Brian Howard

Brian Howard
Increase the Effectiveness of Your E-mail Campaigns With Rich M

You can achieve nine times the revenues and 18 times the profits of a broadcast e-mail campaign simply by targeting your customers instead of treating each of them the same, according to a report released earlier this year by Jupiter Research. While Web analytics can give you the information you need to segment your customers, how will you get your more relevant message to them? Rich media may offer the solution. Doug Mack, CEO of Novato, Calif.-based rich media solutions provider Scene 7, and Sheila Dahlgren, senior vice president of marketing for Scene 7, spoke with the Target Marketing Group about this growing content

HP Gets Personal

The tech leader’s one-to-one e-marketing program fulfills the promise of the Internet. The promise of e-marketing has been, by and large, theoretical. Yes, many companies have made good use of Web-based and e-mail initiatives. Some have thrived using little but e-marketing. But in the aggregate, most companies still e-mail the way they mail—ignoring the rich dynamic capabilities of the medium—and many Web sites function as little more than static, online brochures. Part of the problem is that e-mail and Internet are easy to use, but hard to use effectively. It’s a truism that was not lost on the team at Hewlett-Packard (HP) charged

Money in the Bottle, the Bank Bag ... and the Trash Can

Cheaper doesn’t always equal better. When CSi Complete, a company that provides customer satisfaction indexing for auto body shops, was looking to expand its customer base, it decided it was worth the extra money to send a little more than a standard mail package. Working with Positive Response, a direct marketing consultancy in Dublin, Ohio, CSi Complete orchestrated a three-step dimensional mail campaign to get the attention of the busy owners of auto body shops and encourage them to set up telephone meetings with a sales representative. First, the company sent a message in a bottle—a 32-oz. sport water bottle that served as a

Database Makeovers

Five companies turn data dilemmas into marketing solutions Too often, companies think of their databases as … databases: collections of names and numbers, of dates and dollar amounts. And technically, that’s what they are. But if you think of your database as just names and numbers, that’s all you’ll get out of it. Your data is your record of customer interaction; as such, it is your most valuable commodity. Like the story of the jeweler who locked up his customer list—not his diamonds—in his safe each night, marketers must revere their databases. The sad fact, however, is that much data is in disarray.

Eye on Privacy: All About Breaches

No company wants to experience a privacy breach. But no security plan is foolproof, and a breach is most likely to happen in a manner you hardly expected. As such, it’s best to have a plan of action. Breaches can occur in numerous ways, says Oliver Ireland, a partner at Morrison & Foerster, which specializes in financial services. Types include Web site hacks, lost or misplaced computers, physical penetration or burglary, employee misconduct, and negligent failure to secure or destroy information. Once a break in privacy occurs, assess its severity. “In the financial world, I think about two kinds of breaches,” says Ireland. “One is the

Eye on Privacy: Scrutinize Your Privacy Process

If you haven’t had time to keep up with the ever-changing privacy landscape (or have had your head buried in the sand waiting for the privacy issue to go away), now is a good time to assess how your company says it protects privacy—and how it actually does. With new legislation in recent years changing the way companies must do business, the money it’ll cost to double-check your privacy practices could be dwarfed by what you might pay in fines. Perhaps the best way to assess your risk is to conduct an audit of your privacy practices. According to Brian Tretick, a principal at

Trigger Happy

Triggered campaigns let you send e-mail, build relationships and make money even while you sleep With its silver bullet mantel long since sullied in the spam gutter, e-mail finds itself in the unfamiliar position of underdog. Discredited for prospecting thanks to plunging open rates and handcuffed by Can Spam legislation, e-mail as we once knew it is dead. Long live e-mail. But while e-mail has devolved into a lousy way to get a foot in the door, it’s become an excellent way to keep a foot there. Using e-mail to stay in contact with current customers can reap great rewards. You can parlay the

