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Thursday, 20 December 2007

Email creativity


What's the most important element in a successful email marketing campaign?

This was a question recently posed to me and I found myself going backwards through a list in my mind similar to the following - relevant content, personalisation, design, tailored subject line, maximising deliverability, permission and data quality. In the end the reason why email marketing is so difficult to do well is that every single one of the above can make or break your activity.

If your permissions are poor people will not respond, if your email is not technically correct it will not make it into inboxes and if your content is poor your response rates will suffer. Email marketing is so much more than tactical emails sent off as and when you have something to say.

This may be the last post of the year and so we wish you all a Happy Christmas and a great New Year.


Friday, 14 December 2007

The price of celebrity


It would appear that the use of a famous face in your advertising is not the solution to a good creative idea that some would have us think.

Campaign magazine has drawn up a list of the top ten worst advertisements relying on the power of celebrity and, hurrah, the world of financial services has two mentions:

3rd worst - NS&I for the use of a wooden Alan Sugar
7th worst - Abbey for their ad featuring Lewis Hamilton

Lucky for us the ad voted the worst was for Giovanni Rana Pasta featuring Ann Widdecombe - you've got to wonder what audience they felt Ann was going to appeal to.......

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Advisers and the electronic age


The story in IFAonline that advisers demand an end to paper commission statements is no great surprise.

The research, carried out by Standard Life, indicates that 64% of advisers surveyed would welcome an end to paper based communications. I think the surprise, if there is one here, is that the figure is not higher.

Given the multiple benefits that online processing can offer - reduced admin time and resource, faster payments and of course the environmental pluses it seems a no brainer. I'm confident the remaining 36% will wake up soon.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Click thanks


Here is a thought - click throughs are not the only measure of success of an online campaign.

That is all.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Jet options


So not only are us humble members of the public feeling the credit squeeze it also seems that the super rich are aware of the pinch.

According to the Observer's Media & Business section investors the exec jet market has become the latest victim.

Up to 10% of the exec jet sales are made to investors who buy an option on a new jet (delivery times are up to 4 years) and then sell on this option, previously making somewhere in the region of $10m. However now investors are concerned about their positions and are selling on options as quickly as they can with their returns dropping closer to $2m.

So if you are struggling to find that ideal gift for your loved one perhaps now is the time to get him/her that private jet they have always wanted.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Shared ownership does not seem to appeal


We've recently created an online campaign for Scottish Widows Bank focusing on their keyworkers mortgage product and so I've been more than a little aware of other offers in this market.

The governments scheme of Open Market HomeBuy was launched just over 12 months ago with the government offering a 12.5 per cent interest free loan with one of four other lenders matching this and then the borrower agreeing a mortgage for the remaining 75%.

Now the test of the appeal of this offer is in the take up and a recent Observer article flags up than only 2,000 mortgages have been completed with a target of 20,000 in the first 5 years. The problem seems to be that the mortgages that go with the scheme are expensive.

This lack of take up seems to have encouraged the government to offer more incentives and they have increased the initial interest free loan to 17.5% enabling the buyer to go to the open market for the rest of the loan.

It will be interesting to see if the increased loan % will help people get over the concern they have on shared ownership.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

How to be unsubscribed on your first email


I spend a lot of time talking about data (dull but very worthy) especially when it relates to email marketing and the ability to personalise your email communications. Each level of personalisation helps improve response rates which, on its own, is a mighty fine reason to personalise.

However no amount of personalisation will help the following from Mortgage Adviser. They've emailed me to thank me for visiting their stand at the Mortgage Business Expo - the thing is I wasn't there - I was on holiday that day.

So the first email communication I have ever had from them is complete pants. Want to lay a bet on how long it took for me to click the unsubscribe button? It's activity like this that helps get brands blacklisted as spam. Users don't have much recourse against large brands but quite often they will report irrelevant email as spam even if you think it is relevant to them - they do it as an act of revenge. So not only are your unsubscribe statistics a good indicator for how well you are targeting your email comm's but so is any spam reports.

So personalisation for email marketing is key but it's not a replacement for paying attention.

Monday, 3 December 2007

The Financial Festivity


We’ve all heard the bells before. Come mid-October the supermarkets are rolling out their seemingly endless supply of Christmas stock and the accompanying advertising campaign.

We all groan and complain how every year they are earlier and earlier. Of course if that was actually true, by now we would be watching Santa running around ASDA in ad breaks during Wimbledon.

In financial services however, there is not the same glut of Christmas executions. But why not? There is a tremendous opportunity to further brand affiliation. Not in a commercially abusive way of course. Not in the “Sleigh and sell” strategy where you wish them a happy festive season and try and make up some lost revenue at the same time.

What I mean is “Sleigh them in the aisles”. Make them laugh and let them see that although you’re a financial services company, at the festive season, you too can be festive and be personable.

This is the time of year when normally guarded walls are a bit lower and people tend to throw their scepticism of sentimental executions to the wind. So maybe it’s time the industry that has traditionally not always been seen in the best light, comes out and makes everyone’s Christmas, just that much lighter.