Thursday, January 31, 2008

Online Shoppers' Expectations are Rising; Retailers Have One Chance to Make a Great Impression

The 2007 Holiday Shopping: Online Customer Experience Survey by Allurent, Inc., revealed that while consumers might be buying more online, their expectations are also on the rise. In fact, 67% of consumers said their expectations about the quality of their online shopping experience increased since the 2006 holiday shopping season. Major reasons cited include:

  • I know that technology is constantly changing and improving and I expect that online shopping should also be getting better (66%)
  • I see that most retailers consistently advertise their websites so I expect to see them invest in making those sites better than they were last year (46%)
  • I have high-speed bandwidth and expect to see more online stores better presenting products in a way that takes advantage of my faster Internet speed (41%)
  • I am familiar with interactive and visual sites like Google Maps or Facebook and I expect to see more online stores being innovative like these sites (29%)

It's no surprise that young consumers' expectations are more influenced by Web 2.0 sites like Google Maps and Facebook. Nearly half (48%) of 18-24 year-olds cited these interactive Web experiences as the reason their expectations are rising. Retailers will need to learn how to better target this young group of consumers as their purchasing power becomes more influential.

Negative Online Experiences Damage Brands
Consistent with the results of Allurent’s two previous holiday surveys, the results confirmed that consumers do not differentiate between channels. In fact, nearly 40% of consumers revealed that a frustrating online experience would make them less likely to shop at that retailer's physical store. And 60% reported that when they have a frustrating shopping experience online, it negatively impacts their overall opinion of the retailer/brand. An overwhelming 80% would not return to the site after having a negative online shopping experience, meaning with most customers retailers have one chance to make a great impression.

Customer Service Features are Valued, Especially Among Female Shoppers
When asked to rate customer service features that are most important to them when buying online, 74% of consumers rated a perpetual shopping cart as an important feature (ranking it a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1-5), and 70% rated one-page checkout as an important feature, rather than having to click through multiple checkout pages. These two features were rated above other options such as access to a toll-free telephone number, available live help, and accessible contact information. When results are segmented by gender, more women than men found customer service features to be of high importance.

Interest in Desktop Shopping is Strong
More than half (53%) of consumers surveyed expressed interest in virtual catalogs and circulars that can be downloaded directly to their desktops, so retailers could update information on new merchandise and special offers.

More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Eight trends affecting retail marketing in 2008

With so many gloomy forecasts for the 2007 holiday season, retailers could be forgiven for just giving up, according to Eric Holmen, president for mobile marketing firm SmartReply. But there are eight marketing trends for 2008, observed by SmartReply, that could make those retailers feel more cheerful.

Holmen's list of trends to watch for in 2008 include:

1. The American Economy
At the end of 2007, many economists had already indicated that the US economy was headed for a slowdown, if not a full recession. The Livingston Survey, a semi-annual sounding of several respected economists undertaken by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, predicted in December substantially lower growth for the first half of 2008 than they had originally estimated (1.9% growth, revised from 2.9%). In such a situation, marketing dollars are usually the first thing to go. But as marketing and advertising budgets get leaner, the focus on connecting with customers in the most effective possible way becomes absolutely paramount. Not just for retailers, but for every business. So, with a sluggish economy looming, we can expect new initiatives designed to maximize adoption/response rates and readily demonstrate positive ROI in the short term. Many of the campaigns that relied on mobile technology or that were based in web 2.0 fit this bill, and will enjoy continued usage and growth in 2008.

2. The Decline of Traditional Media Streams
It seems this particular topic gets more and more coverage each year- and will continue to, at least until the internet is reclassified as traditional media. According to Forrester's study of consumer media consumption trends released September 2007, 26% of households are using DVRs, like TiVo, to skip television advertising, up from just 19% only a year ago. At the same time, 35% of households actively use MP3 players - like the iPod - avoiding radio advertising, and 52% of households are using broadband internet at home during typical television viewing hours.We are in an age where consumers have unprecedented control over what sort of media they are exposed to, and, by extension, how much and what kind of advertising reaches them. Coupled with the well-publicized decline of newspaper circulation and advertising revenue, and the trinity of traditional mass media that was the basis of every marketing 101 textbook printed before 1996, "traditional media" is slowly tipping over into obsolescence.

