B2B

Putting a Value on Email Design and Optimization

As email marketing continues to grow in both breadth and depth, I’ve observed that there is still surprising void in the supplier marketplace, those organizations that both create and improve the performance of the email message, or creative, itself.

In direct mail there are countless copy writers and designers who are charged with beating controls. In the online space there are companies that focus solely on improving the performance of corresponding landing pages. Even in email marketing there are many fine organizations that provide high-level optimization intelligence solutions.

Why then are there are few firms that provide comprehensive solutions that are specific to email marketing creative; companies that provide the strategy and creative and testing, from beauty to brains. Companies that create messages that are on brand, highly deliverable, and optimized.

This void cannot be due to a lack of need–so is it the perceived value of the offering? Does the perceived value keep away many would-be solution providers?

Please give your opinion to this LinkedIn Poll (http://polls.linkedin.com/p/50330/joehi).

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Does your Marketing Firm Sing for its Supper?

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Ask any CEO if they’d be willing to share profits with a marketing firm or consultant who provided a positive impact to their bottom line. “Absolutely!” is the response that you’re likely to receive. Now ask them how they compensate their marketing agency, service suppliers, or in-house marketing department. Exactly.

Finding a true marketing partner  isn’t easy to locate but they’re out there. In fact, they’re becoming increasing more common.

For many businesses, the realities of the current economy have resulted in a reduction in marketing spending and staff. Marketing firms, agencies and consultants too are experiencing general belt tightening. Yet, each has a need to drive revenue. Combined, these factors have created a unique opportunity for both parties.

Marketing firms and consultants who satisfy more fundamental or complex needs such as branding, demand generation and cross-channel customer acquisition (services that are typically provided on a project or hourly basis) are now singing for their supper but they’re eating well.

While some firms have always worked under a performance-driven model, others are now beginning to partner with their clients and truly put their talents, time, and even their money where their mouths are.

Marketing partnerships can be are structured on a long term or month-to month basis and can take virtually limitless forms. The shape it takes is dependent on the client’s goals, offerings, and budget as well the core capabilities of the marketing service provider. However, these arrangements are generally based on a lift in client revenue, of which a percentage is paid to the service provider, or they receive a stake in the company, along with a minimum retainer.

Partnerships of this type are best suited to small and mid-sized companies who are seeking reduce marketing costs and/or acquire more profitable customers yet lack the resources or wherewithal to manage the marketing effort effectively. It also works well with start-ups or companies seeking launch a new venture or expand an existing offering.

There are challenges in establishing successful marketing partnerships however. Firstly, it’s a two way street. Mutual trust and performance weigh heavily on both parties therefore and, unlike traditional work-for-hire relationships, the agreements are more comprehensive and the qualifying process is extensive and may require that you disclose privileged information that goes far beyond your marketing efforts and experiences.

Before you enter into a marketing partnership or start your next marketing initiative, ask your vendor if they’ve built successful companies themselves; if not it’s unlikely that they will be able to do the same for your organization. Learn what services they provide in-house and which services they outsource; excessive outsourcing is likely to be reflected in their guaranteed compensation. As with any vendor-client relationship you’ll want to learn more about their industry expertise and client-partner successes.

Marketing partnerships are not for every organization but for those clients and marketing services suppliers that are willing to share the risk, a good match can often reap greater rewards for all.

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mFormer Content Submissions

mFormer is now accepting 3rd-party content for inclusion in its weekly e-newsletter, Marketing Source Weekly. (see example newsletter)

Submissions can include original articles, white papers, webinars and podcasts.

Submission Check List:
→ Relevant to direct or online marketing
→ Timely and unique
→ Hosted or your company website or blog (no direct links to PDFs)
→ No overly promotional language
→ Content summary (200 characters or less)

How to Submit your Content:
Please send a link to your submission as well as a content summary to editor@mformer.com. If approved, we will include a summary of, and a direct link to, your content in the weekly newsletter.

About mFormer:
As the leading source direct and online marketing user-generated content and resources, mFormer’s readership has swelled to approximately 20,000 marketing decision-makers, from Fortune 500 and medium-sized business, as well as 4,000 marketing suppliers.

How to: Generate Quality Leads for Your Marketing Company

Introducing mFormer, a next generation marketing directory and referral service. Built off of years of industry experience, a rock-solid SEO foundation, and a flare for social media mFormer was created with one goal in mind; to align direct marketing and online advertising buyers with qualified suppliers, like you.

With your busy schedule in mind, we’ve made the acquisition of new customers quick and painless:

1) Visit www.mformer.com
2) Select your most appropriate categories
3) Submit your FREE basic listings.

If you’re responsible for demand generation at your organization (or know someone who is) I strongly encourage you to list your companies now.

Need more exposure such as Featured Listings, Email Sponsorships, or Pay-for-performance Sales Leads? Click here to learn more.

Marketing with Social Media 101

Social marketing is on my mind and by the look of things I’m not alone. You can’t get a feed or pick up a trade publication that doesn’t make reference to social media and its applications for marketers.

From traditional media outlets desperately trying to catch up to the most prolific smores (social media whores). They all have a stance, tip, or prediction.

It’s no wonder, as new users flock to social media and its usage rates soar (especially in the business sector), audiences are getting big, fast.

So you’re interested in social media as a marketing tool? Remember this “you get what you give” has never been more true than in this arena.

In direct marketing, advertising, and online marketing it’s all about the push. Direct mail, email, print, SEM. Push push push. That’s not going to change any time soon. Why should it? It works. It’s necessary. But if you’re going to find marketing success in social media you’ve got to pull them in.

Social media users simply will not tolerate pushiness or thinly veiled solicitations. They don’t have to. There are thousands of credible voices out there willing to offer up their feedback, opinions, and recommendations in near real-time.

So what are hungry marketers to do? Try this. Instead of buying that same old media use tools such as Twitter or LinkedIn Groups to surround yourself with your prospects and give. Your time, your feedback, your expertise, your samples.

Are you a consultant? Offer up free advice to those in your target market. Selling a email solution to non-profits? Pro bono a charity that’s close to your heart.

In this world of hyper sharing and distribution you’ll discover that those you help will sing your praises over and again. Choose wisely and they might even be your next, best customer.

Is email still the shiznit?

In my time as the CMO of a direct marketing list company our email prospect list was the single most effective demand generation tool in our arsenal. We literally had to make sure that our sales team was at the ready we a new campaign dropped.

Believe me when I tell you that we were prolific marketers. E-zines, print ads, list research tools, tradeshows, paid search, and strong search engines positioning, you name it we did it. Some were effective, other less so, but nothing made the phones ring like “the list.”

Does the same hold true for your marketing company? Share your thoughts!