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12 Monate der Fusionen und Übernahmen – ist der Markt nun komplexer oder weniger komplex als zuvor?

Alex Timlin
Sales Director
New Markets, emarsys

12 Monate der Fusionen und Übernahmen – ist der Markt nun komplexer oder weniger komplex als zuvor?  

Als salesforce.com ankündigte, dass man Exact Target kaufen wolle, sorgte das sowohl im Internet als auch in der Branche selbst für viel Gesprächsstoff. Tatsächlich handelte es sich dabei aber nur um die letzte in einer stetigen Reihe von Entwicklungen, die das Angebot für digitale Marketer entscheidend verändert haben – speziell in Hinblick auf den Bereich der E-Mail- und Marketing-Automatisierung.

Im Mai 2012 kaufte Teradata das Unternehmen eCircle und fusionierte es 2013 mit Aprimo, einem Anbieter für Lösungen zur Marketing-Automatisierung; der strategische Plan sieht die Integration der Technologie bis 2014 vor. Oracle hat mit Eloqua ebenfalls einen führenden Anbieter im Bereich Marketing-Automatisierung erworben. Zuvor  entwickelte Adobe mittels der Übernahme von (unter anderem) Omniture und Efficient  Frontier seine Marketing-Cloud; nun befindet man sich im Prozess die Marktstrategie verfeinern.

Die Frage ist: Inwieweit profitieren die Kunden davon?

Marc Benioff, Chairman und CEO von salesforce.com, meinte in der Presseaussendung anlässlich der Übernahme von ExactTarget: „Es wird erwartet, dass im Jahr 2017 der CMO mehr für Technologie ausgibt als der CIO … Indem wir unser Angebot um ExactTarget erweitern, machen wir salesforce.com zum logischen Ausgangspunkt für alle Unternehmen; wir platzieren salesforce.com in der Poleposition, wenn es darum geht, diese Chance zu nutzen.“

Nun, es ist gut für salesforce.com, dass sich das Unternehmen einem neuen, immer einflussreicher werdenden Publikum präsentieren kann – aber was ist, wenn ein Kunde nur an Marketing-Automatisierung interessiert ist, und nicht an einer ganzheitlichen Vision, wie sein CRM-System zu revolutionieren wäre?

Anfang dieses Jahres sagte Rolf Anweiler, VP Marketing bei Teradata eCircle: „Als einheitliche Marke und Organisation können wir das Portfolio von Teradata eCircle als „klassenbeste“ Einzelprodukte anbieten, inklusive weiterer Investitionen in die individuellen Bereiche (Marketing Operations, Kampagnen-Management und E-Mail-Marketing) – oder auch als branchenführende Plattform für ein Integriertes-Marketing-Management (IMM), das es Marketern ermöglicht, die Marketingaktivitäten an sich, das Multichannel-Kampagnenmanagement sowie das Ausführen und die Analyse von Kampagnen tatsächlich zu integrieren, was größere Effektivität und Effizienz und einen gesteigerten ROMI bedeutet.“

Er benötigte also fünf Zeilen, um seine eigentliche Geschäftsidee zu beschreiben. Das soll nicht heißen, dass man bei Teradata eCircle das Geschäft nicht versteht; es wird nur immer schwieriger, herauszufinden, was die konkreten Vorhaben sind.

Und: Der Ansatz des “ein Anbieter, der alle Bedürfnisse abdeckt“ – ist es das wonach der Marketer sucht?

Typische Vertreter dieses Ansatzes sind IBM, Microsoft, SAP und Oracle – während hingegen Unternehmen wie salesforce.com, die sich SaaS (Software as a Service) auf die Fahnen geschrieben haben, traditionellerweise eher disruptiv waren – die „Störer“ also, die dieses Paradigma in Frage stellten und flexiblere, fließendere Lösungen für Geschäftsprozesse und die damit verbundenen Herausforderungen anboten.

In der Branche kursiert seit Langem ein Witz, wonach die Verwendung von SAP dem Einfüllen von Beton in ein Unternehmen gleichkommt (Economist Article). Doch das ist einfach deshalb so, weil Unternehmen dieser Art ein so breites Angebot haben, das so viele Technologien und Prozesse berührt, dass nur ganz klar definierte Prozesse für funktionstüchtige und implementierbare Lösungen sorgen können.

