List Management: Tips to Best Manage your Campaigns

Knowing your customer, especially when sending e-blasts is important to keep your customer from simply clicking “delete” when receiving your message or perhaps opting out altogether. Avoid becoming SPAM at all costs. While many companies do offer the Opt In feature for list management, they don’t always allow users to choose their desired path. The best lists will allow clients to choose what they want to see in messaging. I suppose that is why I was both irritated and humored with several e-blasts I received in the last few weeks.

My son has been in Cub Scouts since 2010. He has progressed through the ranks from a Tiger Cub to now being a Webelos II and he’s about to cross over to Boy Scouts. Early last week I received this email prompting me to purchase items -“It’s their First Campout… Get Ready!” it raid. I immediately thought, “Great, let’s see what kind of goodies I can get for my soon-to-be Scout son!” After all, I am already shopping for Christmas.

Unfortunately though, in opening the email I was greeted by a smiling Cub Scout and Cub Scout gear. Yea, that’s not what I was thinking…

Reading the post should have saved me some time as it went on to say things like: “A Cub Scout’s first campout. Make it an experience to remember, one he can boast about and build on from now on.”

I was considering that something must be wrong. That in fact the message was sent in error. Wouldn’t they have KNOWN I signed up in 2010. Didn’t the system track my son’s rank or in the very least, they certainly know what I have been purchasing! Why wouldn’t the list manager know that my son is likely not camping for the first time?

I chatted with my boss after receiving the message. List integration is a big deal. Know your customer and certainly know something about who you are marketing to. List management is nothing new though, we talk about it with clients often enough. It seems to be something of a challenge though, so I offer instead a few basic best practices for list management:

1) Subscribers should always Opt In to receive your email messages. This gives you permission to send them messages. If possible offer a Double Opt In. This would be when subscribers sign up then confirm their requested subscription.

2) Instead of one long list of email subscribers, consider creating groups. Host an event, create a group email for that. In the case of the BSA, they very easily could have grouped email addresses by month/year. If that had been done, it would have been easy to notice subscribes since 9/2010 are not likely first time Cub Scout campers!

3) Make sure to remove unsubscribed email addresses, you might even consider this another list to manage. Also be mindful of bounced messages. Many email services will track unsubscribes, bounced messages and SPAM reports but it is a good idea to track these actions too.

4) Finally it is important to analyze the results of your email campaigns. Since relevancy is the key online, how did your clients respond? Did they call more? Did the e-blast motivate more sales? Which links within your email messages motivated click-throughs? Whatever your measurement, be sure to measure it! It will be difficult to know what works, if results are not analyzed.

This week I received several other messages from the Boy Scouts, one titled “Shop Inspired Attire for Cub Scouts!” and another “Now We’re Campin’ Cub Scout-style!” honestly messages like that may cause me to unsubscribe.

I did notice an option to “Manage my Subscription,”  which would be my final tip for marketers. List management tools that allow subscribers to choose which messages to see, likely result in having the best distribution lists. So BSA if you are reading this, perhaps you should offer options for Cub Scouts and another for Boy Scouts. I don’t need more Cub Scout gear and I won’t be camping with my Webelos scout much longer!


Don’t “Blow” It – Plan Ahead on Your Marketing Campaign

Last month my shoes finally decided they were not providing enough stability. My knees were returning to having nightly pain. So I grabbed a pair of tennis shoes that I had purchased on clearance. They were a reputable brand but just didn’t seem to be cutting the mustard and I began to feel like the little pig who build his house of straw – Everything was being blown down. I’m wogging (Yes wogging – That is jog/walking) the Detroit Half Marathon at the end of next month though and I really need to make sure my feet and legs are prepared.

That is why I decided to hop over to Running Fit today at lunch. My knees had clearly reminded me what five months of physical therapy last fall taught me – Get good shoes! So jiggidy-jig-jig off I went to get a new pair of stability running shoes.

While I was checking out, I noticed this marketing campaign flier:

Being into social media, I thought it was an interesting idea. So I grabbed a copy to take back to the office.

The Shop Arbor Hills marketing campaign helped me ask lots of questions. Ultimately though I wondered, was this a well thought out campaign or simply a solution in search of a problem? Did their marketing team sit down with complete shopper demographic information, market research and a goal, or did they simply say, “Selfies are hot right now. This would be a great way to get some increased website traffic, improved awareness for the mall AND free publicity.”

When I got back to the office I did some research. I wanted to know – How old are most individuals that take selfies. I know I abhor them. As coincidence would have it, I found some information. According to a small study done by Selfie City, selfies remain largely the domain of young people. Statistically speaking, the median age of a selfie taker is 23.7.

Finding that information though prompted more questions. Was that information considered when starting the campaign? Does that demographic fit with those who shop in the mall? Did their marketing team figure out the percentage of people ages 25-34 or 35-44 that take selfies? Did that matter to them?

I checked out the Shop Arbor Hills Facebook page and also their Twitter feed. Since the start of the campaign I did not find any selfies. Nor did I find mention of their chosen hashtag on Twitter. It is still a very young marketing campaign though, so perhaps it’s not been seen by many. I will be interesting to see how it plays out in the market and who will participate. I’d sure like to know if it will give them their desired results.

This experience though reminded me of an old nursery tale, the Three Little Pigs. The last of the three little pigs knew best; Carefully choose the best materials for the strongest house, since anything less can be blown away quickly and easily by the big bad wolf! It is the same with any new marketing endeavor. For the best results, do your research, gather your information and prepare the foundation for your marketing campaign. Doing so will net you the strongest campaign with the best results.

Catch on Command: Demand Generation

A few years back I was fly fishing on Michigan’s Pere Marquette River. After a little while a couple hiking up the path stopped and the gentleman said to me, “Catch a fish now…”. I remarked that I wished it were that simple (well, in reality, I don’t – the chase is a big part of the fun).

At the end of your marketing campaign, did you hook more fish than the last time?

Recently I was reflecting that interaction was a little like the demands that are placed on demand generation programs today. Often management and sales folks without a marketing background forget that marketing is an inherently longer-term activity. It’s all about the science of getting into your prospect’s head and helping them make the decision-making journey toward your product. Just like that day on the river.

While I can’t catch fish on command, I can do a lot of things to increase my likelihood of catching one. Spend more time on the water. Test new techniques. Tie different flies. Learn from what worked in the past. And experiment with new things that you think will work, based on what you’ve seen before.

Demand generation has many parallels. If you test, refine, measure, learn, observe, listen, and occasionally take a bold-ass risk your odds go up considerably. While you can’t generate qualified inquiries on command, you can do a lot to improve your inquiry and conversion goals.

As marketers, it’s incumbent on us to help the leadership and sales teams we serve understand this holistic, long-term perspective. I can do a great deal to entice an inquiry. I can even target getting inquiries from the right prospects. But what we can’t do is make the exact fish you want bite precisely when you want it.

I look at my fishing season a lot like I approach a campaign. At the end of the campaign, did I hook more fish than the last time? And if so, did I land more? Those are the true metrics for success.