3. Green Marketing
The practices of assessing environmental impact and promoting sustainability have transitioned from being exercises of goodwill to economic necessities. Many large multinational corporations are pouring significant resources (read: millions, or billions) into developing sustainability plans and practices, the marketing effect of which is readily translatable to brand image and overall reputation. Wells Fargo, according to data published by the Riskmetrics group, instituted a 10-point climate change action plan and dedicated $1 billion to sustainability initiatives in 2006. Indices like the Ceres, Inc. report on corporate governance and climate change rank companies based on environmental criteria- and with GE, DuPont and Cinergy leading their respective industries on the list. Poor performers are cast in a decidedly unfavorable light. Data sets like these are widely disseminated and available for public consumption, making them extremely significant from a marketing perspective.

4. Mobile Marketing
By combining demographic and media consumption data, SmartReply is forecasting that by 2012, 90% of the most active retail consumers will be unreachable by advertising via radio, television, and newsprint. Only five years ago, these were the main staples of the media mix for every major retail company. With consumers now demanding more control of the marketing messages they receive, and how companies communicate with them via individual accesses and controls, what better platform for reaching them than the ubiquitous mobile phone?As phones have evolved rapidly into multimedia devices (think iPhone, the BlackBerry nation), their capabilities have opened unlooked-for advertising channels. Emarketer, a market research and trend analysis firm specializing in Internet and e-commerce, predicts that advertising on mobile phones and through web video viewable on mobile devices will triple in the next 3 years. The efficacy of webpage ads is consistent whether viewed on a PC or on a smartphone. SMS-based text advertisements and marketing campaigns are increasing in frequency and adoption. The new year will also see a social-network approach to mobile marketing, incorporating group texts and friend-circle communication, hosted by savvy retailers looking to connect with their customers in real-time. Drew Neisser, CEO of, sums the mobile marketing revolution up nicely: "[it's] the missing link in personalized communications."

5. Social Networking
"The continued growth of social networking seems assured," says Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer Senior Analyst and author of the new report, Social Network Marketing: Ad Spending and Usage, "unless teens stop social networking as they become adults." Indeed, eMarketer predicts that almost 10 million more Americans will use a social network in the next year (up to 56.9 million), a 5% increase of online users over 2007. Consequently, advertising spending on social networks will also increase, though perhaps not at the exponential rate witnessed in 2006: spending is projected to increase 75% to $1.225 billion in 2008 (compared with a 155% increase between 2006 and 2007). With the scope of the audience and the scale of the advertising dollars, the social network angle is still very much in play.

6. The Rebirth of Second Life and Game Marketing
"Don't ignore Second Life," says Eric Krangel, Reuters Second Life reporter. "Don't write it off. [This] is a tremendous untapped market that can be reached with savvy marketing.� Second Life, once though of as the new horizon of online marketing, has fallen on disfavor in the latter part of 2007. But while some of the data associated with the virtual world is indeed pessimistic (9 of 10 accounts are inactive, according to the sheer number of subscribers warrants marketers' attention. The "metaverse" has approximately 1.2 million active members- who log in at least once a month- which represents significant buying power, both within the virtual realm and in the real world. As the online population tires of traditional social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, Second Life, with its unique avatar-based interaction model, might just be poised for a renaissance.Likewise, the increasingly interactive and realistic world of online gaming is becoming more attractive to marketers and advertisers. As World of Warcraft and the like are drawing thousands of play hours, the opportunity to reach the gaming demographic through integrated in-game advertisement grows commensurately. Offline, the unprecedented popularity and physical interactivity of the Nintendo Wii makes the new system an exciting tool for marketers.

7. Widgets, Other Service Marketing and More
Widgets, small software applications designed for integration with social networking home pages and PC/Mac desktops, are growing in popularity, thanks to the MySpace/Facebook effect and the new Vista operating system (which supports and encourages the addition of widgets). These gadgets are occasionally frivolous (random picture generators) and sometimes quite useful (real time weather updates, stock tickers), but are generally free to distribute. Attaching a brand to one of these little gadgets can provide access to difficult-to-reach audiences, and certainly represents a future avenue for PC marketing.Other useful services not necessarily tethered to the computer are being provided to customers free of charge by forward-thinking companies keen on deepening brand loyalty. HSBC BankCab, for instance, provides free cab rides to HSBC customers in New York. Another US-based company is currently testing out a new a group text platform for its customers through their cell phones, allowing participants to send text messages to groups of their choosing. These initiatives, like useful widgets, deliver tangible value to potential and existing clients without directly referencing a product or service, and create brand loyalty with each encounter.

