Melissa Campanelli’s The View From Here: 3 Great Things I Learned at the email evolution conference

I attended the Email Experience Council’s Email Evolution Conference in Miami earlier this week. Besides meeting many of my “virtual” contacts in person, doing some great networking, gathering content for our e-newsletters and acquiring leads for future cover stories, I learned the following the three great things from the show:

I attended the email experience council’s Email Evolution Conference in Miami earlier this week. Besides meeting many of my “virtual” contacts in person, doing some great networking, gathering content for our e-newsletters and acquiring leads for future cover stories, I learned the following three great things from the show:

1. Microsoft will launch its Outlook Social Connector this year. In his presentation, Jay Schwedelson from Worldata mentioned that this new addition to Microsoft Office 2010 will seamlessly bring communications history as well as business and social networking feeds into Outlook users’ inboxes.

LinkedIn will be the first networking site to support the Outlook Social Connector. As a result, LinkedIn/Microsoft Office users will be able to keep up with their LinkedIn connections right from their inboxes, email them directly from Outlook and keep building their LinkedIn networks directly from Outlook.

2. Make it easy for prospects to subscribe to your emails. Sure, you may be thinking, “duh, tell me something I don’t know,” but the message was delivered throughout the conference — especially since email acquisition is expected to increase as the recession wanes. Austin Bliss, president and co-founder of FreshAddress, for example, made the case that marketers should ask for consumers’ email addresses everywhere — on every page of their websites, during every phone call and on every paper form.

Lawrence DiCapua, director of interactive marketing/CRM for Pepsi North America, also discussed the importance of having email sign-up capabilities on your social networking pages, or links to your website’s sign-up pages there.

3. Don’t assume management buy-in. Sure, we all know how wonderful, inexpensive and results-driven email marketing is, but in many cases upper management just want the facts, ma’am. Jeanne Jones and Katrina Kithene, email marketing managers for Alaska Airlines, explained how they showed their executive staff the importance of their email marketing programs to the company’s bottom line. As a result, they were awarded with the resources they needed. They used four techniques to get their message across:

  1. defined the value of a marketable customer;
  2. presented regularly scheduled progress audits;
  3. focused on ROI; and
  4. presented detailed plans for higher conversion.

All in all, it was a great show!

Social Networking Suicide

No, I’m not talking about accidentally sending embarrassing personal information out through a “SWYN” link in an email.

I’m talking about Web 2.0 Suicide Machine. (Now just try to get Bruce Springsteen’s masterpiece “Thunder Road” out of your head!)

No, I’m not talking about accidentally sending embarrassing personal information out through a “SWYN” link in an email.

I’m talking about Web 2.0 Suicide Machine. (Now just try to get Bruce Springsteen’s masterpiece “Thunder Road” out of your head!)

In case you haven’t heard about it, Web 2.0 Suicide Machine, which launched in December, is an anti-social media site that lets subscribers “sign out forever” from social-networking services such as Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace.

The idea behind it? That people are spending too much time on social media sites and it’s affecting the fabric of society as a whole.

“This machine lets you delete all your energy sucking social-networking profiles, kill your fake virtual friends, and completely do away with your Web 2.0 alterego,” it says on its website, where you’ll also see its logo, a pink hangman’s noose.

Here’s how it works: After logging in to the website and choosing which social network you want to be deleted from, the “Suicide Machine” servers begin walking through your targeted account, friend by friend, deleting your connections one at a time via a script.

It also changes your profile picture — to the pink noose, of course — and your password, so you can’t log back on to resurrect yourself.

Until recently, the service also let you kill your Facebook account. On Jan. 5, however, Facebook blocked the site’s access to its website.

“Facebook provides the ability for people who no longer want to use the site to either deactivate their account or delete it completely,” Facebook said in a Jan. 5 statement. “Web 2.0 Suicide Machine collects login credentials and scrapes Facebook pages, which are violations of our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. We’ve blocked the site’s access to Facebook as is our policy for sites that violate our SRR. We’re currently investigating and considering whether to take further action.”

