Marketing Maestros

How to Become an Inbox Favorite

By Willette Francis
Posted: Jul 11, 2011 12:00am ET

Email marketing has become an essential part of the digital marketing scene. It's proven to effectively reach consumers, build your brand, retain customers, and, equally important, it continues to foster high ROIs.

According to Econsultancy's early 2011 survey, 72 % of respondents answered that the ROI of their email marketing campaigns is excellent or really good, and only Search Engine Optimization (SEO) technologies scored better.

But high ROI's don't happen overnight; you need strong email marketing campaigns to achieve successful results.  Here's how you can become an inbox favorite:


1. It's all about the subscriber. Create a message that speaks to what your subscribers signed up for, want and expect to get. (This doesn't mean recycle a direct mail piece into HTML form). To achieve this, you must also understand that the consumer's wants aren't about your marketing goals.

2. Compliment email's capabilities. Email marketing isn't an island. Mobile marketing and social media marketing are perfect complementary tools to target your messages. They also allow you to deliver these messages to opted-in users who prefer alternate forms of communication, which inevitably gets you closer to conversions.

3. Choices are everything. Customers are navigating towards all types of digital channels. Establish additional ways to capture preferences and points of communication other than opting in through a company's website-based email signup form.

 Want more insights on building better email marketing campaigns? Get info from our Marketing Knowledge Center.

Three Ways to Use Digital Marketing to Gather Research

By Grace Bello
Posted: Jul 6, 2011 9:40am ET

Your brand may already have a social media presence and e-mail marketing strategy. However, are you using these platforms to hear what your consumers are saying about you?

Here are three actionable ways to utilize your organization's digital marketing tools as a listening device rather than a loudspeaker.

Test subject lines.

Sure, e-mail is an inexpensive and efficient way to get your message across. And advanced e-mail marketers such as yours truly utilize A/B tests to optimize their brand's e-mail open and click-through rates. The next step, then, is taking a hint from the winning subject line and learning what your audience is more interested in.

To use an example from a recent ANA e-mail test, I compared results for the subject line "Masters of Marketing Conference and Webinar" versus "Masters of Marketing Conference in Phoenix, AZ and Webinar." The singular addition of the event location boosted click-through rates an additional 60%. That is, without discounting, an online ad buy, or e-mail list buy, we gained a significant uptick in e-mail engagement.

Clearly, the ANA's audience is particularly interested in events that take place outside of our home city of New York. (Good thing, too, as our annual Masters of Marketing Conference in Phoenix, AZ is sure to be the premier industry event of the year.) Based on your e-mail marketing analytics, what piques your audience's interest?

One tweet, three ways.

Try writing in two or three distinctly different tones on Twitter when promoting the same piece of content. Monitor which message got the most retweets and responses. For instance, our recent missive "4 tips for building a better #blog http://t.co/QV1UaIU" got retweeted to 2,306 followers. Had we the time, we could have tested the same link with three different tones, such as:

We could then see whether the straightforward, teasing, or authoritative tone fared best. And from then on, we could skew our messages to fit what our audience responds to the most.

Therefore, Twitter, just like your e-mail marketing messages, can serve as a testing ground. Use it wisely.

What clicks?

When it comes to your e-mail marketing, which stories get the most clicks? In my D2C days, anything above the fold garnered the highest CTRs. Whether it was the company logo, the header or the top navigation panel, or a big "click here" button, readers would rather handpick their content from the website rather than from the e-mail itself.

However, here at the ANA, relevant e-mail content is king. The more informative and of-the-moment stories in our e-mails grab the most reader clicks. Therefore, I look to e-mail analytics to guide which content we should continue to promote from our Marketing Knowledge Center.

Other opportunities to gauge your best content include keyword searches on your landing page as well as analytics reports. In the vein of a survey, use this kind of data to assess what your audience is interested in and, by extension, how to better serve your customers.

What other digital marketing data do you use to guide your brand?

Blog This Way

By Willette Francis
Posted: Jun 27, 2011 9:00am ET

Blogging is an effective marketing tool that continuously generates brand awareness by getting your current and potential clients to join the conversation about your company's latest news and events.

According to Hubspot's State of Inbound Marketing survey of almost 700 professionals, 57 percent said blogs lead to new customer acquisitions.  That's why, it's essential to put your best blog forward by creating informative posts that invite engagement with your colleagues and consumers alike.

How do you do this?  You can build a better blog (and blog post) with these tips:

  1.  Stay focused on the topic that you've presented in the title. This is what the readers will be looking for.
  2.  Grab the reader's attention immediately with an enticing initial paragraph that ends with a teaser of what's to come.
  3.  Keep your writing style simple by getting the message across in as few words as you can. Paragraphs should be short and broken down into alpha numerical notations, if possible.
  4.  Link and trackback to other blogs that share your interest. This builds community among blogs and bloggers and gets the word out about the products and services that you have to offer.

