Data Driven Marketing in 2015

Over the past few years there have been huge developments in data driven marketing with a plethora of online tools and sources available to help marketing campaigns succeed. These tools are game changers in the world of online marketing and taking advantage of them is imperative to keeping up the pace with your customers.

What is data driven marketing?

At its core, data driven marketing is the use and analysis of credible data to engage your customers, consequently driving value. Being in tune with the needs and expectations of the customer, as an individual, is the key to making smart marketing decisions. This may sound straightforward but we’re pretty sure almost any marketer will tell you that with data coming from every angle, it’s an overwhelming process to make effective, real-time decisions – to say the least.

Let’s face it, these days it’s a rare thing to visit your Facebook account and not have items you looked at a week ago pop up in adverts. The digital world has empowered the customer, giving them their say, which has resulted in higher expectations. So, engaging customers and meeting their demands is more important than ever, and with a well-informed, individualised approach, businesses are sure to yield a higher return on marketing investments.

What can data driven marketing achieve?

Teradata Corp recently published the Teradata 2015 Global Data-Driven Marketing Survey, an international study comprising of data driven marketing trends. The results of the survey that involved 1,500 marketing and communication executives’ worldwide, serves as a good indication of just how much value businesses will be placing on the practice in 2015.

Having individual insight is increasingly important to marketers with executives revealing they are searching for a deeper understanding of customers,

  • 90% of marketers say individualising marketing is a priority. Moving towards one to one personalisation in a real time context is their main focus.
  • 38% of marketers reveal that one of their biggest challenges is how to better acquire and retain customers.
  • Marketers have more than doubled their use of data-driven marketing in the past year and a half. 78% of marketers now use data methodically, as opposed to 36% in 2013.
  • Data-driven marketing is viewed as the means to the end of gaining individualized insights.
  • Marketers however still struggle with individualizing offers and communication. Only 50% routinely apply data to engage consumers with 44% admitting a lack of consistency in omni-channel marketing.

It’s apparent from the results that the future of marketing is all about meeting the expectations of the individual on a one to one, personal basis. We’re expecting that data driven marketing will be increasingly be used as businesses become reliant on the impressive results found in an increased data driven marketing spend. Avoiding mass, bulk messaging and focusing on the customer as an individual is paramount. Today, the top priority of marketers is to understand and respect the needs of their customer to drive value, a point concisely summed up in a recent article from Adweek,

“Consumer demand for personalisation makes information the most valuable currency”

Marketing Infographic

Teradata 2015 Global Data-Driven Marketing Survey Infographic

How do Business Ecards fit into my online marketing strategy?

Corporate Ecards from www.ecardmint.com are a highly valuable tool when considering your online marketing strategy. What sets them apart from your everyday email marketing is the additional dimension of entertaining the recipient while conveying your personalised marketing message in an E-greeting. Television advertising companies worked this out decades ago, entertaining and amusing your audience will make them more receptive to the marketing message being broadcast. By implementing the sophisticated account tools offered by Ecard Mint, the user can select the right message for each section of their customer base or tailor it for individuals.

So, what are the benefits?

With every Company Ecard marketing campaign, you can use the in-house analytics to record the Ecard delivery, open rates, bounce rates, unsubscribers and other behaviour patterns. With data analytics, you can determine the success of each marketing campaign and alter your strategies accordingly.

An Ecard Mint account allows you to breakdown and segregate business mailing lists into specific groups and individuals. This makes it easy to categorise your email marketing campaigns and target those groups. Giving your customers an entertaining or complementary experience – keeping it relevant and welcome, will allow for a great return on your investment.

If Teradata’s survey has shown us anything, it’s how important it is to properly engage your customers on a personal level. The data driven conversation is one that needs to be had, and implemented quickly if you want to keep up the pace with competitors and customers. It’s not just about sales prospects; it’s about building strong, maintainable customer relationships. A little personalisation is something we’re all looking for; and we’ve found an effective way for you to provide it – online marketing with ecards.

