Email, Digital Targeted Messaging & Interactive Marketing Musings, Thoughts & Links - Named A Top Email Marketing Blog by Email Marketing Reports

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What kind of agency do you hand the keys to?

This question seems to be on the minds of many people (myself included). With the huge momentum and growth of interactive marketing spend, traditional, digital and highly specialized (like BrightWave Marketing) agencies are not only fighting for dollars but control.

Who you hand the keys to depends on your type of car and where you want to go, right?

I had bookmarked 3 interesting blog posts with similar themes. The bottom line: Times are changing; most traditional agencies are sweating and still seem to be missing the boat in many regards.

Return on Subscriber Blog My 2 cents: Are traditional agencies running (or ruining) your email?

I wholeheartedly agree with this post (obviously as BrightWave's business model is somewhat dependant on this theory) and I believe we will see more companies hiring email firms to handle email the way they handle print or direct mail firms (or for that matter, accounting or legal) for those services. The problem is, most agencies can pitch their "digital expertise" and the client generally assumes they must be right. After all, they have a sleek lobby, cool lighting and lots of busy young people milling around the office that must be experts on the Google and whatnot.

My friend Jeff Hilimire at Spunlogic, a leading interactive shop, has a great take on Digital Shops vs. Traditional Shops. His refreshingly honest approach is that digital firms should not take the keys for the whole drive. They must collaborate but herein lies the rub. He says...

It’s not necessarily that ideas that are interactive/web-based are more important than traditional media (though I’d love to debate that one), but more so that we as interactive agencies understand the new way to interact with the consumer. Traditional shops, because of their mediums, have almost no way of appreciating how powerful consumer interaction and collaboration can be. Digital shops get that, and that’s why they are continuing to take over.

Next, we have surely a hotly debated article written in AdWeek by Jeff Gundersen. Digitally Deficient CMOs Need Not Apply is a great piece for all marketers not just CMOs. It is not a lecture but merely a reality check and offers 5 things anyone in the marketing/advertising/communications world must do. Today.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Exclusive Offer for eMarketing Association Atlanta Conference

The BrightWave Blog readers can receive a special offer to the upcoming eMA conference in Atlanta (Oct.23-24). This is a great event on interactive marketing trends and best practices. It features some heavy hitters speaking, including execs from Coke, Google and InterContinental Hotels Group. I will be speaking on day 2. My topic will be Utilizing Metrics to Enhance your Email Budget and Performance.

I spoke at the San Francisco event this fall and highly recommend it, for networking alone although the content and speakers are excellent.

15% off full registration (over $200.00 in savings) - use special code bwvip

The registration url is: (you can use the above promotional codes at check out)

Information on the event is at:

If you need to book a hotel room, please use the eMA venue page, as you will get a special rate

bwvip - 15% off full registration (over $200.00 in savings)

Feel free to email me with any questions.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Where you sit influences where you stand

Via the BankersBall blog, I found some interesting business psychology 101 regarding conference room positioning from an article in BusinessWeek.

This is based on 40,000 people in Sharon Livingston's (a clinical psychologist and founder of the Livingston Group) career at dozens of large companies and has found that people fit into one of seven personality types based on where they sit, which she explains using the nomenclature borrowed from Snow White's seven dwarves. Those sitting opposite the person leading the meeting tend to be Grumpy or Doc, or a combination of the two, says Livingston. Grumpy is openly argumentative and may be hard to control. Doc is the person who faces off against the leader to show off his or her intelligence.

The person with the most power determines how everybody else positions themselves around the typical rectangular or oblong office table. As a rule, leaders like to sit at the end of the table facing the exit so no one can sneak up on them.

Be sure to review the table diagram located here to make sure you sit in the right seat.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Retail Subscription Highlights

The ever resourceful and insightful Chad White of RetailEmail.Blogspot provides some very interesting excerpts from his forthcoming 2007 Retail Email Subscription Benchmark Study. They are all from that grab bag of email best practices, volume and frequency, otherwise known as retail email marketing.

These highlights were featured from MediaPost's EmailInsider newsletter

  • Only the Gap Inc. brands -- Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Piperlime --give you the chance to subscribe to sister brands when you sign up for email from of the individual brands.