8. Do It Yourself
Look out for more "self-serve" web-based solutions for businesses who want to create loyalty and the big brand image, but without the big brand spend. Programs like Voiceblast, a voice-marketing and loyalty tool, tailors the technological power of voice marketing to the small business, handing smaller companies the same tools as a multinational retailer. Unlike the big-spend mobile campaigns, Voiceblast aims to drive sales and profits and reduce cost per touch through personalized, highly effective voice messages for enterprises looking to deliver 100 to 250,000 voice marketing calls per month. This new breed of "self-serve" marketing tool allows businesses to upload their preexisting contact lists, upload or record a personalized message, and create an individualized campaign, including start time and date and message frequency, employing a do-it-yourself approach to campaign creation and implementation.

Projects such as these will enjoy success in 2008 and Holmen is steadfast in his prediction, "Progressive brands and retailers need to take advantage of the remaining mediums still at their disposal and gather these opt-ins and communication preferences, as by 2012, their customers will be very difficult to reach - even for an opt-in request. It will then be too late".

More information about Customer Relationship Management can be found at

Monday, January 28, 2008

Companies Embracing Web Site Localization Are Better Positioned to Compete in a Global Marketplace

JupiterResearch has found that in order for companies to compete in an ever increasingly global marketplace, they must position themselves for global online growth. Outlined in a new report "Web Site Localization: Best Practices in Global Expansion," the companies that are positioned for success in markets outside the United States are those that have not simply developed and applied a uniform template to their web sites, but have tailored the sites to the needs and tendencies of individual countries.

According to the report, 37 percent of all large US companies have not translated their web site content into any other language, despite the fact the average number of languages for the top 10 global brands is almost 30. Large companies that are not developing content for non-English-speaking markets-domestically or internationally-risk losing market share to competitors with relatively more targeted strategies.

The distribution of the global online population will shift over the next few years, but companies should bear in mind that online population does not necessarily correlate with online spending. While the number of online users in Western Europe outranks that in the US, the US online advertising market remains far larger than does the European online advertising market.

In 2007, online ad spending in the US was almost $20 billion, as compared to $11 billion in Europe. In contrast, online retail spending in Europe was roughly on par with that in the US. Meanwhile, in China, where the online population is about two thirds of the size of the US online population, online retail is still estimated to represent a small fraction of that in the US or Europe. As Internet markets mature and consumption habits begin to shift, both consumers and businesses marketing to consumers will boost their online spending. In many cases, however, this shift will take a number of years.

Find out more about Customer Relationship Management at

Friday, January 25, 2008

Interactive Marketers Lack Confidence In Ability To Track Real-Time Effectiveness Of Multi-Channel Campaigns

Sapient has revealed the results of its annual Interactive Marketing Survey. This survey is designed to understand how marketers are implementing and tracking campaigns, the challenges they face and how they plan to allocate marketing spend across channels in 2008. The national survey is based on 120 senior level respondents, all of whom are either directly or indirectly responsible for managing digital marketing budget allocation across multiple channels.

The Interactive Marketing Survey revealed that marketers lack the tools necessary to optimize their marketing efforts across the full spectrum of digital channels. Specifically, more than half the respondents felt only ‘somewhat confident’ or ‘not confident at all’ in their organization’s abilities to track campaigns across multiple channels in real-time, with only 19 percent reporting the ability to make campaign changes in less than 24 hours.

While social networking was cited the least “trackable” digital channel, according to the survey, it was the channel with the largest anticipated increase in marketing analytics spend for 2008. Only 12 percent of respondents tracked social networking campaign performance in 2007; in 2008, 42 percent anticipate using analytics to track this increasingly important channel.

Other findings of the Interactive Marketing Survey include:

--Marketers Confident in Tracking Search and Email Campaigns: Email (32 percent) and Search (30 percent) were cited as the two channels that marketers were most confident in their ability to track

--Cross-Channel Measurement is a Major Concern: Nearly half the respondents said they do not believe campaign data provided to them evenly measures and compares performance across all digital channels.

--Difficulty in comparing metrics across channels is the most common hurdle to accuracy in this area, cited by 28 percent of respondents

--Only 19 percent of respondents said they could make changes in campaign spend in less than 24 hours: the rest would need a couple of days or more. In the fast-paced social networking world, this inability to move quickly could become a big issue for marketing organizations, if not properly addressed

Marketers are also concerned about the wave of acquisitions involving Microsoft, aQuantive, Google, Double Click and others. 41 percent of survey respondents fear being lost in the shuffle with thousands of other clients as a result of consolidation in the online advertising industry.