Fakt ist, dass auf Seiten der Anbieter eine eindeutige Verlagerung hin zur Konsolidierung von Technologien stattzufinden scheint.

Einige wenige große Unternehmen entwickeln also gerade ihre Vision davon, was alle anderen Unternehmen für sämtliche Geschäftsfälle und Aktivitäten brauchen könnten und sollen – eine fantastische Sache, aber was, wenn diese Vision nicht ganz der ihren entspricht?

Die Geschwindigkeit, mit der sich die digitale Welt verändert, ist für manche Kunden durchaus beängstigend – die Verwendung von Smartphones und Tablets explodiert, es gibt andere Zahlungsmethoden, ein aufregender neuer Channel nach dem anderen wird vorgestellt (Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, in-App messaging). Können diese immer größer werdenden Firmen da überhaupt den entscheidenen Schritt vorausbleiben?

Ganz allgemein gilt: Je größer ein Unternehmen, desto rigider sind die Prozesse, die es zusammenhalten – weil man bei zigtausenden von Mitarbeitern, die auf hunderte Geschäftsbereiche verteilt sind, diese Prozesse tatsächlich braucht, um sicherzustellen, dass die Dinge auch funktionieren.

Die Frage ist also auch: Sind die Veränderungen des Marktes gut für die Innovationskraft?

Wir sind stolz darauf, mehr als 35 Prozent unserer Einnahmen in Forschung und Entwicklung zu investieren; ich bezweifle jedoch, dass es viele Aktionäre von NYSE- und NASDAQ-Unternehmen gibt, die diesen Standpunkt teilen würden. Wir bleiben dabei: Diese Investitionen sind notwendig, weil sowohl der Markt als auch die Anforderungen unserer Kunden sich ständig verändern.

Was ich persönlich von all dem halte? Ich sehe es unkompliziert: Ich denke, unsere Branche erlebt gerade interessante und aufregende Zeiten, und ich kann kaum erwarten zu sehen, welche Innovationen und neuen Technologien aus diesen Akquisitionen resultieren werden. Wichtiger noch: Ich bin überzeugt, dass die Möglichkeiten für „disruptive Kräfte“ wie emarsys gerade wieder etwas größer geworden sind.


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In 12 months of mergers and acquisitions, is the market more or less complex than before?

There has been a lot of Internet and industry buzz about Salesforce.com’s announcement to buy ExactTarget, but this is only the latest in a steady stream of changes in the industry for digital marketers – especially in Email and Marketing Automation.  

Teradata acquired eCircle in May 2012, then merged them together with the Aprimo marketing automation brand in March 2013 with a roadmap of how the technology will be integrated into 2014. Oracle also acquired a leading Marketing Automation provider in Eloqua, and Adobe earlier created their Marketing Cloud from acquisitions of (among others) Omniture and Efficient Frontier and are still in the process of refining that proposition.

So the question is, is this good for customers?

Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com, said in the press release of the acquisition of ExactTarget that “The CMO is expected to spend more on technology than the CIO by 2017…The addition of ExactTarget makes Salesforce the starting place for every company and puts salesforce.com in the pole position to capture this opportunity.”

That’s great for Salesforce.com to be able to position themselves to a new, increasingly influential audience – but what if the customer just wants Marketing Automation and not a whole vision of how to revolutionise their CRM systems?

Earlier in the year, Rolf Anweiler, VP Marketing at Teradata eCircle said: “As one brand and one unified organisation, Teradata eCircle’s solutions portfolio is offered as ‘Best in class’ standalone products, with continued investment into each individual area (Marketing Operations, Campaign Management and Email Marketing), or as the industry-leading platform for Integrated Marketing Management (IMM), enabling marketers to truly integrate operations, multi-channel campaign management, campaign execution and analytics, resulting in greater effectiveness and efficiency and increased ROMI.”

It took them five lines to describe what they are aiming to do as a business. That’s not to say they’re not good at what they do, it’s just that finding out what they do is getting more and more complex.