Effectively Engage Your Customers

This week Apple revealed the release date for Apple Watch, their first new product line since the launch of the iPad in April 2010, which led to customers camping outside stores worldwide. We’re guessing Apple’s new time machine is going to cause just as much of a stir. Every one of their product launches over the past 10 years has resulted in customers waiting in long lines for the latest slice of the ‘Apple’ pie.

 So what makes their product promotion so successful?

Aside from the obvious appeal of cool design and innovative technology, Apple know how to promote a product. They follow a minimalist marketing technique comprising of simple style elements, as displayed in their advertising Campaign for iPod, which incorporated silhouettes of dancers against plain colour background, employing fashionable music and clever slogans like ‘1000 songs in your pocket’. In an article published by Jonathan Gardener, “Keep it Simple: a new mandate for marketing”, he explains:

“Simplicity is what consumers want, what marketers need, and what standard-bearers such as Apple, Google, and Amazon have proven as a successful way forward.”

When designing the Ecard Mint website, we thought carefully about the corporate ecard categories. When launching a product or service, engaging with customers isn’t always easy as there is so much noise and choice out there. Something Apple has figured out is to say one thing, and say it well, so with this is mind, we included the business announcement e card category for you to say what you need to say in a clear, simple and eye catching way.

Announcement Ecard

‘Hot Off The Press’ Announcement Ecard

When you engage your customers effectively, you are establishing a relationship with them and creating a dialogue that has real meaning. The rules of simplicity don’t just apply to Apple, they apply to every industry.

After all, who isn’t in favour of a little more simplicity in this world?

Email Marketing: When is it ok NOT to follow best practice?

When devising an email marketing strategy for your organisation, there’s lots of different people out there ready to tell you what’s considered acceptable and – more importantly – what’s not. But if we always take these ‘best practices’ as gospel, how can we be sure that we’re really doing the best for our business?

As tempting as it is to play it safe, sticking to the letter of the law in this instance isn’t likely to get you noticed amongst the other thousands of companies all sticking to the rules whilst vying for that all-important inbox interaction.

So if you know your business and your audience, is there really any harm in trying out something new?

Below are some of the most widely held email marketing mantras along with some suggestions of how and when to consider mixing things up a little.

Limit your subject line to 50 characters

Best practice dictates your email subject line should be around 50 characters in order to draw your audience in – hook, line and sinker.

But what if, maybe, you don’t? Instead you could base the length of your subject line on the content, purpose and readership of your email. If you’re sending out something that’s informative for your loyal subscriber fan base, a long-ish and engaging subject line implies an email containing content that’s similarly well written and is likely to appeal to that particular audience. On the other hand, a very short enigmatic subject line might be used to convince new leads to open up and take a peek.

From our experience, often the company ecards that show the highest open rate for our clients are those that are most adapted for their audience. In short – an enticing subject line is an absolutely must.

Don’t send a marketing email that is too text heavy

We hate to repeat ourselves, but just as the subject line should be adapted for your audience-type and purpose of your campaign, so should the content of your email. If you have lots of information that you know will be valuable to your readership, why would you want to leave it out? Obviously, we’re not saying that you should waffle on for 16 paragraphs about one topic, but in our opinion counting words should always be secondary to providing engaging and relevant copy that’s presented in easily digestible chunks.

Make sure your recipients can unsubscribe

This is one rule that you should never bend or break. It’s a legal requirement to provide a clear and easy method for your customers to opt out, preventing their information from being used in further direct email marketing campaigns.

Make sure the aforementioned email marketing opt-out is hard to find

Why exactly? If a recipient wants to opt out but can’t find how to in a quick and easy manner, you’re in danger of breaking the law (remember the law states that this option must be clear and easy to find) and irritating them in the process. Next time they receive an email from you that they didn’t want, it’s unlikely that they’ll think: “Wow that’s a great deal, maybe this company isn’t so bad after all” and instead are much more likely to muse: “Wow, here’s another email from that really annoying company that I vowed never to use and will take great joy in dissuading others from using in the future”.

So make unsubscribing as easy as possible. Contacts that don’t want to hear what you’re saying aren’t the right audience anyway. By unsubscribing they’re actually doing you a favour by helping you create a more exclusive and targeted list for future mail-outs – let them.