More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Technology Marketers Challenged to Reorganize Around Customers

Despite an increased focus on customer engagement, most B-to-B technology companies continue to fall far short of meeting customer expectations and commitments, according to the results of a major research initiative by the Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) Council. Most technology vendors badly overestimate their effectiveness in addressing customer needs, while a majority of customers feel ignored and trapped in vendor relationships that are marred by broken promises.

These are among the findings of Profitability from Customer Affinity, a new study that advocates major customer-centric changes in the way technology companies measure their marketing effectiveness. The study uncovers profound disconnects between vendors and customers and finds that IT companies risk serious customer alienation and lost business if they don’t realign their organizations around customer needs through improved co-innovation and cooperation.

Some 99 percent of customers surveyed said they would either scale back or terminate relationships with vendors who fail to build customer trust. Meanwhile, less than seven percent of customers believe their vendors are extremely well-aligned with their needs.

In fact, customers say that brand awareness and existing relationships — often thought to be leading factors in purchasing decisions — have little bearing on their decision to do business with a vendor or channel partner. Customer decisions are influenced by competence, quality service and support, and a sense of true commitment from vendors. Yet vendors continue to direct budget toward initiatives that are ineffective at building customer affinity, the study argues.

Among key findings of the new study:

  • Fifty-six percent of vendors perceive themselves as being extremely customer-centric, but only 12 percent of customers agree. An overwhelming majority of vendors (85 percent) are convinced that they are getting better at responding to customer needs, but 45 percent of customers disagree.
  • More than half of customers surveyed described their relationships with vendors as "dependent and captive," "struggling for common ground," or "combative and adversarial." When asked to describe their relationships with the channel, 45 percent of customers surveyed evaluated their channel relationships similarly.
  • More than 30 percent of customer respondents said they would terminate relationships with companies that fail to gain their trust; 62 percent would scale back existing engagements, while 7 percent would no longer consider the vendor for future business.
  • Co-innovation with customers is vital to building customer affinity. Nearly six out of 10 customers say co-innovation is extremely or very important, with another 30 percent agreeing that it is at least somewhat important. Customer responses indicated that collaborative, two-way conversations — followed by continuous improvement — build customer affinity.
  • Vendors seem to understand that channel partners truly are partners in their success, and that going to market effectively with the channel is critical to maximizing their value to customers. Yet only 8 percent of vendor marketing respondents said they do an extremely good job of teaming with the channel to build stronger customer affinity.

The survey results highlight the challenge marketers face in driving organizational and cultural changes to focus the business around customers. Customers want vendors to rethink the structure of how they embrace, interact with and respond to customers. Cultivating higher customer affinity will lead to better business performance and higher profitability — if companies will pay close attention to the qualities and factors that customers care about.

More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at

Monday, January 21, 2008

US Online Advertising Market to Reach $50 Billion by 2011

Yankee Group announced that the US online advertising market will reach $50.3 billion in revenue by 2011, more than doubling 2007’s revenue. The internet accounts for approximately 20% of overall media consumption in the US, but advertisers currently invest only 7.5% of their budget online. There is tremendous potential for marketplace growth as advertisers bridge this gap. By 2011, nearly 25% of all media consumption will be online, drawing 15% of the advertising dollars.

According to the recently published Yankee Group Research Report, The Cowboys Dance On…and On: 2007 Online Advertising Forecast, online advertising will grow rapidly in the coming year and beyond as the marketplace evolves. The factors driving this continued growth are:
  • Increased online audiences
  • The development of new types of advertising
  • The creation of new publisher business models that help sell interactive advertising
The internet has become the proving ground for new advertising formats, which will propel new media technologies into established print and television outlets. However, despite large online audiences and growing internet media consumption, advertisers’ online budgets continue to lag compared with traditional media. The challenge for digital media companies is to convert internet media into online advertising revenue.

Yankee Group provides some key predictions for the online advertising market, including:
  • Search will get bigger before it gets smaller.
  • Don’t say good-bye to the “dancing cowboys” animated ads yet. Low cost per thousand (CPM) “dancing cowboys” ads will continue to drive much of the revenue growth even as high-CPM brand advertisers shift their budgets online.
  • Privacy will remain a sticking point with users.
  • Social networks will merge into the media fabric (though questions remain whether social networks are the cornerstone of digital media or if they are the “better mousetrap” of the ad server business).

