Target Marketing January/February 2014


A Delicious Sting Operation

In October 2013, Harvard researcher John Bohannon, Ph.D., revealed what happened when he sent bogus articles to scientific and medical journals all over the world. Here's the lede of his gleeful mea culpa in Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS):

Betting on Mobile?

This time it really is the year of mobile, say many working in the marketing space. Without consulting each other, marketing vendors offering their predictions for 2014 nearly unanimously say mobile is dominating the conversation. The one outlier, Boston-based marketing services provider Extraprise, says marketing automation will accomplish the year's main trend of brands becoming "one with the customer's journey."

Digital Marxism

It is the combination of people and tools that create value of any kind, in any industry. In the world of data and analytics, the data or processes themselves are meaningless without a person to make it all happen and to interpret the result. Sure, computers and databases can churn out value, but they have to be loaded with programs and rules first—not to mention the strategic understanding afterward.

First Dates, Sans Coupons

Jason Blackhurst wants every BankAmeriDeals experience to feel as good as a first date. That's the premise behind one of Bank of America's (BofA) latest offerings to its customers, says Blackhurst, the bank's SVP and e-commerce product executive. BankAmeriDeals uses data in bank customers' accounts to find out what they buy, then partners with merchants to offer them deals on products and services—much like loyalty programs, but directly linked to their bank debit cards.

Highlighting Your Way to the Top

Ever wonder how Web marketers get their products to appear in Google Shopping? Google's shopping, map, news and image searches use structured data to serve users these special result sets. Structured data refers to pages webmasters have marked up on the backend with tags to describe each content field for search. On a product detail page, for example, structured data can help search engines index a product's name, brand, price, color(s), size(s), image(s), description, customer reviews and more.

More Customers, Please!

The idea behind targeted marketing is to make your efforts more effective—to deliver more return for every dollar spent—by targeting people more likely to become your customers. For most marketers, the best place to start is with your current customers, who like your products and services and buy them repeatedly. So when looking for new customers, it only makes sense to target prospects who share key characteristics with your current customers.

No Excuses!

When was the last time you sent your customer/prospect/member/donor/fan a message via email, direct mail or another channel? Have you gone silent because you don't think you have a reason to write? Too often, marketers only communicate with customers and prospects when they have something to sell. While that's a solid business objective, there are many other reasons to communicate that can help build your brand, strengthen customer loyalty and open new doors for two-way engagement across channels.

Nutritionist Finds Sweet Fulfillment Success

Nutrition and fitness guru J.J. Virgin knows so much about the evils of sugar in white bread and other foods that she can, and will, write a book about it. But in 2012, her knowledge of production and fulfillment had as many holes in it as an equally sugar-laden slice of Swiss cheese.

Top 10 Most Popular Symbols in Subject Lines

At surface glance, symbols don't appear to be that big of a deal. But the biggest trend in email marketing over the last year was the increased use of symbols in the subject line, including inventive "special symbols," such as ★ ♥ ✈.

Up Close and Personal

In 2013, a customer-centric approach to marketing was the de-facto standard. Research has proven that the more personal, integrated, multichannel and real-time you can get, the more likely you are to motivate the target to take the desired action. Consumers are fiercely proud of their individuality and want to be recognized as such by marketers—and they are irritated by marketing outreach that does not address their preferences or personalities. Here are seven ways you can make your campaigns more personal in every channel to achieve better marketing results and ROI:

Why People Hate Marketing

The late comedian Bill Hicks had a hilarious routine about marketing. You can still see it on YouTube. But before you go there, you should know, he's going to tell you to kill yourself. And then he's going to rephrase that message in some of the most offensive, unsafe-for-work language you'll ever hear. Hicks isn't the only funny man to draw the old evil marketing caricature. Dilbert did a whole run of comics on the soulless marketing department—apparently marketing isn't a real skill, just liquor and guesswork.