Luckily, if you’re sending an ecard for direct email marketing purposes through Ecard Mint, this is something you won’t need to worry about as the ‘unsubscribe’ link is automatically placed clearly beneath every corporate e-greeting.

Don’t send your marketing email at the end of the day/on a weekend.

Do we agree? Well, that depends. One thing we can agree on is the importance of timing. For example, if you’re targeting parents, a mum or dad waiting for a child outside the school gates at half past three is likely to dig their phone out of their pocket and check for any new electronic mail. Likewise, if you’re looking to announce the start of a sale via email which starts at the weekend, the Friday evening before or even the Saturday morning of the promotion’s launch could very well be the best time to inform your customers about it. And whilst later emails might not be so well-suited to the 9-5ers, a younger remit such as students, could respond very well to night-time communications. Again, what’s likely to work is largely dependent on your audience. When the best time to send your marketing email is outside of the normal office hours, don’t forget that most email marketing platforms – including Ecard Mint – allow you the ability to schedule your email at any time, day or night.

So to conclude, when it comes to finding the right way to communicate via your email marketing campaigns, it’s clear that rules are as important as learning from your own mistakes. It goes without saying then, that testing and re-testing to find out what works and what doesn’t is absolutely crucial.

And faced with the question of whether or not to keep following the rules when you find yourself concocting the next e-shot in your campaign, never underestimate the power of insider knowledge of your audience and industry as being the best trick up your sleeve.

Cement Business Relationships in the Year of the Ram

Global alliances between companies, whether they’re in the US, China or Timbuktu, are a fact of life in business today. Intercontinental business dealings are rife and the importance of maintaining them detrimental. Now, we’re not saying that every business interaction is going to turn in to a full blown business affair, some are merely fleeting, but the fact remains maintaining strong lines of communication is key. Successful business partnerships depend on the management of the relationship, not just the deal.

So, with this in mind, what better time to put things into motion and celebrate the first day of the Chinese calendar with your overseas counterparts. Have a browse through our static and animated corporate ecards and share in the traditions and customs of the Chinese New Year. Just to make your choice a little more difficult, we’ve added a brand new animated ‘Firecracker’ ecard.

Chinese New Year Ecard

New ‘Firecracker’ Chinese New Year Ecard

The Year of the Horse brought spectacular celebrations in 2014 so join in the festivities for the Year of the Ram.

Growth of Mobile Makes China Largest Online Population

This week, it emerged that China now not only has the largest global population, but also has the biggest and quickest growing online population in the world too.

CNN reported that with more than 649 million internet users, China outnumbers “the entire U.S. population two to one.” And of this figure, the article reports that 80% use their smartphones and tablets to connect.

In light of these growing figures it’s not so surprising that last year Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, decided to address a room of Chinese students in their native Mandarin. Speaking to the students of the prestigious Business School at Tsinghua University, Zuckerberg told the audience that he was “so glad to be in Beijing”.

See his full speech in the video below:

Despite the banning of Facebook and other social networks such as Twitter and YouTube in China, Zuckerberg’s attempt to impress shows the importance of creating good business relationships with the world’s largest economy..

It’s also a country that will soon be celebrating the most important date in its calendar – Chinese New Year. And just like a certain social media mogul, we’ve also been busy creating some ingenuous way to connect and share in the celebrations with business partners overseas…

Our Chinese New Year Ecards provide a great range of traditional designs to celebrate ‘The Year of the Ram’. Take a look at our newest addition to the company ecard category below:

Shan Shui style ecard for Chinese New Year

New “Shan Shui” Corporate Chinese New Year Card

Happy Birthday iPad!

Happy Birthday Ecard Design. Billboard with paster and Happy Birthday message

Happy Birthday iPad! – New Birthday Company E-Card

On January 27, 2010 Steve Jobs waved Apple’s very first iPad in front of global (and instantly envious) audience.

Preview our New Birthday Ecards for Business

And in the same week that iPad celebrated half a decade, we added not just one but TWO new mobile friendly birthday ecards for business to our site:

Click on the links to preview the new animated Birthday Billboard and Birthday Waiter e cards.