Steady growth requires publishers to invest in new technologies, which lead advertisers to test new ad formats and consumers. Formats that work will become more commonplace, ultimately displacing the most popular forms today.

More information on Customer Relationsip Management (CRM) can be found at

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Most Users Happy with the Overall Performance of Their CRM Technology Vendor an online resource dedicated to providing the latest news, trends and research that directly relates to Customer Relationship Management (CRM), announced the results of its “2008 Trends in Customer Relationship Management” Survey.

The research, conducted in November - December 2007, surveyed high-level CRM executives representing a range of industries. The data gathered provides valuable insight into the issues and challenges important to those responsible for CRM in their organization.

Email invitations to participate in the survey were sent to members. Participants fall primarily into vice president/director/manager categories and 40% of respondents report having 500 or more employees in their organization. The 40 participating companies span a range of industries, with the largest percentage — 37.5% — in the technology sector. A little over 34% of responding organizations have CRM technology budgets of more than $250,000 or more a year.

Key Findings from the survey include:

- 53% of respondents currently use an in-house CRM solution. The top three factors that motivated choosing an in-house solution are Cost (48%), Flexibility (41%) and Speed to Implementation (41%).

- 22% of respondents currently use a hosted CRM solution. The top three factors that motivated choosing an in-house solution are Speed to Implementation (83%), Cost (56%) and Scalability (44%)

- 25% of respondents currently use a combination of in-house and hosted CRM solutions.

- The majority of respondents (56%) did not perform any benchmarking before choosing their CRM vendor. However, 66% did have measurable goals in place to evaluate the success of their CRM implementation.

- 58% report that their CRM implementation was done within the estimated budget. Of those that went over budget, the majority (59%) cited “the rollout took longer than expected” as the primary cause.

- 56% report that their CRM implementation went over the estimated time frame. Of those that went over their estimated time, the majority (74%) also cited “the rollout took longer than expected” as the primary issue.

- Increased user productivity is the most relevant thing organizations have achieved through implementing CRM technology, with 38% of respondents citing this factor.

- The majority of respondents (81%) are happy with the overall performance of their CRM technology vendor.

To view the full executive summary and graphs, click here:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Nine Business Issues That Will Matter Most in 2008 and What it Means to the Technology Sector

The 2008 Presidential election. Energy costs expected to continue their upward climb in 2008. Customers demanding more environmentally-friendly products than ever before. Each are challenges and opportunities that will frame 2008, and are three of nine areas that will have dramatic impacts across multiple industry sectors in the coming year, according to a Deloitte report released by Deloitte & Touche USA LLP.

There were nine business issues that resonated across multiple industry sectors and could have a dramatic impact this year, including:

  • Globalization
  • Convergence
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Rising Energy & Health Care Costs
  • Transparency
  • Technology Use & Integration
  • The 2008 Presidential Election
  • Talent Management

The “2008 Industry Outlook: A Look around the Corner” report features the combined insights, analyses and recommendations from Deloitte & Touche USA’s industry sector leaders and more than a dozen subject matter specialists collected during a series of in-depth, one-on-one interviews.

According to the Deloitte report, for the technology industry, companies seeking to increase revenues and market share in 2008 will need to learn how to effectively straddle the consumer and business marketplaces. Increasingly, consumer applications of technology are leading developments in the business sector – a situation that used to be reversed. Since most technology companies traditionally have been focused on either consumers or businesses, they
will have to broaden their view and identify opportunities and innovations to bridge the two. They also should be alert to the threat of unknown competitors introducing a disruptive technology in this new, convergent space.

A second issue that is expected to play out in both the business and consumer arenas in 2008 is the shifting focus of technology from enabling efficiency and automation to facilitating collaboration and augmentation. The past two decades of industry growth have been driven largely by information technology (IT) applications that automate key business processes, especially those that support large enterprises. The trend is now toward IT that helps people collaborate more effectively and achieve better results through their collective skill sets. This is being evidenced by major waves of innovation around Web 2.0 technologies, social networks, shared workspaces, customer-friendly Web interfaces, and wikis (computer software that allows users to easily create, edit, and link Web pages to create collaborative Web sites).