I personally think Web 2.0 Suicide Machine is not a threat to the social-networking world — either from the consumer or marketer perspective. (After all, if you want to remove yourself from a social site right now, most sites let you do so by using the end-of-account tools on the sites themselves.) Instead, I think it’s really been created to send a message. And in that respect, it may be working. It got me thinking, for instance, about how much time I spend on social-networking sites — for business and pleasure— and what purpose that really serves in the long run.

Do you think you spend too much on social networking sites? Tell me about it here.

Social Networking, Meet 3-D Shopping

Something passed my desk today that caught my attention: a press release about a virtual shopping mall called VirtualEShopping.com.

While I’m usually skeptical about these newfangled tools, I did check this one out … and it was pretty cool.

Something passed my desk today that caught my attention: a press release about a virtual shopping mall called VirtualEShopping.com.

While I’m usually skeptical about these newfangled tools, I did check this one out … and it was pretty cool.

Here’s how it works: After going to the site and downloading the free mall software that’s required, you enter a virtual 3-D shopping mall that looks very realistic. Once in the mall, you can create avatars or personas to represent yourself, interact with other shoppers and view storefronts.

Here’s what really got my attention: Some big retailers are partnering with the site. A quick look at the website’s advertiser directory shows hundreds of retailers — from familiar ones like Apple, Best Buy and Foot Locker to less well-known online retailers such as PrankPlace, Preschoolians and ShopIrish — advertising their wares on the site.

The website offers retailers a number of ways to woo customers to shop, including the following:
∗ offer coupons;
∗ salesbots (or pop-up ads) and virtual salespeople in front of their stores promoting merchandise and specials; and
∗ storefront signage, mall carts, billboards and information kiosks promoting the same.

Special events like seminars, concerts, guest appearances and contests are held on the main stage in the mall atrium.

VirtualEShopping.com also offers social networking features. An “I Want It/I Got It” section allows shoppers to share images and links of their favorite items with friends. Other features include a special dates section that makes it easier for friends to remember gift-giving occasions; a shopping tips chat function; and a section to share favorite stores. The site also grabs a snapshot of a shopper’s mall persona to represent each user in the social networking section. Registered users can invite friends to meet them in the mall at a prearranged day and time.

VirtualEShopping.com appeals to many demographics: Gen Xers who like to socialize in malls; moms with young children who can’t shop during store hours but who like to shop with friends; and even tech-types who prefer a more robust interface.

Hey, maybe I’m partial to these virtual worlds since we’ve had some very successful virtual trade shows here at eM+C. (In fact, to register for the on-demand version of our most recent, All About eMail, click here. It’ll be up and running until Feb. 16.) But really, VirtualEShopping.com is cool. Check it out.

Wunderman’s Morel on Social Media, Online Video and Mobile, Part 2

I recently spoke with Daniel Morel, chairman and CEO of Wunderman, a New York City-based marketing services firm that’s part of Young & Rubicam Brands and a member of WPP. Among other topics, we talked about the difference between social media and social networking, online video, and mobile marketing.

I recently spoke with Daniel Morel, chairman and CEO of Wunderman, a New York City-based marketing services firm that’s part of Young & Rubicam Brands and a member of WPP. Among other topics, we talked about the difference between social media and social networking, online video, and mobile marketing.

Last week I offered part 1 of the highlights of our discussion. The following is part 2.

Melissa Campanelli, eM+C: I know Wunderman has used video extensively in its campaigns. Why is video important?
Daniel Morel: People are more seduced by moving images than fixed images. They’re more interested in entertainment than text. People are inherently lazy — you and me included. We want to be entertained constantly. That’s why television moved from a static experience — simply voice and text — to a medium of moving images. That’s when it became an entertainment medium.

The same thing is happening on the web, thanks to new technology. Moving video — and thus entertainment — is appearing on the web, and when entertainment arrives in a medium, that medium takes off. This is why we’re doing more video on the web. It’s possible. It’s what people like to consume, and it allows for customization. It’s also tested, and we know it works.

