February 04, 2014

Gliebers Dresses - The ESP

Gliebers Dresses is a fictional story about the Executive Team at a New Hampshire based catalog brand. The team struggles to deal with modern business dynamics. If reading a fictional story about email marketing (in this case) is not your thing, then move along, we'll see you tomorrow when I talk about Hillstrom's Contact Strategy - now available on Amazon for $29 (click here). Notice how I got a sales pitch in there?


Setting: The Executive Team gathers for their weekly Executive Meeting.


Glenn Glieber (Chief Executive Officer, Owner): Welcome, everybody! There's nothing more exciting than New Hampshire in February. Who's attending the Great Rotary Ice Fishing Derby? And how about that Super Bowl on Sunday? What a blowout!

Lois Gladstone (Chief Financial Officer): I haven't seen a beating like that since our Holiday catalog missed plan by 30%.

Pepper Morgan Pressley (Chief Marketing Officer): Zing.

Meredith Thompson (Chief Merchandising Officer): The sleeveless ruched sheath sold really well. A portion of the assortment was truly trend right. I am optimistic.

Roger Morgan (Chief Operating Officer): Well, I'm not optimistic.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: Here it comes.

Roger Morgan: In my right hand, I am holding a $795 report from Woodside Research.

Lois Gladstone: We have to sell 28 dresses to cover the cost of the report, Roger.

Roger Morgan: Huh? Anyway, this report, chocked full of best practices and stunning tips, suggests that email marketing is the bridge that connects the baby boomer customer to the mobile savvy shopper we all crave to engage with.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: Careful.

Roger Morgan: I was so impressed with this report that I decided to put the CEO of EngageRight, the esteemed Chet Benson, on the phone.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: EngageRight?

Roger Morgan: The email vendor.

Lois Gladstone: Somebody is listening to our conversation on the phone?

Meredith Thompson: Besides the NSA?

Chet Benson (CEO, EngageRight): Greetings everybody!

Pepper Morgan Pressley: Roger, I am responsible for email marketing. Allow me to introduce myself to those on the phone. I am Pepper Morgan Pressley, the Chief Marketing Officer at Gliebers Dresses.

Roger Morgan: Of course you are. Email marketing is the bridge that connects young and old. I think if our communications were more relevant, we could better engage our customers, gaining mindshare.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: Our communications are relevant.

Roger Morgan: Last week, you featured a sweater dress in the email campaign.

Meredith Thompson: Hey, sweater dresses are making a comeback!

Pepper Morgan Pressley: Roger, last November, you told us that email marketing was dead.

Meredith Thompson: You told us that Woodside Research recommended we switch to all-text communications. All SMS, all the time. Remember?

Pepper Morgan Pressley: In October, you told us to shut down the website and embrace Facebook commerce. You said that Woodside Research identified Facebook commerce as a $14.4 billion dollar opportunity.

Roger Morgan: Trillion. $14.4 trillion dollar opportunity.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: It's a $14 opportunity.

Lois Gladstone: In September, you told us that we needed a community manager, somebody who could relate to the kids and their modern shopping habits. You said that Woodside Research thought, wait, I have the quote here (shuffling papers), they thought that "... in today's highly competitive marketplace, brands that do not embrace community marketing are likely to experience reduced consumer mindshare, and there's nothing worse in a crowded marketplace than reduced consumer mindshare."

Roger Morgan: I'm flattered!

Chet Benson: If I may, I'd like to ...

Lois Gladstone: Roger, is email marketing dead, or is it so relevant that we have no choice but to embrace it?

Roger Morgan: I think it depends upon the Woodside Research report the user purchases.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: You purchase all of them!

Roger Morgan: Woodside Research encourages Executives to broaden their ability to become thought leaders.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: Here's a thought. I'm the leader responsible for email marketing. Me. Pepper Morgan Pressley. The Executive in charge of Marketing.

Meredith Thompson: But without my merchandise, you have nothing to send to the customer. I deserve to have a say in how we execute email marketing.

Lois Gladstone: If we believe you, Meredith, then I control the money and by default, all email marketing. We cannot send email campaigns without paying an ESP.