But is the ‘one company for everything you will ever need’ approach what marketers are looking for?

IBM, Microsoft, SAP and Oracle have traditionally been those types of businesses.

But SaaS based companies like Salesforce.com were the ‘disruptive’ companies that tried to challenge this paradigm and offer more flexible, more fluid solutions to business challenges and processes.

There is an old industry joke that running SAP was like pouring concrete into a company (Economist Article). But that’s simply because businesses like this have such a broad offering, that touches so many different technologies and processes, that there needs to be clearly-defined processes for these companies to be able to function and actually implement their solutions.

There seems to be a definite shift in the supplier side of the marketplace towards consolidation of technologies.

There, a few huge corporate enterprises are putting together their vision for what companies need for every part of their business, – which could be a fantastic thing, but what if you vision isn’t quite the same as theirs?

The digital world is changing at a frightening pace for some customers – smartphone and tablet usage is exploding, payment methods are changing, exiting new channels are emerging all the time (Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, in-App messaging). Can these increasingly large enterprises keep ahead of this pace?

Generally speaking, the larger the company, the more rigid the processes that keep them together – because with 1000’s of employees across hundreds of business units you need those processes in place to make sure things actually work.

So the question is, are the changes in the market good for innovation?

We’re proud to invest more than 35% of our revenue into research and development, but it’s hard to see too many NYSE and NASDAQ institutional shareholders feeling the same way. But it’s something we need to do because both the market and the needs of our customers are evolving so quickly.

My own take on this is quite simple: I think it’s a very interesting and exciting time to be in our industry and I can’t wait to see what kind of innovations and new technologies come out as a result of these acquisitions. More importantly, I think that the opportunity for disruptive businesses like Emarsys just got a little bigger.

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Email, Social, Mobile – Where Do You Lay Your Bets for 2013?


As we are already coming to the close of the first month of the New Year, technology continues to rapidly evolve, and so does the equipment used to communicate and access information. The prevalence of fully connected desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones mean it is now possible to access email and engage with social media on the run. Social contact and the exchange of information has never been so portable, or so prominent in everyday life; so why – despite the fact that social media reflects the spirit of the age – is email still favoured as the most effective means of communication and delivers the greatest ROI for marketers? 

Email marketing

A 2012 UK survey of more than 800 digital marketers, email service providers, agencies and in-house or client-side companies, revealed that 70 per cent still regarded email as an ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ channel, when it comes to offering a great return on marketing investment, whereas only 44 per cent felt that social media marketing did the same.

In fact, email marketing is a very powerful and cost-efficient tool, which, if used effectively, delivers all of the five distinct steps in customer lifecycle marketing – reach, acquisition, conversion, retention, and loyalty. In other words, it can convert those with little or no interest in a service or product into prospects; convert prospects into customers; and then maintain positive contact with customers in such a way as to help them become repeat customers.

Social media marketing

Unsurprisingly, given the amazing exponential growth of social media users, there is a year on year increase in the extent to which companies are integrating their email and social media functions, with a particular focus on encouraging the sharing of content via email. Most companies recognise that these are complementary functions – although there are definitely gaps in knowledge among some businesses about how to gauge the extent to which email marketing is successfully generating social media contacts and activity.

Mobile marketing

Despite the popularity of smartphones – now owned by over 58% per cent of the UK population – strategies for mobile marketing are lagging behind other kinds of marketing tactics. Almost 40 per cent of companies surveyed had no strategy in place for optimising email for mobiles, and more than one quarter of agencies said the same. Almost 50 per cent of all the survey respondents had no idea how many of the emails they sent were read on mobile devices.

This seems an extraordinary statistic given the likelihood that failure to optimise websites and emails for mobile phones will inevitably lead to a loss of business. As mobile users have smaller screens they are therefore likely to spend less time reading emails and browsing websites if this is a clumsy and unsatisfactory experience.

Email marketing has the capacity to continue to deliver a positive return on marketing investment as long as businesses take account of the variety of interfaces used by customers. Email is fast and direct and it can be delivered to a customised database of people who have opted in to receive information, as well as shared via social media sites.