My only concern right now is about how many creatives we need to produce if we want to use our data to create customized video. We’ll have to create several versions of the same piece of communication — not just one 30-second spot. So, what kind of production capability will we need?

MC: What about mobile marketing. Do you see that as a growing area?

DM: We spend a lot of time testing mobile marketing. But I still haven’t made a large bet on it yet. Maybe I’m making a mistake, but the reason I haven’t made a serious bet on it is because I follow the desire of my clients, and they’re not asking for it. Sure, I try to push them a bit and have them look at new technologies, but in most cases, I can’t make the economy of mobile work for my clients and me. A large amount of time is spent on working on the mobile platform and technology and making sure messages can be calibrated properly and tabulated.

On a $100,000 mobile marketing project, for example, I could spend $75,000 on technology and only $25,000 on communication. And when I get 10 [percent] to 15 percent of the $25,000, that’s not a lot of money.

We do have several people here working on mobile with clients. Ford is very interested in mobile, as is Microsoft. Our clients Nokia and Burger King are very active in it. But what does that represent in terms of a percentage of our business? It’s not large.

Yes, technology has improved. The chips are getting faster, the messages can now be in color and customized for each platform, and mobile operators are becoming more receptive to the needs of marketers.

So, the channel has become more marketing-friendly and more interesting to me. But, the technology has to mature even more, and the people in charge of the pipe have to recognize the value of marketing more before I make any real bets on it.

MC: Where do you see advertising or marketing being in the next five to 10 years?
DM: You’ll see exactly the same thing you’re seeing today: The existing channels will continue to coexist with whatever new channel or new use of an existing channel comes around.

Books have been around since the 16th century and still haven’t been replaced. The television advertising market is also very robust even after 15 years of internet communication. So, we have yet to see an example of a new medium totally eradicating what was done before.

Customers in the end will decide how they want to consume information. Consumers like to have choices. They want to watch the Oscars on large screens, product demos on their laptops and stock quotes from their portfolios on their mobile phones. They decide which channel is most appropriate. Five years down the road it will be exactly the same.

Wunderman’s Morel on Social Media, Online Video and Mobile

I recently spoke with Daniel Morel, chairman and CEO of Wunderman, a New York City-based marketing services firm that’s part of Young & Rubicam Brands and a member of WPP. Among other topics, we talked about the difference between social media and social networking, online video, and mobile marketing.

I recently spoke with Daniel Morel, chairman and CEO of Wunderman, a New York City-based marketing services firm that’s part of Young & Rubicam Brands and a member of WPP. Among other topics, we talked about the difference between social media and social networking, online video, and mobile marketing.

In 2005, Morel launched an aggressive strategy to expand the agency’s influence on digital direct marketing and was instrumental in Wunderman’s acquisition of interactive and web analytics agencies — Blast Radius and ZAAZ among them. Digital programs now account for 60 percent of Wunderman’s revenues.

Here are highlights from the discussion:

Melissa Campanelli, eM+C: How would you describe social media?
Daniel Morel: A while ago, when I used the term you’re using — social media — I was corrected by some folks from Forrester Research. They told me that social media is a euphemism. It’s not media, per se; it’s not something you buy but something you measure. Now, when describing what I think you’re talking about, I use the terms social networking, social interaction and social conversation — but not social media. If you look at the largest examples of what I’m describing — Twitter, Facebook, blogs — you’d see little advertising, little paid media.

MC: Do you think social networking is important?
DM: As for social networking, we monitor Twitter, but in my opinion, Twitter doesn’t really have many capabilities these days. We monitor all of the blogs and online communities, of course. We then harvest that information using a variety of tools in combination with vendors, such as Visible Technologies [a provider of online brand management solutions for new media environments that’s formed a strategic partnership with WPP] and Radian6 [a tool for real-time social media monitoring and analysis designed for advertising agencies].

