We are planning to launch an e-newletter. Do I really need to invest in a 3rdparty email distribution company?
By Jennifer Manocchio
There are many 3rd party email distribution companies (iContact, Jango Mail, Constant Contact… just to name a few) available to help you quickly and legally deploy email campaigns. No matter if you are sending to a list of 100 or 100,000, it is definitely beneficial to invest in a 3rd party distributor and here’s why.
1. Protect Your ISP: One of the most important benefits of a 3rd party distributor is the email will not be distributed through your ISP. Therefore, if recipients start marking your email as spam or, worse case scenario, they file a complaint (which should not happen if your recipients have opted-in), your ISP will not be blacklisted. It can be a nightmare for your IT department to get your company’s ISP back on whitelists.
2. Tracking Capabilities: Distributing through a 3rd party will allow you to track the results. Distribution companies will track open rates, click through rates, bounce rates and unsubscribe rates. This will enable you to identify what e-newsletter articles, promotions, etc. are most successful and adjust your editorial calendar appropriately.
3. Deliverability: Most email distribution companies work with popular ISPs to ensure their company is on as many whitelists as possible. The benefit for you is high deliverability rates.
4. CAN-SPAM Compliance: Email distribution companies ensure your email is CAN-SPAM compliant by providing opt-out features, your address and company name. This allows you to be completely confident that you are following the law.
Not all email distribution companies are created equal. Determine what features and level of customer support you will need, and conduct research to identify the best email distribution partner.
Launching an email marketing campaign and need help developing a strategy and executing the campaign? Contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.
On March 10, Clorox sent a letter to the president and CEO of Method Products claiming that a recent use of a yellow daisy on a Method brand multi-surface cleaner bottle “violates Federal and State anti-dilution laws”. This is because Clorox’s “flower design” featured its Green Works line is trademarked and “has become famous to millions of consumers and represent some of the most valuable properties owned by Clorox.”
Since I don’t have a law degree, I’m not going to attempt to determine who is right or wrong in this case. However, rather than being afraid of Clorox and removing the daisy quietly, Method has turned the cease and desist letter into an opportunity to gain the public’s support on this issue.
The co-founders of Method quickly developed a video about the issue and a micro-site (www.votedaisy.com) allowing the public to select who they believe should own the trademark of the daisy – Clorox, Method or Mother Nature. So far Mother Nature is in the lead by 87%.
The company’s strategic response to this has already landed Method national coverage in a New York Times blog in addition to hundreds of green web sites and blogs. Even if Method ends up having to remove the daisy, they proved they aren’t afraid of the 800-pound gorilla, they will stand up for what they believe in and great marketing can help them turn lemons in lemonade.
According to an article in Forbes this week, some pretty major marketers believe consumers need to turn the corner on the recession and start spending their money again.
“New ad campaigns suggest marketers are eager to shake off the gloom of tough economic times–and they hope consumers will do the same. While some economists aren’t sure the tough times are history, advertisers don’t seem to care. Companies are rolling out carefree ads that use humor, colorful images and upbeat language to get consumers to lighten up–and open up their wallets.” So says the article.
Makes sense to me. Oh, wait, no it doesn’t.
One commercial from BMW of North America tells anyone who will listen: “What you make people feel is as important as what you make.” Huh?
“There is a market turn toward the positive,” says Deutsch N.Y. Chief Creative Officer Greg DiNoto. “That’s a smart marketing strategy for any brand when you’re emerging from a recession. Brands need to be associated with winning.” Okay, that actually does make sense… if we have actually emerged from the recession, which most Americans have not.
On the flipside, Hamish McLennan, global chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam, warns that many consumers and advertisers aren’t quite ready to spend money again. “Most people are cautiously optimistic that it’s going to get better, but we’re not seeing precrash levels–and we won’t for a long time,” he says.
So, what’s a marketer to do?
P.T. Barnum, the American showman and businessman, was credited (whether true or not) as saying that you will never go broke underestimating the stupidity of the American public. This camp believes there’s a sucker born every minute just waiting to doll out its hard-earned cash. Benjamin Franklin, on the other hand is credited for encouraging consumers to be frugal: “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Apparently not much has changed over the past few centuries.
One thing is clear: communicating with and/or marketing to consumers – whether the recession is over or not – is a good idea for any brand that wants to be or remain a leader in the marketplace. It’s just a question of “what” and “how” you communicate.