It has been predicted that the number of mobile internet users will overtake the number of wired internet users by 2015. On this basis, digital marketers need to ensure that mobile interfaces are optimised, easy to use and attractive to customers.

So in answer to the question where do you lay your bets the answer is still Email. Email is still king when it comes to ROI and with social sharing your email content ‘reach’ can be extended. But whatever you do ensure that your email content is also mobile friendly as smartphone recipients are spending less time reading content especially when it has not been optimised.

Econsultancy email marketing Industry Census 2012

Ofcom – The communications market 2012

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Christmas Email Marketing Tips – Part 1


As Christmas draws nearer it is essential as marketers that we begin to put our marketing strategy into place for the festive season. With this is mind, we will be providing you with some tips on Christmas email marketing over the next few weeks to help you engage your customers and increase conversions.

Marketing of Christmas past 

When planning your Christmas or seasonal marketing programme, start by taking a look at the same time period in previous years. We’re all only human after all, so learn from your previous mistakes, build upon previous successes and make this year’s seasonal period the best one yet for your organisation.

Some questions to ask yourself when looking at all aspects of your online and email strategy….

  • Can I make previous negatives into this year’s successes? Incorporate learning’s into this year’s strategy and tactics.
  • How were customers behaving on your website this time last year? And how were they interacting with your email programmes?
  • Which promotional offers worked the best on the website and through email programmes?
  • Which product lines performed better/worse than others? What were your top sellers? Across which channels?
  • Has the competitive landscape for your business changed in the last 12 months? Are you aware of what online strategies/programmes your competitors are implementing?
  • Has the market or the way people communicate online changed in any way and how will this affect you?

Tried & tested tactics

Looking back at the nitty gritty and onto your specific seasonal tactics – which marketing tactics have you tried & tested in previous years? Which worked and which didn’t? Which are you going to make a key part of your 2012 and future campaign?

Have a think about some of these tactics, could they work for your organisation?

  • Campaigns with gift suggestions
  • Communicate urgency and catered to last-minute shoppers
  • Send a Christmas e-card to customers
  • Promote online or in-store gift-card redemption
  • Offer more payment options
  • ‘12 deals of Christmas’ messaging
  • ‘Advent calendar’ countdown messaging
  • Exclusive January sales preview alerts
  • Being clear about last order/delivery dates
  • Offer a value-add gift wrapping service

Look out for the next Christmas tips post…

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Using Preheaders Effectively in Your Email Campaigns

A preheader is a small section that appears at the top of your email, above your message content.

A lot of companies use a call to action in pre-headers in their email marketing campaigns to encourage recipients to open and read their emails – so how can you effectively use pre-headers in your campaigns?

Here are some ways we’ve seen pre-headers used effectively in email campaigns:

1. Include an online version link of the email

If people cannot see the full email via their mobile device, give them the option to view it on a webpage to encourage them to click through the email and see what you have to say.

2. Deliver a punchy compelling summary of the email to get subscribers to open the email

People are busy. Many people scan emails rather than read them top-to-bottom, and many use Gmail-style text snippets or their email program’s preview pane to determine which emails to read. It needs to be a short and sweet summary that the recipient can quickly glance at. Giving people an overview of why they should read your email can increase the odds that they’ll actually do so.

3. The proper placement

The marketing preheader should be in the top left of the email. Your functional preheader text (such as add to address book, unsubscribe, forward to a friend) should be in the top right corner.

4. Character count

Be aware of the length of the preheader text that will be displayed in the inbox preview. This length varies depending on the ISP. iPhone’s display about 140 characters (in the vertical view) regardless of subject length. Gmail shows about 100 characters for the subject line (this number can vary based on the screen size). Some ISP’s like Hotmail don’t show any.

Try to focus on only a few of the above for campaigns, also do A/B testing to see what works best to your recipients. 

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Are Your Emails Pinteresting?


Used majorly as a social photo sharing website, Pinterest has quickly become one of the top social networks last year. It was recently announced that Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten invested $100 million into the company to assist the next stage of growth which will see them tap into international markets.

The growth of Pinterest has been astounding and although the debate continues on whether or not Pinterest will have a strong commercial value, the recent investment strongly suggests it will continue to grow. 

