December 18, 2007

A New E-Mail Marketing Director, You Chose This Person?

One of the most popular things I've ever written is from last week: "Who Would You Hire To Be Your New E-Mail Director?".

Based on the comments, here is who you would hire, in rank order:
  1. Your current Manager of E-Mail Marketing.
  2. Your current Director of Catalog Circulation.
  3. The Director of E-Mail Marketing at your competitor.
  4. Your current Manager of Online Marketing.
  5. The Director of Client Services at an E-Mail Services Provider.
  6. One of your Store Managers, a person who runs a rogue store E-Mail Marketing Program.
I was surprised that an industry veteran at an E-Mail Services Provider was not more highly considered by those who commented.

I purposely asked about a rogue Store Manager who runs a bootleg e-mail marketing program from his/her personal computer, using Outlook Express. Predictably, those who commented were upset with this "candidate".

One of the genuine opportunities for the e-mail marketing industry in 2008 is to "become more inclusive".

Overall, I've found e-mail marketers to be very bright and talented. But e-mail marketing can sometimes be like a high school clique ... highly specialized folks who are knee-deep in the funk required just to get an e-mail into your inbox. The struggle to simply get e-mails into customer in-boxes comes at a price, however.

That price is inclusion.

Not one person who left a comment asked why the rogue store manager was running his/her own campaign. Not one person asked if the current e-mail marketing team was meeting the needs of this important sales channel.

For e-mail marketing to be successful in 2008 and beyond, there has to be a focus that goes beyond deliverability and versioning and targeting and trigger-based programs and best practices and subject line testing and Outlook 2007 rendering issues and the like.

E-mail marketers must also "include" all business partners. There needs to be less talk about technical issues. There needs to be more talk about the specific needs of a business partner.

I've been associated with e-mail programs that were usurped by "rogue" leaders in other departments. I've seen the back-biting that happens when the "rogue" team gets burned repeatedly by the e-mail marketing team. I've seen the contempt the e-mail marketing team has for the "rogue" team. I've measured the effectiveness of each program.

In 2008, it is time for e-mail marketers to be "more inclusive". It is time for e-mail marketers to raise their profile within our multichannel organizations.

Your thoughts?


  1. Anonymous10:26 PM

    I am surprised the catalog director was ranked so highly.
    As for rogue manager, obviously he emailed his customers directly as he had intimate knowledge of them and of what his store was highlighting that week.
    An effort such as that would be hard to integrate with corporate marketing, as it is a specifically tailored intimate message. Depending on style, I would also imagine it might have more success for that very reason. Like using the store employees one recognizes from a visit. Hollywood Video and Blockbuster both have "employee's pick" walls, and it often prompts conversations between customer and employee.
    So Kevin, to carry your question further, how would you integrate the rogue manager's email campaigns into the broader marketing scheme? How would you measure success?

  2. Might the e-mail marketing team have versions of campaigns for store managers to use, then test the store manager version against the version the e-mail marketing team would have sent?

  3. Anonymous12:20 AM

    You are right that a comparative test would prove the point either way--
    If it does show what I think it will, we return full circle to the point you made that email marketing team needs to listen to needs of each channel, not just the merchandising department.
    Based on your posts, I surmise you have pointed this out to your clients already. How well received is this idea? Have you been able to verify it in comparative tests?

  4. This hasn't been an issue with most of my clients. But I hear about this from retailers, and I've received the e-mail campaigns executed by store managers and store employees.

    Long-term, I believe you'll see retail e-mail evolve toward targeted or trigger-based e-mail campaigns originating from stores. Not saying that strategy will perform the best, I just think that inertia will take the industry there.


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