Comments - this is shocking. Companies will sacrifice quality and brand integrity with letting random companies be a part of a co-reg or affiliate program yet fail to include sister companies in their email list building efforts. Chalk that up to some synergy sizzle. Or maybe not.

  • Omaha Steaks was the only retailer to say how many subscribers it has -- over 2 million.

Comments - Bragging is OK if you can back it up. I wonder if they were really using this as a consumer incentive or just to pat themselves on the back. Either way, that is a lot of porterhouse emails.

  • Hanna Andersson was the only retailer to offer its newsletter in a language (Japanese) other than English.
  • Coldwater Creek is the only retailer that gives subscribers the option of receiving a once-a-month email.

Comments - these are surpising and evident of the continuing focus of email programs based on marketing goals, not consumer needs. I agree with Chad that consumers will want (and deserve) more control.

Who wants to be the real leader among retailer's in the email world?

Monday, July 09, 2007

More on the ConstantContact IPO Filing

A rare look into the financials of an email marketing company. All taken from SEC filing, which is available to the public via this link

Some highlights (others may use a different term) from their IPO filing below but be sure to read the entire document to ensure proper context of all excerpts:

  • Proposed Nasdaq Global Market symbol CTCT
  • In 2006, our revenue was $27.6 million and our net loss was $7.8 million
  • in the quarter ended March 31, 2007 our revenue was $9.7 million and our net loss was $2.7 million.
  • We have not been profitable since our inception, and we may not become profitable.
  • As of May 31, 2007, we employed a total of 275 employees.
  • As of June 30, 2007, we had over 120,000 customers.
  • For the first quarter of 2007, our average monthly revenue per email marketing customer exceeded $32.
  • Since the first quarter of 2002, we have achieved 21 consecutive quarters of growth in customers and revenue.
  • we believe that our email marketing solutions could potentially address the needs of more than 27.3 million small organizations in the United States.
  • Our email marketing customers pay a monthly subscription fee that generally ranges between $15 per month and $150 per month based on the size of the customers’ contact lists and, in some cases, volume of mailings.
  • In the first quarter of 2007, our top 50 email marketing customers accounted for approximately 1% of our gross email marketing revenue.
  • We acquire our customers through a variety of paid and unpaid sources.
  • In the year ended December 31, 2006, we spent $18.6 million on sales and marketing. Our cost of customer acquisition during this period was approximately $300 per email marketing customer, defined as our total sales and marketing expense divided by the gross number of email marketing customers added in the period.
  • Our paid sources include online marketing through search engines, advertising networks and other sites; offline marketing through radio advertising, local seminars and other marketing efforts; and relationships with over 1,700 active channel partners, which include national small business service providers such as Network Solutions, LLC, American Express Company and VistaPrint Limited as well as local small business service providers.
  • Our unpaid sources of customer acquisition include referrals from our growing customer base, general brand awareness and the inclusion of a link to our website in the footer of more than 500 million emails currently sent by our customers each month. We believe that during the first quarter of 2007 at least 45% of our new email marketing customers were generated through unpaid sources.
  • Our customer support employees answer approximately 1,300 calls per day with an average wait time of less than two minutes.
  • As of May 31, 2007, we had 93 employees working in customer service and support.
  • Risk Factors - a bit long but be sure to read this seciton if you are in the email business, especially sections on deliverability and staffing.

Regardless of these challenges, opportunities and past successes, best of luck to ConstantContact as they look to blaze a new trail in open waters. It should be a closely followed event in the email space, for sure.

2 Major Email Related Items - IPOs & Trade Group M & A

DM News reports "Constant Contact paves way to publicly traded status." This is indicative of the robust environment and huge upside for email marketing companies. That is a major breakthrough for the industry and it will be interesting to see who follows ConstantContact into the public markets as well as any related M & A activity (what will ConstantContact do with their new horde of cash?) and how Wall Street will treat an email marketing company.

I would be shocked to see any email related company receive valuations similar to its online advertising or search brethren. I am not saying they don't deserve them but email does not have the halo that other online marketing platforms have. However, they may be thrown in the online advertising bucket for lack of a defined category currently serviced by the Street.

Also, in its newsletter sent early Monday, Direct appears to scoop some big news related to the Email Experience Council and DMA. I will reserve my judgment once we find out more. BrightWave Marketing and have strong relationships and partnerships with the eec, so we will have more to come.