When it comes to social conversations and social networking, the important thing for us is accumulating data and organizing it into knowledge and information. Social networking offers real-time data as opposed to secondary research, where you have to wait six months before getting the results. You have immediate access to what’s on the minds of consumers. Social networking is important for us, but only as much as we can convert the commodity we call data into valuable insight.

Once a client told me that one of his colleagues was doing “the Facebook thing.” He asked me, “Can you give me one of those?” Our job is not to just give our clients a Facebook page. Our job is to ask why. “Why do you want to do it?” “What’s your objective?” “What are you trying to achieve?” You shouldn’t do it just because someone else is doing it.

MC: Is it true that social networking is changing marketing today?
DM: Whether you’re shopping for a car or insurance, you want to know opinions about the products you’re shopping for from people like you — not the brands. You place more trust into what people of similar backgrounds and interests to you are saying about brands, products and services than discourse from the brand.

Brand speech is necessary, however, because you can’t go to a search toolbar and search for a product if you haven’t been informed about the existence of that product. If I want to type “Ford Mustang 2010” into the search toolbar, I must have heard the term at some point. Public relations does a good job of placing words in people minds.

Social networking will become more present, more sophisticated and more original in the future. Right now, a lot of the content on social networking sites is republished, refurbished or reformulated. But at some point some creative people will make it original and germane to each environment. As a result, social networking will become even more relevant.

Check out the rest of my conversation with Daniel Morel here next week. We’ll discuss online video and mobile marketing.

Are You Attending the DMCNY Luncheon on Thursday?

If you are interested in youth marketing and based in New York, why not check it out? (I’ll be there!) The luncheon speaker is Sara Laor, a youth industry analyst. According to literature from the Direct Marketing Club of New York, Laor will discuss how e-mail, video, social networking and the mobile Web are important in reaching this group.

If you are interested in youth marketing and based in New York, why not check it out? (I’ll be there!) The luncheon speaker is Sara Laor, a youth industry analyst. According to literature from the Direct Marketing Club of New York, Laor will discuss how e-mail, video, social networking and the mobile Web are important in reaching this group.

The discussion will touch on “The Gift Economy”; the emerging tradeoff between privacy and consumers wanting to be targeted for their particular needs and wants; the new trend of young moms staying at home; and what it all means to you and your direct marketing efforts

Read more and register at www.dmcny.org

Social Networking for DMers

Here’s a novel idea.

The National Mail Order Association is launching new direct marketing networking groups in each state of the U.S., and using social media as a component.

The NMOA’s strategy is to incorpate the social networking site Facebook as the first point of contact, and combine it with the all important aspect of “human interaction” that only comes from in person face-to-face networking.

Here’s a novel idea.

The National Mail Order Association is launching new direct marketing networking groups in each state of the U.S., and using social media as a component.

The NMOA’s strategy is to incorpate the social networking site Facebook as the first point of contact, and combine it with the all important aspect of “human interaction” that only comes from in person face-to-face networking.

“Online social networking is all the rage, but business does not live by the net alone,” said NMOA president and chirman John Schulte in a press release. “Face-to-face networking is still vital to business and career success,[and] these new networking groups combine the old with the new for super networking”

The online Facebook groups will be for day-to-day networking and information sharing, and once a month or more, members will coordinate local outings for some face-to-face networking, and have a little fun at the same time.

The best part? It’s all free. The NMOA will not require membership to be part of any of these groups.

“These new networking groups are needed,” says Schulte. “You can’t deny it, direct marketing is the way of the future, almost every business now utilizes at least one direct marketing tactic for creating sales, be it the web, direct mail, catalogs, infomercials, television home shopping or response ads in newspapers and magazines, and people want to learn more, especially the small business and budding entrepreneur.”

So far, direct marketing groups have been set up for 19 states and one main group for international connectivity. New states will be added as people request them. People that want to get involved on a leadership level in their state will be made officers of the group.

Every group is set up so members can start a discussion, ask questions, share links, promote their company, and post videos and pictures. If for no other reason, people should join their state group as part of their overall Web 2.0 strategy.

Links to currently active states can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/2ntwdc