Click here for more on how blogging can help grow your business.

Get the Most Out Of Social Media For Your Business

By Grace Bello
Posted: Jun 22, 2011 11:00am ET

Social networks including Facebook and LinkedIn allow businesses to target their ads to specific demographics in their favorite online spaces. However, are you making the most of your social media presence?

Here are some quick tips to boost your social media marketing impact, gleaned from our very own ANA School of Marketing seminar on social media metrics:

    1. Track the conversation about your brand
      For quick consumer insights, monitor what customers say on Twitter and Facebook about your brand. On Twitter, the "mentions" tab provides a list of consumer praise and complaints; most importantly, companies can see who may be on the fence about purchasing their products and respond to these users directly. Though consumers often don't convert based on a 140 character tweet, they may choose your brand over another if you "reply @" that specific person. This is simply the digital version of excellent customer service.


    1. Connect with influencers
      Celebrity Kim Kardashian may get paid up to $10,000 to endorse products on Twitter, but your brand could get just as much clout without the hefty price tag. Depending on your product, key influencers could include anyone from mommy bloggers to food editors. Tweet at them or tag them in a Facebook post with a targeted message as to why your product or service shines brightest. If a prominent social media user broadcasts a social media message that promotes your product, it could mean a windfall for your organization. Think of this as online PR--and, wonderfully, it's free.


  1. Build your audience, and listen to them
    In the ANA's social media metrics seminar, presenter Jim Sterne noted that the number of times Twitter users mention new movies directly correlates with how well the respective films fare at the box office. Therefore, it's not as important to blast out your own messages as it is to listen to the buzz that you do get. For instance, are your fans commenting on the price of your product? How about the design? Or in GAP's case, the logo? Chatter, whether good or bad, is a great research tool. Find out through social media what your customers are interested in and what your business should focus on.

For more information on using social media successfully, read up on our Social Media Metrics snapshot, attend our 2011 ANA Digital and Social Media Conference on 7/14 in New York, NY, and sign up for an onsite workshop on social media metrics through our ANA School of Marketing.

Industry Standard to Measure Twitter

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Jun 20, 2011 2:00pm ET

Like a lot of organizations, ANA (@ANAmarketers) uses Twitter to share news and opinion as well as encourage attendees at our events to do the same. While there are industry standards to measure the "traditional" PR activity of an event, I was surprised to learn that there is NOT an industry standard to measure Twitter activity. We heard that from ANA's PR agency, CooperKatz, as well as from the Council of Public Relations Firms.

For the short-term, ANA is looking at the number of people tweeting/retweeting and the number of followers for each. Then, we can "do the math" to estimate the number of people that are potentially being reached via those tweets and retweets. We also look at the respective tweets for positive and negative comments.

Curious - are there other suggestions to measure Twitter activity?

P.S. At ANA's Digital & Social Media Conference on July 14, 2011, we'll ask each of the speakers for their thoughts on this.

Were you watching the NBA playoffs? Or following the chatter on Twitter?

By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Jun 15, 2011 12:00pm ET

Nike got social media savvy during the NBA playoffs this year with a social media data visualization tool. Nike's Basketball webpage not only displayed a live twitter feed it also showed photos of Nike-sponsored players. How could you tell which player was being talked about most on Twitter? The app displayed larger photos of the players who were receiving the most tweets per hour. Dirk Nowitzki lead the Twitter chatter, receiving a remarkable 547 tweets per hour.  Nike also incorporated another social media aspect to the website; you could Facebook "like" your favorite Nike sneakers that were worn during the NBA playoffs.

Do you think the new way to enjoy a sports game is with your iPad in your lap, your flatscreen TV tuned to the game, and your smart phone in your hand? 

To learn more on ways that you can reach consumers with mobile marketing, join us at our first-ever Mobile Marketing Conference presented by MediaVest on September 14.

The Hershey Company continues their charitable legacy through CocoaLink program

By Marni Gordon, vice president of committees and conferences, ANA
Posted: Jun 7, 2011 12:00pm ET

During Memorial Day weekend, my family and I had a great time at Hersheypark!  We really enjoyed getting splashed on the water rides at "The Boardwalk" and designing our own candy bars in Hershey's Chocolate World.  

We also took the famous Hershey's Chocolate Tour where visitors learn how chocolate is manufactured from cocoa bean to chocolate bar.  While eating the free chocolate distributed at the end of the tour, my daughter and I stopped to read brochures about all of the outstanding charitable work that The Hershey Company's founder, Milton S. Hershey, accomplished during his lifetime.  Milton S. Hershey's philanthropic achievements continue to live on today such as the Milton Hershey School which provides a free K-12 education and a home on a 9,000-acre campus to more than 1,200 underprivileged boys and girls.

