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TV & Twitter: How To Satisfy Consumer Needs

The recent outbreak of severe weather and tornadoes made me realize how much television has changed to keep pace with consumer needs.

It used to be that if you wanted the local or national weather forecast, you had to be in front of your TV set. During a storm, you were out of luck if your cable or satellite dish lost its signal or your home lost power.

While that is technically still true, social media and in particular, Twitter, has changed how we get instant updates such as severe weather alerts.

A few years ago, many local TV stations began offering weather alerts or advisories via text messages. Opting-in to these messages gave you instant access to important alerts. Now, many local and national meteorologists maintain a presence on Twitter, sometimes almost simultaneously with their appearances on TV. You can literally get minute-by-minute updates by following their tweets.

Twitter can be accessed on most smartphones, so you can follow the news and weather wherever you are. If you can get a signal on your smartphone — and if keep your cell phone charged — you can keep abreast of fast-changing weather events. You no longer have to be in front of the TV to get breaking news or weather updates.

So, what does this have to do with marketing?

If a traditional medium such as television can adapt to how consumers want to receive information, marketers must do the same. It means giving consumers a choice of how they want to communicate and interact with you as well as the content and even the frequency of the messages. It’s all about preferences and the ability to manage them.

My forecast? Opt-in and preference management is the way to go!

 
MyPreferences Preference Center




About the Author: 
Scott Frey is the CEO of PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Scott leads the strategic mission to maintain its leadership position in global direct marketing compliance by closely monitoring changes in consumer privacy legislation, industry trends, and delivering innovative products and services to meet client’s needs.
 Follow me on Twitter: @ScottFreyPN | Connect on LinkedIn: Scott Frey 

Why “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Doesn’t Work In Marketing

Do you want your customers to have trust in your company? Then “don’t ask, don’t tell” will never work in business.


That’s because in order to build the kind of trust and loyalty that you want in a business/customer relationship, you have to listen to what your customers want. Or, for that matter, what they don’t want.

Your prospects and customers DO want the option to control the messaging that they receive in terms of the communications channel, the content of the message, and even the frequency that they receive these communications.

But, you will never know unless you ask.

Most consumers and business people are eager to share their contact channel preferences or the products or services of interest. By capturing this information, you can better target your offers or services that will be of interest and you can do it via the desired communication channel. Even the frequency of communication might be an important preference to know.

There are plenty of ways to collect this information. It can be done online when placing an order, at checkout in a retail environment, or through agents who take inbound calls at a contact center.

Of course, you need a means to manage all this information so that you can properly honor these preferences. While a person may agree to opt-in to receiving emails from your company, a preference center would give them the ability to define the content that they wish to receive or the frequency that they will welcome your emails.

For instance, they may have opted-in to a special promotion, but now they are more interested in your new products. You can take a short term commitment (the willingness to receive your special offers) and turn it into a longer and more trusting relationship by providing a persistent preference center with the ability to select desired content, preferred communication channels, and frequency options.

With a preference center, you might be able turn “don’t ask, don’t tell,” into “the more you ask, the more you sell!”

Click to view a video about MyPreferences
  


About the Author: 
Scott Frey is the CEO of PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Scott leads the strategic mission to maintain its leadership position in global direct marketing compliance by closely monitoring changes in consumer privacy legislation, industry trends, and delivering innovative products and services to meet client’s needs.
 Follow me on Twitter: @ScottFreyPN | Connect on LinkedIn: Scott Frey 

Confessions Of A Preferences Fanatic

There are certain things in life that I am passionate about — golf is just one of them. But I am also a fanatic about marketing communications that come to me in the manner and frequency that I want. Companies who honor my preferences are more likely to get my business — and my continued loyalty.


Doesn’t sound complicated, does it?