The biggest challenge and opportunity for technology companies is to reposition their existing technologies and develop new ones to support collaboration and augmentation needs. In the enterprise marketplace, for example, a large number of companies expend significant resources on handling exceptions to standardized, automated processes. In a largely manual, workaround manner, exception handlers struggle to find others to help solve these exceptions, which generates a huge amount of wasted effort. Collaborative technologies could help companies address exceptions more efficiently and effectively and concurrently create greater visibility regarding opportunities for business innovation given emerging unmet needs. In addition, IT could enable companies to connect with numerous, specialized business partners in much more flexible and robust ways to access a broader range of expertise and enhance the potential for learning. Some technologies already exist to address these unmet needs, but there will also be an opportunity to innovate in terms of broader IT architectures to support sustained collaboration across large numbers of independent entities.

More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Gaining a complete, single view of the customer is very important but rarely achieved among firms

In to a recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by SAP, eighty-six percent of respondents agree that customer relationship management (CRM) is important to their companies. Yet only 5% of respondents claim to have single, all-around view of their customers. The data shows that while companies understand the importance of collecting customer data and improving customer service, few have been able to do a good job in these areas.

Other key findings in the study conclude that more than 40% of respondents admit their firms do not have a formal CRM strategy in place. Of those that do, 44% have seen “acceptable” results from their efforts; while another 22% say CRM has been a disappointment. The survey polled executives of various industries and company sizes from around the globe on their experiences and opinions relating to their CRM strategies. Much of the problem is that most companies lack an enterprise-wide strategy. Nearly one-quarter of respondents say that CRM is driven by individual departments and only 23% can claim their CRM efforts are led by a C-level executive outside the information technology department.

Additional key findings of the survey include:

Metrics for CRM success may be misaligned. Companies adopt CRM to increase marketing effectiveness (51%), improve service delivery (48%) or drive new revenue (47%). But companies most often gauge CRM success largely according to overall customer satisfaction (49%) and retention (42%)—wholly different metrics. More than 17% do not measure CRM success at all.

Increased spending on CRM initiatives could improve results. More than 70% say they will spend more or significantly more money on CRM over the next three years. This presents an opportunity to improve data-sharing between departments, although most companies say that spending increases are likely to go toward sales (56%), customer service/support (51%) and marketing (45%), rather than systems integration.

CRM needs executive leadership. Nearly 60% of companies that describe their CRM efforts as disappointing cite a lack of executive sponsorship as a major obstacle to CRM success, compared with 9% of those whose efforts have been successful.

More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at

Monday, January 7, 2008

Five predictions for the e-marketing space in 2008

Online advertisers are being told that their market is set to expand significantly in 2008 as new tools and methods are developed to help make the technique more measurable and effective, according to interactive marketing agency Performance Communications Group (PCG).

The company's executive vice president of interactive marketing, Scott Madlener, has predicted five e-marketing trends for 2008:

1. Intelligent banner ads will address the problems of poor campaign management. Media buyers who demand more control and disclosure about where, when and why their budgets are being spent will look to a new generation of banner ads that incorporate more intelligence, better multimedia, and more secure data capture. Media companies and ad networks will therefore be forced to mature their offerings to provide more value to both the advertiser and user alike.

2. Online advertising will evolve into "social advertising". Facebook is leading the charge in what could be the next evolution of online advertising. By uniting advertisers with social network members, Facebook has created a system in which the members themselves promote the products, not the suppliers. Word-of-mouth advertising - traditionally the best form of advertising because it involves personal recommendations - is difficult to predict, but with access to thousands of network members, scaling up may no longer be a problem and may instead prove to be difficult to contain.

3. Single purpose marketing applications will become increasingly possible. 2008 may well be the year of the "widget" for advertisers. Core operating systems and hardware have matured in 2007, enabling developers to create single purpose mini-applications (such as toolbars, widgets and rich media applications) that offer marketers new branding opportunities and that build customer engagement, interaction, and loyalty.

4. Podcasts and other content will become mainstream. The iPhone and other mobile platforms have ushered in a new era of mobile devices. While iPods and other mobile media players have been around for many years, 2008 may finally provide the necessary economic scale for content providers. In addition to ring tones, Podcasts, and other new media, content solutions should become mainstream in 2008.

5. Indirect distribution will dominate video consumption. Video has been a hot topic during 2007 with iTunes and YouTube dominating the direct video distribution market. However, as more companies start to use RSS and video web services, these forms of indirect video distribution (e.g. podcasts, YouTube's web service for iPhone and AppleTV, as well as private supply channel video feeds for B2B communications) may now become the dominant means of online video distribution and consumption.