There has been an increase in sites incorporating the ‘pin it’ button which allows users to share image-based content on Pinterest. This works a treat for ecommerce businesses as this tool can really help share products with like-minded people and generate another communication channel to their websites.

But let’s not forget that websites are not the only marketing channel that can use Pinterest to their advantage; email marketers can also use the power of Pinterest . So how exactly can Pinterest work with email marketing?

Target

Think about the different profiles of your contact database and which boards would be relevant to them. This will help determine whether or not Pinterest is even relevant to your business to begin with.

You can set up different boards for your customer segments and use your Pinterest account to target them outside of your emails. This form of marketing should coincide with your email marketing though so it is probably a good idea to send emails to your segments to promote the boards related to them.

Sharing

Include the ‘pin it’ button in your email. Not only in the header and footer to link to your Pinterest boards, but in the content of your email for sharing. Remember the content blocks that can be pinned should be image based if they are going to be Pinterest friendly.

We always recommend that you include social sharing buttons throughout your content rather than allowing the recipient to simply share the whole email. This is because if you are promoting products, the reader is more likely to share content to people who will find specific content relevant rather than sharing a whole email newsletter unless the products featured throughout the newsletter follow a similar trend. Emarsys have recently widened the social networks available in our social sharing functionality to include Pinterest, meaning you can easily include the ‘pin it’ button and let it work hard for you!

Interact

Before deciding which images to include in your emails, why not set up a board of images on Pinterest and ask your followers to help you choose. This can help you decide which images will work best by using the opinions of followers who may fall into your target demographic and will also help you interact through Pinterest itself.

Once you have sent out your newsletter, you could pin them to a board specific for your newsletters.

Campaigns

Why not focus the content of an email campaign around Pinterest. You could promote a competition based around your Pinterest profile or introduce new products based on seasonal influences. Using big events, holidays and popular topics can be a great way to draw attention to products within an email whilst encouraging recipients to pin content in order to win something.

Those are just a few ideas on how you can use Pinterest alongside your email marketing. With Pinterest growing so rapidly it is a good idea to look into building a strategy for promoting your products. There are loads of stats out there on the global user profiles of Pinterest so before you decide to sign up, make sure you work out the main users on Pinterest and if they fit into what you are trying to sell.

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Rising Above Email Clutter


As I was getting ready to roll out the first Emarsys blog, one thought was sitting in my mind: challenge. Challenge to stand out from the clutter of messages and get through to the readers on the receiving end with stuff that will make them want to come back for more. 

The challenge is not unique, it is shared by various marketing disciplines and email marketing is not an exception. Having worked in the industry for several years means I know too well the rising pressure. When subscribers are getting an average of 35 emails daily, how do you ensure yours is the one that gets clicked on?

By staying relevant. Yes, this mantra has been repeated by email marketers for years, but today it is important as ever and cannot be ignored. If you want the recipients to open your emails and avail of the product offers in it, make sure the information you sent to your customers is tailored to their interests. Email marketing technology allows to track exactly the products and categories that are of most interest to your recipients by monitoring their clicking behaviour.

Say you are a travel retailer and you see a recipient clicking on the “family holidays” category. In your next email to them, why not make the category banner more prominent in your template? Or offer a special personalised discount on this specific type of holidays? Such targeting will help you engage with your customers on a higher level, as well as increase conversion.

Here’s another question to ask yourself: are you using email in conjunction with other media? The newly published ShareThis study revealed that Social Sharing now accounts for 10 percent of all Internet traffic and 38 of referral traffic – these figures vouch for the immense power of social media and they cannot be ignored. Back up your email message by cross-promoting it through social media. If you don’t yet have Social Sharing integrated in your emails, this is the time to talk about it with your Email Service Provider.

Finally, carefully select the frequency of your emails. One thing we often observe is companies starting to send more often in order to improve conversion results. Be smart about it. Segment your recipients by level of engagement with your product or service and plan the sending frequency accordingly. While more frequent communication can bear fruit with those customers who are already highly engaged with the brand, it can provoke the opposite results with the less engaged audience.