Just this week the Natural Products Association announced the first recipient of its “natural home care seal” – Green Works Natural Bathroom Cleaner. The goal of the certification program is to “eliminate confusion about the meaning of “natural”. Right… that certainly clears it up for me!
I’m not anti-Earth Day or anti-green on any given day. However, from a marketing standpoint, green certificationscontinue to flood the market, decreasing their value – even for the certifications that are beneficial to consumers.
I highly doubt the average consumer can differentiate between green seals. I’m sure if I called 10 people not associated with the CPG industry, they wouldn’t be able to name a single green certification or have any idea of the significance of the Green Seal, EcoLogo, DfE, Green-E, Cradle to Cradle, Natural Products Association Certification, Good Housekeeping Green Seal, etc. And this isn’t the consumer’s fault.
This is a major problem for the industry, and the Federal Trade Commission is even stepping in a year earlier than originally planed to review its green marketing guide. However, I don’t anticipate this will solve the problem anytime soon.
I’m not recommending CPG companies avoid third-party green certifications that enhance credibility. However, CPG companies need to evaluate which green seal will be the most beneficial and push the third-party certification companies to generate more awareness about their seal and why consumers should look for it on retail shelves.
Our company just received an annual award for meeting stringent safety standards; does something like this merit a news release?
By Jim Sweeney
For a change of pace, I would like to answer your question with more questions.
1. Is safety an issue in your industry? [YES or NO]
2. Does the government – local, state, federal – regulate safety standards in your industry? [YES or NO]
3. Do your customers and prospects and business partners and employees care about your safety record? [YES or NO]
4. What about the media who cover your industry, do they care about your safety practices? [YES or NO]
5. Is the award you are receiving a meaningful award? Does it set tough standards and require your company to excel in order to pass muster? [YES or NO]
6. Is the organization giving the award a legitimate business entity qualified to recognized your safety achievements? [YES or NO]
If you can answer YES to all or most of these questions, go ahead and write the release. If you can answer NO to one or more of these questions, you may not want to publicize it.
Want to get your company positive news coverage? Contact me at jim at sweeneypr.com or 440.333.0001 ext. 101.
There are ad agencies and creative agencies and public relations agencies and and digital agencies and social media agencies and SEO agencies and direct marketing agencies and on and on and on.
So what’s a CMO to do?
In the case of SoBe, they decided to try something different. As an alternative to working with a single or primary agency that was doing a good job achieving awareness, but not getting the kind of engagement the company wanted (we assume this objective was identified), they decided to look for agencies (plural) who offered a different perspective.
Angelique Krembs, director-marketing for SoBe says “Going forward we needed to get to engagement. That’s why we evolved our approach.”
According to the story in AdAge: After a request for proposals went out late last summer, Firstborn picked up digital agency-of-record duties, while Weber Shandwick became PR agency of record. TracyLocke, a longtime partner of the brand, continues to handle promotion.
By all accounts, the hybrid approach is working fine so far. SoBe’s agencies say the new model allows for a more-collaborative team effort and will give the brand a competitive advantage.
I guess… but I am admittedly hopeful and skeptical. My concern here is twofold. First, the idea of hiring multiple agencies to complement each other in a quest to achieve better results is not new. Second, it usually results in an epic explosion fueled by greed and egos.
In theory, this concept of “true collaboration” is an extraordinarily good idea. In practice, I have never seen it work. Best of luck to SoBe and its team of agencies; I look forward to seeing what the model looks like a year from now.
As a consumer, I rarely participate in contests, unless it is completing a simple form, because I just don’t have the time. However, my husband and I were recently watching TV and we saw an ad for the “Fan vs. Wild Degree Men Adventure Challenge”. The grand prize is being on a Fan vs. Wild Challenge with Bear Grylls starting in August. How cool is that.?! This is definitely a contest that will get the attention of many adventurers (aka Degree’s target audience).
Just this morning, I saw another contest that caught my attention, the Spic and Span “Unleash Your Clean” photo contest. You can win by uploading a photo of your pet’s dirty mess.
No thanks. All I can envision is cleaning up my boxer’s vomit and other bodily fluids. I’m sure that the contest is intended for more exciting pet messes, like the time that my boxer ate an entire cherry strudel. There was cherry filling all over the family room rug. However, those photo opportunities only come along once in a great while.