Meredith Thompson: ESP?

Lois Gladstone: Email Service Provider.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: They work with the ISPs to get the message into the inbox.

Roger Morgan: Can we get back on topic ASAP? I brought Chet in to see if the services he offers can make our email communications more relevant.

Chet Benson: I'd like to begin by ...

Meredith Thompson: I have three merchants that run their own email marketing programs.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: What?

Meredith Thompson: They believe we do such a bad job that they each have their own marketing list. They send their own campaigns.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: Wait ... what?

Meredith Thompson: They just cut and past images from the website for the merchandise they want to feature. They use Outlook, batching and blasting their way to their customers.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: Their customers?

Meredith Thompson: It's their merchandise.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: Does anybody else find this insane?

Lois Gladstone: This whole discussion is insane. We've identified at least four people who think they own email marketing, and I pay the bills. I propose that we restructure, placing email marketing under my purview.

Chet Benson: Our software solution allows multiple stakeholders to ...

Pepper Morgan Pressley: I'd like to put a stake through the heart of this issue. I own email marketing. Me. Pepper Morgan Pressley. I think it might be illegal to create email marketing programs without the consent of the customer.

Meredith Thompson: My subscribers can opt-out at any time. Several have. They send me postcards in the mail.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: Do they opt-out of your programs or my program?

Meredith Thompson: I never really thought about it. I suppose they're opting out of your program.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: Do you see what you started, Roger?

Roger Morgan: Woodside Research started this.

Meredith Thompson: I don't know what you are all so fired up about? If my team sends their own email campaigns to a couple hundred customers, and my customers spread the word that we're bringing back the sweater dress, it ends up being like a whole lot of free marketing for Gliebers Dresses.

Glenn Glieber: I love free marketing!

Chet Benson: Pepper may be right, you have to coordinate all campaigns in an omni-channel environment, or you ...

Pepper Morgan Pressley: I was with you, Chet, until you said the word "omni-channel".

Roger Morgan: I think Chet gets to the heart of the issue, folks. Omni-channel executives have matrixed responsibilities. I say that we give Meredith, Lois and I an opportunity to re-invent the email marketing platform at Gliebers Dresses.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: Gene, help me.

Dr. Gene Feldman (Executive Vice President of Global Brand Direction): In my days at Taco Bell, we had enterprising employees. Some varied the meat-to-spice ratio in our tacos, others managed the percentage of yellow die in the nacho cheese, and a few started their own food truck businesses. One woman, who will remain nameless, thought she was, and I quote, "growing the brand" by selling our product via a food truck to rural communities in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She bragged about how she put a dent in "the pasty business" up there. But ultimately, Taco Bell had to shut down her food truck. We had to have one voice. We had to have consistency. We had to offer the same experience, regardless.

Glenn Glieber: Feldman, what the heck are you talking about?

Roger Morgan: I think he's advocating an omni-channel approach.

Chet Benson: Are you going to accept my RFP and switch to my platform?

Pepper, Lois, and Meredith, at the same time: No!

Chet Benson: Then thank you for your time. Good luck. You're going to need it.

Meredith Thompson: He doesn't get it, does he?

Pepper Morgan Pressley: Roger? No, he doesn't get it. At all.

Meredith Thompson: The dude on the phone. He doesn't get it.

Lois Gladstone: In an omni-channel business model, all stakeholders get to have a say. Roger taught us that.

Meredith Thompson: We iterate, and we iterate, and eventually, we land on a solution.

Dr. Gene Feldman: And the solution is?

Meredith Thompson: We're going to stay the course, that's the solution.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: That's not a solution. I own email. I'm in charge of marketing.

Lois Gladstone: In an omni-channel world, we all own marketing.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: Roger, this is your fault.

Roger Morgan: No, Pepper, Woodside Research united us. They unite everybody around their message.

Glenn Glieber: Pepper, won't you join us in our journey?

Lois Gladstone: An omni-channel journey.

Roger Morgan: Fueled by email.

Meredith Thompson: A marketing tool that we all share.

Pepper Morgan Pressley: Good gravy.