The Hershey Company is also leading groundbreaking work in the mobile space through revolutionizing cocoa bean farming technology while helping farmers in Ghana.  The Hershey Company joined with the Ghana Cocoa Board and World Cocoa Foundation to create a program called CocoaLink to help farmers communicate and learn through mobile devices. CocoaLink will help as many as 100,000 farmers get free mobile access around critical issues such as agriculture, social programs and medical care. 

I am so excited to hear more about how The Hershey Company is using mobile technology to help others at our first-ever ANA Mobile Marketing Conference on September 14th!  Click here if you would like to read more.


German Efficiency

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: May 26, 2011 12:00am ET

I just returned from a trip to Berlin, Germany where I attended a meeting hosted by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA). During my two days there (too short, by the way), I was impressed with a number of simple efficiency measures that are part of everyday life in Germany.

Upon arrival, the line at immigration took only about five minutes - faster than anywhere I've previously been.

In my hotel room, I needed to insert the hotel key card into a slot on the wall in order for the lights to go on. I was given just one key, and when I left the room, all the lights went off. In the common hallways in the hotel, lights went on quickly when I emerged from my room. Otherwise they were off, unless other guests were in the hallways. Same thing for common restrooms. These simple conservation solutions obviously lead to great energy savings and undoubtedly cost savings as well.

I was brave enough to tackle the Berlin subway system. Escalators there were still, unless people were on them. And a still escalator began moving immediately as soon as a foot was placed on it. Best of all, there were clear signs that alerted travelers to the timing of arriving trains - noting the destination and the number of minutes until the arrival of each respective train. Such signs were visible in multiple places in the station and helped avoid the madness of rushing down the stairs to a platform in anticipation of catching (or just missing) your train. Can't wait until we get those in New York!

Returning to the airport, there was a large electronic sign that noted the drop-off location for every departing flight. Once dropped off, I just took a few steps inside to check-in with my airline - and my departure gate was right there too.

The WFA meeting that I attended was for the Global COMPAG committee (Communications Procurement Action Group). And, of course, we discussed efficiency measures for advertisers at that meeting. They included agency performance evaluations, media auditing, and production decoupling.

Both media auditing and production decoupling gained significant traction in Europe prior to doing so in the United States. For most marketers, media accounts for the greatest percentage of marketing spending, and auditing can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of that spending. Production decoupling is also fairly new in the U.S. and can lead to great savings. I wouldn't be surprised if the Germans helped accelerate work on both media auditing and production decoupling and, if so, those would be two more examples of German efficiency!


What Will the Upfronts Bring This Year?

By Susan Burke
Posted: May 19, 2011 12:00pm ET

What's old is new again, at least according to the slate of shows presented by ABC for its 2011-2012 television season. At the upfronts, ABC promoted a "Charlie's Angels" reboot, along with with the return of "Home Improvement" star Tim Allen in a new comedy and "Pan Am," a look at what life flying the friendly skies was like in the 1960s in the style of AMC's "Mad Men."

However, some networks are using the upfronts as an excuse to look to the future. The Discovery Channel discussed how they will be focusing on reaching their Hispanic viewers during the 2011-2012 TV season. According to a May 18, 2011 article in The New York Times, The Discovery Channel's overall programming budget will increase from $6 million to $1 billion next year, which will benefit Discovery en Espanol and Discovery Familia, along with their other programming channels. According to the same article, it looks as though "Discovery en Espanol [will] be measured by Nielsen the same way as mainstream English-language channels are, starting in October." Will other networks soon follow this example?

To learn more about the upfronts, please visit www.ana.net/media and join the conversation below. How is your company getting involved in the upfronts this year?

Video: Danielle Vona, SONIC, Discusses Cause-Related Marketing

By Grace Bello
Posted: May 18, 2011 12:00pm ET

From our 2011 ANA Brand Conference presented by The New York Times, hear Danielle Vona, VP and Chief Marketing Officer of SONIC, chat about her brand's cause marketing campaign.

SONIC works with the nonprofit Donors Choose, an organization which allows consumers to microfund school projects that teachers could not otherwise afford to implement. By partnering with Donors Choose, the nationwide fast food chain creates affiliations not just with local consumers but specifically with parents, students, teachers, and the greater community. According to SONIC's Limeades for Learning site, "$1.3 million has been donated to help teachers and students across the country." Vona says, "Our cause marketing is all about being connected to our consumers in a very personal way. . . . The opportunity is about getting personal and getting local, and we do that through teachers and schools" via the program.

"Teachers are promoting their own projects [as they promote Limeades for Learning]. . . . It ends up being promoted by the people who are looking for their initiatives to get [funding]." That is, local customers actively engage in promoting SONIC for the betterment of their schools and their children's educational experience. And what better motivator to choose the SONIC brand than your children's future?

How about you, readers? How do you involve your customers in your branding campaigns, and what do you think of cause marketing efforts such as SONIC's?

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About This Blog

Written by our in-house citizen journalists, this varied blog draws on insights from the client-side marketing community, examines game-changing campaigns and industry research, provides actionable takeaways from ANA events, and more.