While not all brands have the marketing dollars to coordinate such a promotion as Degree’s Fan vs. Wild Challenge, that doesn’t mean contests should be ruled out as a strategy to increase brand awareness, develop user generated content, engage consumers and develop an email/mailing database. In fact, social media has certainly made it easier (and provided a cheaper alternative to print and broadcast advertising) for brands to spread the news through consumers on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.
But as you can clearly see with these two examples, if you are launching a contest be sure it something your target audience will get excited about and can easily engage in.
Hi, I am Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer who ever lived. I really screwed the pooch – literally and figuratively. I embarrassed my wife and my family and my fans and the PGA. I am sorry, please forgive me. Let’s play golf… and just leave me alone.
Hi, I am Billy Payne, chairman of the Masters. I am ashamed of Tiger Woods. You disappointed me and everyone else. You are not a hero. The future will never be the same. Let’s play golf… and make sure Tiger is teeing off late in the day so we can get some great coverage.
Hi, I am Earl Woods, Tiger’s dad. I am dead; yet somehow I am on a new Nike TV commercial. Tiger, I am curious… did you learn anything? Let’s play golf… or you’re history.
Hi, I am Nike, a global marketer of athletic footwear, apparel and equipment that is unrivaled in the world. I make crazy commercials that make people think. I like Tiger Woods, so I just made a crazy commercial about him. Let’s play golf… and buy more of my shoes and stuff.
For some reason, in the middle of all this marketing mayhem, I am more sad than anything else. Sad about what could have been and sad about what is.
And now, in the words of one of the greatest fictional athletes of all time, Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
Conducting media follow-up calls after distributing a news release can be very time consuming or costly if you hire an agency. Is it truly worth the internal effort or cost?
By Jennifer Manocchio
If you have quality news to share, absolutely!
Media follow-up calls are critical to achieving quality media coverage. While you might get some coverage by simply distributing your news release or pitch to your media database or over the wire, you will increase your coverage and build relationships with the media if you get on the horn. This is really more important now than ever before with all the media staffing changes.
Here are three reasons you need to be picking up the phone.
1. Information overload: Between emails, faxes, snail mail, Twitter, Facebook, phone calls, etc. reporters are on information overload. Assuming that a reporter saw your email, fax, or letter/press kit is simply foolish, no matter how important your news is. Placing a phone call will get the reporter’s attention, and if he or she answers, hopefully an immediate response as to whether they are interested in your news.
2. Building relationships: How often have you built a relationship simply by email? The answer is probably rarely, if ever. The same is true of the media.
You are not going to get to know a reporter’s preference, specific deadlines and interests if you never speak with them in person or over the phone. Unfortunately, reporters have less time than ever before for in-person meetings, so phone communication is probably ideal. However, don’t rule out meeting media at trade shows and other industry conferences they will be attending.
3. Outdated Contacts: Publications are reducing and reassigning staff to survive today’s economic condition. If you don’t call the media, it is unlikely you will learn about the change or identify the correct contact. Unless you have built a good relationship with the reporter, her or she is unlikely to inform you about beat or outlet changes.
Need help conducting publicity and media relations or training your staff to conduct media outreach properly? Contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.
It will come as no surprise that coupon use is up in light of the recession. According to DMNews, consumers redeemed 3.3 billion consumer packaged goods coupons in 2009, compared to 2.6 in 2008.
And marketers embraced this behavior by distributing 367 billion coupons in 2009. According to transaction settlement provider Inmar, this is the largest amount of circulating coupons since they started tracking coupon use in 1988.
Personally, I try my best to clip coupons from the Sunday paper, but have honestly found it to be a waste of time. I find myself clipping coupons I never use because another brand or the private label is still cheaper than using the coupon. The most use my coupon book gets is when I’m throwing out all the expired coupons.
So I was extremely shocked to learn about a new extreme couponing class an expert couponer – Brandi Mavrich of Kansas City - is planning. Her credentials? On a recent trip to SuperTarget she saved $316! Amazing.
I don’t plan on signing up for Brandi’s class anytime soon because I just don’t have the time or desire. However, I can see how a family with a house full of kids could certainly benefit.
Brandi’s couponing Web site — KitschyKoupons.com — is still under construction, but you can contact her at email@example.com for upcoming couponing classes.