More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at Be sure to sign up for our in depth newsletter!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Wednesday Best Email Day in Q3, Late Afternoon Best Time of Day

The best day of the week to send email in Q3 was Wednesday, according to the most recent eROI benchmark study of email-campaign clickthrough and open rates, reports MarketingCharts (via Direct magazine). According to eROI's Q3 data:

  • The average open rate on Wednesdays in the third quarter was 25.4 percent, and the average click rate was 3.9 percent.
  • The second-best day for email was Monday, which had an average open rate of 24.7 percent and click rate of 3.1 percent.
  • The highest average click rate — 5.0 percent — was Saturday, which also had the lowest open rate: 18.7 percent.
  • The third-highest open and click rates were Thursday: 23.6 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.

Time of Day

As for the best time of day for open and click rates, during the heaviest email volumes (8 AM to 5 PM), there's a marked upward trend as time passes, eROI said. That is, both open and click rates gradually increase:

  • From a low of 2.6 percent at 8 AM to a high of 6.4 percent at 4 PM (down to 5.2 percent at 5 PM), in the case of click rates.
  • From a low of 21.4 percent at 8 AM to a high of 34.1 percent at 5 PM, in the case of opens.

Consumer-Focused Industries

Benchmarks for various industries targeting consumers varied significantly in the third quarter, eROI found:

  • The travel & lodging category was No. 1, with nearly half of email subscribers (46.7 percent) opening their emails and nearly 10 percent clicking through.
  • Retail (brick and mortar) companies were at the back of the pack with a 19 percent open rate and a 1.6 percent click rate.
  • In between were gaming, e-commerce, clothing, sports, food service, entertainment, publishing — in ascending order.
More information about Customer Relationship Management can be found at

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Survey: Americans more wired

About 38 percent of U.S. consumers are watching TV shows online, 36 percent use their cell phones as entertainment devices and 45 percent are creating online content like Web sites, music, videos and blogs for others, according to a new-media survey from Deloitte & Touche.

The "State of the Media Democracy" notes that in Deloitte's first edition of the survey just eight months earlier, 24 percent of consumers used their cell phones as entertainment devices, meaning that usage has soared 50 percent.

About 62 percent of "millennials" (consumers 13-to-24-years-old) are using their cell phones as entertainment devices, up from 46 percent in the previous study conducted February 23-March 6, 2007. And among Generation X consumers (25-to-41-year-olds), the number grew to 47 percent from 29 percent in the earlier survey.

About 20 percent of consumers said they are viewing video content on their cell phones daily or almost daily.

The percentage of consumers watching TV online jumped from the 23 percent figure reported in the previous study. Roughly 54 percent of those surveyed said they are making their own entertainment content through editing photos, videos or music, 45 percent said they are producing that content for others to see, and 32 percent said they consider themselves to be "broadcasters" of their own media.

Among the study's other findings:

-- 54 percent of consumers said they socialize via social networking sites, chat rooms or message boards, and 45 percent said they maintain a profile on a social networking site.

-- 85 percent of consumers still find TV advertising to have the most impact on their buying habits, but online ads are second best, with 65 percent of consumers saying they have the most impact, beating out magazines at 63 percent.

Source: Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

For more information on Customer Relationship Management, visit

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Three e-Marketing Trends for 2008

A new survey has revealed the biggest e-mail marketing trends that will see widespread adoption in the UK in 2008. Based on analysis of the campaigns of brand name clients of Experian CheetahMail, the company’s global e-mail marketing and customer intelligence service, in 2007, Experian predicts a sharp increase in the number of campaigns using:

1. Dynamic content: CheetahMail’s analysis shows that, compared to January to June 2007, the second half of the year saw a 220 per cent increase in the number of campaigns using dynamic content. Dynamic content enables brands to send highly targeted e-mail marketing messages using the latest customer data to tailor communications to directly relate to the recipient’s customer history, personal interests and socio and geo-demographic background.

2. ReMarketing messages: In the second half of 2007, there was a 75 per cent increase in the number of campaigns using remarketing e-mail messages to re-engage with lapsed customers as well as those who leave websites without completing their purchase.

3. Operational messages: Compared to the first half of the year, the last six months of 2007 saw a 66 per cent increase in the number of brands sending order confirmation and delivery of goods status messages to their customers.

More information on Cutomer Relationship Management can be found at