Don’t Fight the Law

Your Legal Team Need Not Be the Bane of Your Creative Efforts: A Guide to Prosperous Coexistence Your legal team and your creative team are two departments wed by corporate necessity and predestined to disagree. Or are they? It’s true these two factions, equally vital in the advancement and survival of your business, often approach situations from polar perspectives. But with a little cooperation, understanding and, most importantly, communication, your legal and creative departments can get along like June and Ward Cleaver rather than Peggy and Al Bundy. Perhaps the first step to harmonious relations between legal and creative is understanding the

Market Focus: Farmers

Selling to the Salt of the Earth Trying to corral farmers into a tidy market segment is a fool’s errand. The landscape of American farming is as rich and diverse—from spuds to corn to fruit to cattle—as the country itself. According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service [NASS] 2002 Census of Agriculture, America’s farmers, numbering upwards of 2 million, tend more than 939 million acres of this great land. To do this, America’s growers spent $191.4 billion on products such as feed, seed, chemicals, equipment and information, according to the 2003 NASS report “Farm Production Expenditures 2002 Summary.” Yes, these farms may

5-minute Interview with Brad Shapiro, Date.com

Date.com, an online personals site, never wanted to be an e-mail marketing bad guy. But it found out one day that it was. “Our privacy director went to a conference,” explains Brad Shapiro, Date.com’s vice president of marketing and sales. “He introduced himself to the guy from the [Federal Trade Commission], who basically told him: ‘Your company is on my watch list for spam complaints.’” Date.com, which relies heavily on e-mail prospecting, knew it needed to act quickly and decisively. Shapiro spoke with Target Marketing about this process. Target Marketing: What were the first steps you took to right your image? Brad Shapiro: It was about putting

Optimize Search Results Now

Make your Web site click with algorithm search engines … and customers. You may be under the impression that getting your Web site ranked on “spidering” or algorithm search engines such as Google involves the dark arts, or at least a secret handshake. If so, you can’t be blamed. Some search-engine optimization (SEO) companies make it sound as if high rankings are more hocus-pocus than strategy—that the algorithms (part computer program/part math equation) that determine page rankings are designed to estimate something other than how relevant a site will be to an Internet searcher. While there are a number of complicated and technical aspects

Well-equipped E-mail

Good design gives your message a fighting chance. If it feels as if e-mail marketing has become a battlefield, perhaps that’s because it has. Your messages must duck blacklists while staying in the good graces of whitelists. They must shimmy through spam filters, and then hope—even with opt-in e-mail—that when they finally arrive where you’ve sent them, recipients are still at the addresses. Given all that your e-mail messages must go through to reach their intended targets, it would be kind of sad if you hadn’t equipped them to present your offer in the most effective way possible. Introductions Once your message

Getting Sophisticated

By Brian Howard For B-to-B marketers, adapting direct marketing principles that work for selling widgets to the world of supplies and solutions is an ongoing process. Because we're all aware of the vast potential that lies in getting it right, new ideas for obtaining a firmer handle on how and why companies buy spring eternal. For instance, the time-honored practice of basing marketing decisions on firmographics can be misleading. As Steve Tinlin, vice president of the Business-to-Business Alliance at Abacus, explains, "industry classifications tell you nothing about the purchasing activity of a prospect." Tinlin suggests marketers use transactional data. "But wait," you

Go Mobile Marketing Takes to the Wireless Web

By Brian Howard In the not-too-distant future, direct marketing may come to resemble something of a high-wireless act. Exponentially more Americans, young and old, are going mobile—using smart phones, palmtop computing devices and laptop computers that can access the Internet wirelessly—to conduct business and make social arrangements. As this trend develops, reaching customers at the right place may become as important as reaching them at the right time, and just as challenging. All of this, of course, is contingent on marketers not mucking it all up. Mobile devices, by their very nature, are intimate things. They're kept on or near users' bodies—in

Hit Your Target

By Brian Howard Generating quality B-to-B leads on the Internet has always been a risky proposition. Advertise on a general business site with too broad an audience, and your leads are bound to be watered down. Advertise on a site that gets no traffic, and you'll be lucky to get any leads at all. A new service from Venture Direct WorldWide, B2B On Target, looks to find a happy medium. Venture partners with publishers in selected verticals that will bring in the type of traffic attractive to B-to-B marketers. These partners display an offers page when visitors take an action on their Web