Yet, I am constantly amazed at the number of marketers who just don’t get it. They invest big dollars and a lot of time and effort into campaigns that they think are relevant for their target audience. But too many times they don’t let the audience have a say in terms of the kind of content that they wish to receive, the desired media such as email, text message or direct mail, or the frequency of the communications.

I am a preferences fanatic. I like the ability to tell a company my preferred communication channel, my specific areas of interest and even how often I want to receive their messages. Companies who bombard me with messages that are not relevant to my interests or who insist on calling me when I prefer email will soon fall out of my favor.

Take my bank, for instance. I am a homeowner, so I might be interested to find out when interest rates drop or if there are new options for refinancing. But I am not interested in offers for new credit cards. And, I prefer email over phone calls or postcards. Considering the sheer volume of emails that I receive each day, about once or twice a month is all I that I would care to hear from my bank.

So, how can a company honor my preferences?

The simplest and most effective way is to offer an online preference center that makes it easy for me to express my detailed opt-in and opt-out preferences based on product or contact channel. The preference center provides the organization with a centralized, single view of my preferences.

My bank could remind me in my regular monthly statements to update my preferences in their online preference center. That way, when I do take advantage of a refinance offer, I could “opt-out” of that content and “opt-in” to hear about their other services that might be of interest. And if I change my mind and decide that I do want direct mail instead of email, I’d have that option, too.

Show me your preference center and you may win my business and loyalty!
MyPreferences Preference Center



About the Author: 
Scott Frey is the CEO of PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Scott leads the strategic mission to maintain its leadership position in global direct marketing compliance by closely monitoring changes in consumer privacy legislation, industry trends, and delivering innovative products and services to meet client’s needs.
 Follow me on Twitter: @ScottFreyPN | Connect on LinkedIn: Scott Frey 

A Critical Path For Marketing Relevance

A few months ago, my wife was shopping online for a gourmet food item as a housewarming gift. She entered her email address as part of the order process so that she would receive a confirmation that the gift had shipped.


The next week, my wife received an email from this store about their specialty cheeses. She was intrigued, but had no interest. The next week the store sent an email about cooking sauces. She continued to receive one or two emails a week from this shop even though she made no further purchases. After a couple of months, she tired of the constant barrage of these emails and clicked on the unsubscribe link and opted out.

Where did this store go wrong?

At no point did the store’s web site or email offer my wife any preferences. She really had no interest in the food items as we can purchase most of these locally, but the store’s specialty cookware was appealing. A continuous stream of emails that were not relevant to her interests showed lack of personalization.

But the fact that the unsubscribe mechanism in the email offered no other options meant that this store lost a potential customer who was interested in one of its product lines. The content in the emails was simply not relevant and resulted in an opt-out which is a channel closing act.

How could this situation been salvaged?

An online preference center could have made the marketing content more relevant to my wife’s interest (as well as their other customers). Instead of the universal, all-or-nothing opt-out, the preference center could have offered options for opting in to certain content, perhaps organized by product line. The preference center could have asked how frequently she wished to receive communication from the store. A persistent preference center would have allowed my wife to later change her choices and perhaps opt-in to other content.

Establishing a persistent online preference center is a critical path for any marketer — and for channels beyond email. By making the message relevant to the recipient, the store could have personalized its communications to the taste of the recipient, building loyalty and helping to extend the customer relationship.

Personalizing the message is a critical path element for marketing success.



Click to view a video about MyPreferences
  



About the Author: 
Scott Frey is the CEO of PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Scott leads the strategic mission to maintain its leadership position in global direct marketing compliance by closely monitoring changes in consumer privacy legislation, industry trends, and delivering innovative products and services to meet client’s needs.
 Follow me on Twitter: @ScottFreyPN | Connect on LinkedIn: Scott Frey 

How Opt-down Improves Your Marketing Relevancy


No, that’s not a typo. It does say “opt-down” which is quite different than “opt-out.”

Let me explain.