Manic waiter birthday ecard with cake and Happy Birthday message

Click on the image to preview this new business birthday ecard design

iPad and the Evolution of Email Marketing

Amongst other changes in the world of eCommerce, the iPad helped create a different kind of customer: one that was available most of the time and took their online life with them wherever they went.

Over the past 5 years, the shift in online communication from desktop to rucksack caused the evolution of email marketing techniques which considered campaigns around this modern consumer and it’s why we were absolutely adamant when we built Ecard Mint that all our business e-greetings should be compatible with tablets and smartphones.

It’s hard to believe that five years has passed since the iPad was introduced… and even more difficult to remember a time when they didn’t exist at all. But one thing is without question: Apple’s iPad has completely revolutionized how we use technology, not just in our personal life, but in business as well.

New Company E-Cards to Celebrate the Year of the Ram!

As we approach the end of January, the New Year might seem like old news, but just around the corner is another important celebration and valuable marketing opportunity to mark down in your company calendar.

On February 19, in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Macau, millions will be welcoming in the new lunar year represented, this time, by the ram.

Last year we celebrated the ‘year of the horse’ as shown in one of our designs below:

Chinese New Year Ecard  Red and Gold Design for the year of the horse

One of last year’s Chinese New Year designs.

But it’s out with the old and in with the new as we present our updated static e-greetings which focus on the ram symbol of the Chinese Zodiac:

The sheep/ram/goat is the eighth sign in the calendar – a good thing as 8 is considered a lucky number in Chinese culture.

Red and gold Year of the ram Chinese New Year ecard

Year of the Ram –  updated Chinese New Year ecard

Happy Chinese New Year red and gold year of the ram ecard design

Another updated e-greeting for Chinese New Year

We’ve also updated the animated Chinese New Year ecards, ‘Scrolls’ and ‘Night Lanterns’, to reflect the change.

We hope these Chinese New Year ecards for business encourage your company to share in the celebrations in the Far East, allowing you to pass on your wishes for a peaceful and prosperous time ahead.

Why You Shouldn’t Proofread Your Company Ecard

It’s easy to make a misstake.

Yes, we did that on purpose.

Over our busy festive period, we got quite a few emails from customers who, once they’d purchased their company Christmas ecard, realised that they made a bit of a boo-boo – missing an apostrophe here, a letter there and so on.

“No problem,” we said and helped them re-create and send their e-greeting again.

Luckily, in these cases, the corporate ecards were sent as links or scheduled for to be delivered at a future time and date, so no harm was done.

But what if they hadn’t? How can these errors be avoided?

When you’re the charged with the task of creating and sending out your next company mail-out it’s often hard to see the wood for the trees when it comes to those pesky typos, grammatical slip-ups and the like. Proofreading is one of those skills that you can be absolutely brilliant at, until it comes to reading your own work.

Thankfully, Wired magazine  recently confirmed that the reason these mistakes slip through the net is not because we’re careless but, rather, because we care. And they even got a scientist to back it up. With the help of a Psychologist (Tom Stafford from the University of Sheffield) the article, “What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos”, explains:

When you’re writing, you’re trying to convey meaning. It’s a very high level task… When we’re proofreading our own work, we know the meaning we want to convey. Because we expect that meaning to be there, it’s easier for us to miss when parts (or all) of it are absent.

So now we know the science behind it, how do we banish those embarrassing blunders from our business e-cards and email marketing campaigns once and for all? The answer’s quite simple: don’t proofread, get someone else to do it.

A fresh pair of eyes on your copy might sound cliché but can work a treat.

Obviously, we’re not suggesting that you make someone else correct a first draft – but when you think you’re ready to send your email out into the big wide world, don’t. Pass it on to the person sitting next to you instead.

Open the FINAL door on the Ecard Mint Advent Calendar

Well, we made it.

It’s Christmas Eve and during the last month, we’ve shared a total of 23 company ecards. Some were animated, some were games and some were simply static but all, we hope, were unique in their own way.

So without further ado, here’s door number 24 on our business ecard advent calendar ready and waiting to be opened. We thought as it’s a tradition for many to pick up the turkey on Christmas eve, this fun little game has some relevance.

Enjoy!

Door 24 Advent Calendar