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  • February 23, 2011

Takeaways from Responsys Interact 2011

Last week the Responsys Interact 2011 conference took place in San Francisco. Here are just a few of the great insights and learnings from the event:

Cross-Channel Marketing:
>>“The mantra ‘Location. Location. Location.’ is still true. But the location has changed,” said Scott Olrich, Responsys’ chief marketing and sales officer.
>>70% of marketers are growing their online budget at the expense of their traditional media budget, according to Shar VanBoskirk, VP and principal analyst at Forrester.
>>Preference centers need to evolve to include other channels beyond email, said Heather Blank, Responsys’ VP of strategic services.

Triggered Emails:
>>Blindsgalore created a 90-day lead nurture program of 10 emails that starts with the ordering of sample fabric swatch. The educational program, which included no discount messaging, increased revenue per email by 843% and lowered the time to order by 17%.
>>Epson’s “Happy Birthday” email generates revenue per email that’s 840% greater than the overall email program.

Segmentation & Dynamic Content:
>>One client’s loyalty program emails have 8,000 permutations due to personalization. Retail Email Takeaway: This level of personalization—really individualization at that level—is truly admirable, but you can move the performance needle with just a few segments or dynamic content modules, so starting small is totally fine.
>>Brooks Brother improved their email performance metrics by up to 90% by doing gender segmentation.
>>Burton segmented by gender and included dynamic content based on product affinity and increased their average order value by 31%.
>>“A modular email template allows you to make dynamic content a part of your daily life,” said Mary Kathleen Sullivan, senior strategy consultant at Responsys.

Email Design:
>>“I have some clients where 9% of clicks come from their preheader text,” said Lisa Harmon, VP of creative services at Responsys.
>>The sweet spot for email width is 640 pixels because the iPhone displays 320 pixels, so the creative would be scaled down by a nice round 50%, said Harmon.
>>“Different emails can have different navigation bars,” said Kristine Zimmerman of Under Armour. Retail Email Takeaway: Your email nav bars don’t need to match your website nav bars, and probably shouldn’t. Look for ways to match up nav bar links with content or purpose of an email.
>>Under Armour tested using an animated gif to flip between a men’s and women’s coat in the primary message. Although the open and click rates of the animated and non-animated control email were the same, the animated version saw an 18% increase in conversions. Retail Email Takeaway: Over the past several months, about 10% of the promotional emails sent by the top online retailers included an animated gif.

Mobile:
>>24% of subscribers view Under Armour’s emails on a mobile device.
>>PacSun is putting Wi-Fi in all of their stores and is in the process of launching in-store email sign-up via QR codes. Every day 1,000 people sign up for PacSun’s mobile messaging, making it their fastest growing channel, although email is still their largest by far.
>>We have to get out of the mindset of shrinking down the PC experience for mobile, said Julie Ask, VP, principal analyst at Forrester. These will be “new new” experiences, she said.
>>Due to greater information available about mobile users, in the future the timing and content of emails will be influenced by who the user is, their location (i.e., at home, in your store, in competitor’s store), the time (i.e., days before cruise), their speed (i.e., standing still, driving), and their altitude (i.e., on flight), said Ask.

Deliverability:
>>You need to average less than a 0.3% compliant rate and 5% bounce rate over a 30-day period to avoid being blocked, said Heather Goff, Responsys’ senior deliverability consultant. Also, “if more than half your list hasn’t opened or clicked an email in a year, you’re probably in trouble,” she said.

Inactive Subscribers:
>>When sending sale reminder emails, Philosophy suppressed inactives, which they defined as 12-month non-responders. They saw lower list churn as a result of sending fewer emails to those unengaged subscribers.
>>Brooks Brothers defines inactives as subscribers with no opens, no clicks and no purchases in any channel in 24+ months.
>>During the second half of 2009, 90% of Epson’s email list was inactive, which they defined as no opens, clicks or purchases in 12+ months. They included 30% to 40% of their email list in a re-premissioning program. Of those that received the re-permission emails, 28% opted to stay in the program. Dropping the remaining 72% of non-responders from the active email list didn’t hurt the email program’s revenue generation.

List Growth:
>>To grow the list for their “Click ’n Save” emails, Southwest Airlines uses posters at gates; messages on their peanut bags, menus and napkins; ads in their Spirit Magazine; and announcements by flight attendants after announcing that it was safe to use mobile devices. Most of these acquisition messages didn’t cost additional money. Southwest has SMS email sign-up capabilities to make sign-up easier and to reduce errors.
>>To grow their list, Whole Foods educated store reps on their email program and incented in-store sign-up capture with a 2-month contest. They saw 180% list growth over that period, with store reps using posters, chalkboards, bag-stuffers, etc. to promote sign-ups. Retail Email Takeaway: Just like you need to be careful when offering generous consumer sign-up rewards, be careful when incenting store associates to collect email addresses. This tactic has been known to generate low-quality list growth, sometimes resulting in significant deliverability issues.
>>Track subscriber performance by acquisition source so you know which sources of growth to focus on, said Sullivan.

For more insights, impressions and happenings from the conference, check out my Twitter stream or see what all Twitterers were saying by looking at the #responsys or #interact2011 hashtags.
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