We all know that opt-out is a critical element and a requirement to be compliant with the CAN-SPAM laws. Marketers who send commercial emails must provide a one click mechanism that allows the recipient to unsubscribe from your messages. Failure to comply can get you in trouble and damage your company’s reputation.

The concept of “opt-down” came about after research showed that most people unsubscribe because the email message is not relevant or because they are receiving too many emails.

“Opt-down” is not a way to circumvent the law. As the CEO of a company that provides Do Not Contact compliance solutions, I would never suggest that. What I am saying is that instead of a universal, all-or-nothing opt-out, you can provide a means for opting in to more relevant content.

Here’s how it works.

When the recipient clicks on the Unsubscribe link in your email, it takes them to an online Preference Center. Here they can continue the opt-out process and unsubscribe from your emails, if they wish, or they can choose to “opt-down” by selecting other communication options.

For instance, if you sell children’s items, you may be sending emails about clothing, furniture, educational toys, electronic games, and more. This hodge-podge of information may not be relevant to the readers’ interest. Your preference center can let the recipient opt-down to just receiving your emails about educational toys. Clothing could be further divided by age range or the sex of the child. By giving the consumer a choice of what they want to receive, you personalize your email communications with the recipient and also keep your emails relevant to their current interests.

Without the opt-down approach, every opt-out becomes a channel closing situation and blocks any further communication with that customer using that marketing channel.

Of course, your emails (or other marketing channels) should regularly encourage your readers to visit your online preference center to update their preferences.

If you are not using a Preference Center with an opt-down approach, I encourage you to consider the benefits that it can bring to your marketing program.


MyPreferences Preference Center




About the Author: 
Scott Frey is the CEO of PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Scott leads the strategic mission to maintain its leadership position in global direct marketing compliance by closely monitoring changes in consumer privacy legislation, industry trends, and delivering innovative products and services to meet client’s needs.
 Follow me on Twitter: @ScottFreyPN | Connect on LinkedIn: Scott Frey 

The Game Changer That Every Marketer Needs


Ask a marketer about the strategies for success and you are likely to get as many different answers as there are marketers. You’ll hear about the importance of identifying your target market or why A/B tests can make a difference in direct mail.

But how often do you hear about preference management as a game changer?

The truth is that you can have the most awesome creative for your catalog or the best subject line for your email, but if the message or communication channel is not relevant to the recipient, it’s just time and dollars wasted.

So, how do you find out a consumer’s preferences for desired communication channels or message content?

You just ask!

Now, I’m not saying to individually contact every prospect and customer (although you are welcome to do so if you have an incredible amount of time on your hands.) The idea is to provide a persistent preference center where prospects and customers can opt-in to what they wish to receive. You also need to think about the various collection points where preference data can be captured. But, the key is a centralized preference center to manage and maintain that data.

How can you organize your preference center?

Let’s say that your company sells sporting goods. You can set up preferences by sport — softball, soccer, golf, tennis, and so on. Then you can set up preferences by the communication channels that you offer — phone, email, catalog, text message. You can let consumers select whether they want to hear about new products, special promotions, in store events — or all of the above. Finally, for communication channels such as email and text messages, you can let the consumer choose the frequency in which they wish to receive messages from your company.

Without a preference center, you run the risk of an ever- shrinking marketing universe when someone opts out from a communication channel such as email and no other options are provided to opt-in to other communication methods or content choices..

With a preference center, your customers can decide to change the frequency of communication or perhaps opt-in to a different marketing channel such as direct mail. You avoid losing contact with a prospect or customer by giving them the choice to receive your messages in the manner and frequency that they desire.

With a preference center, the game is on!




About the Author: 
Scott Frey is the CEO of PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Scott leads the strategic mission to maintain its leadership position in global direct marketing compliance by closely monitoring changes in consumer privacy legislation, industry trends, and delivering innovative products and services to meet client’s needs.
 Follow me on Twitter: @ScottFreyPN | Connect on LinkedIn: Scott Frey 

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