Inbox functionality that was introduced into these webmail applications in 2010 analyze incoming mail, giving it a ranking and sorting it into four customizable sections, what the user then deems as “Important” messages from an established contact or regularly engaged with brand will determine future deliverability to inboxes and bulk folders. This type of feature being introduced into various webmail’s will force senders into building a good reputation that includes regular customer engagement as the key to successful email marketing with a high return on investment. This may lead to reduced sending volumes but does protect the recipients and overall the future integrity of the email channel. The focus on cleaner data, the use of dynamic elements and essentially relevant content on a 1 to 1 relationship with users will become the key drivers for successful brand building and client retention in 2011.
Mobile apps will fast become a transactional point of sale for mobile smartphone users. The use of Android, Nokia (Ovi) and Apple mobile apps for customer email acquisition and customer retention will play a large part in overall marketing strategies. The mobile marketing channel has come a long way in the past three years; mainly due to the uptake in mobile smart phones. Where we once were limited to 160 character text messages with a costly ‘reply to’ call to action; we are now looking at rich content messages with clickable links and images leading to mobile friendly web pages. This opens the door for the transaction that every marketer is essentially working towards. For the first time you are able to literally get your hand into the consumers pocket. This can be a somewhat touchy relationship and a wrong message at the wrong time could mean the end of your texting relationship with the recipient. With email, you could get around to your emails at some point and filter them to your desires, with mobile, your handset bleeps in your pocket and you need to give it your immediate attention. Having said all of this; an email platform having sms/text capabilities will be a part of the decision process when choosing an Email Service Provider in 2011.
I predict a dramatic uptake in facebook.com email that may shake the very settled foundations of the industry’s best practices, the traditional Email Service Providers and the long standing loyalty of their existing webmail users. This will naturally cause a substantial increase in comparing and closely monitoring the adoption rate and response rates at Facebook.com and all existing ISP’s. Facebook email will be taken very seriously and promotion and presence on their site will be at the top of organisations priorities list which will knock on to a frenzy to get email subscribers to “like” brands and pages. I think we can all agree that 500+ million users is enough to secure the resource and financial investment in what will surely be a social presence with a future return on investment.
Merry Christmas and may 2011 be a prosperous and unforgettable year.
The definition of Direct marketing is a message that is intended to offer/sell/supply services and products, or essentially sent to an individual in order to promote an organisations values or beliefs.
Email is an electronic message, other electronic messages include text messages, voice messages, image or sound based messages. Formats include HTML email broadcasting, text or rich text, picture messages ie MMS, video, voicemail and answer phone messaging.
Unsolicited marketing by email or any other digital medium may only be sent to a recipient if they have given you their consent/permission to do so.
This brings me neatly onto Opt-In data which will be discussed in detail in a future post.
Unsolicited marketing is marketing that has not been specifically asked for. If you want to use electronic mail to carry out unsolicited direct marketing, you need to comply with the rules in the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003. These rules include specific things you must say in your marketing messages – eg disclosing your identity and providing a valid email address to all recipients – as well as legal responsibilities you have as a marketer. I will be starting this blog with key information that every marketeer should know before attempting to break through into email marketing.