Where to Listen
The year 2020 has changed the email marketing landscape for brands around the world. And for brands that have never tried email marketing before, it has become a novel platform to direct their marketing efforts this year.
In this podcast, we bring in Karen Talavera, who’s the President and Founder of Synchronicity Marketing, to talk about data-driven marketing and its effects on the success of marketing campaigns.
Dennis and Karen discuss the email success metrics that matter and what data should brands track. We also discuss how the alignment of sales, business development, and marketing teams can help brands reach their revenue goals faster and more efficiently.
- What are the KPIs that email marketers should look at?
- What are the email success metrics
- What is a data-driven marketing
- How to align the marketing team with the business and sales units to work together instead of creating a siloed company?
- Why buyer journeys and personas are important to dissect
- Some shifts in email marketing since the COVID and lockdown
- One final advice to a budding email marketer
Dennis Dayman: Well, hello and welcome to another brand new episode of ForTheLoveOfEmails, podcast by Netcore solutions. I’m Dennis Dayman, your host for these podcasts and again, the Netcore team has been hard at work, to bring some great stories and advice from different experts within the world. And this week is no different this week.
[00:00:19] We bring you a very well noted email marketing expert and thought leader, Karen Talavera. And she’s a really good friend of mine who I’ve known for a very, very long time. And she’s going to come in here and talk. To us a little bit about sort of email metrics and why they matter and sort of what you need to use to determine the impact of your email programs.
[00:00:38] She’s the president of Synchronicity Marketing and she has been an email marketing strategist for several years. She has embodied the passion for solving these problems and I’ve seen her work over the years where she has shown tremendous skyrocketing results from our client’s marketing programs.
[00:00:55] in addition to her experience as a well-known speaker and strategist and consultant, she’s been in this industry just about as long as I have, but she’s been here about 20 years as a professional educator in email marketing. I have loved to have her be a part of a lot of our programs, from some of the email coalitions that are out there because she does put a lot of time and effort into doing these, pre conferencing education programs for some of the other guests that we’ve had on here as well.
[00:01:21] And she has taught a lot of these certification programs to thousands of people through those programs, like the direct marketing association, which has most of, no became a data marketing association.
[00:01:34] And then as now the association of national advertisers, she’s also worked with us for quite a several years on the MAC or the Member Advisory Council for the Email Experience Council. She’s also done some work with Marketingprofs and other private engagements as well. So I know that was a lot carried, but welcome to the podcast.
[00:01:52] And, how’s the West now treating you because you’ve been out in the West now for the summer vacation for a little bit?
[00:01:59] Karen Talavera: Well, thank you for that amazing intro, Dennis. And yes we’re an email family. How is the West treating me? I, yeah, I’m not vacationing, I’m seasonally living out here, but I guess every weekend is like a vacation.
[00:02:12] So I would say it’s treating me exceptionally well. And for those interested in, and that know Colorado I’m in Breckenridge, Colorado, which is pretty high up in the mountains. It’s a mountain town. It’s beautiful. And it is not hot and humid like Florida, which is where I usually am.
[00:02:29] Dennis Dayman: So you have kind of trade in the bathing suit for like maybe a little bit warmer clothing depending on the day out there but I got to tell you your pictures lately on Facebook have been fantastic.
[00:02:40]Karen Talavera: it’s just a joy to share them. Yes. The bathing suit has been traded in the flip flops and has been traded for hiking boots. No question about it. Yeah, hopefully, I will see, who knows, but Synchronicity Marketing has been around for 15 years and we are a virtual company.
[00:03:01] So I can be location independent, which is a joy. And you and I both have been around the conference circuit a lot. We’ve been around the country it’s different times, but we’re still, excuse me, still able to do what we’re doing. yeah which I’m so grateful for and
[00:03:19] Dennis Dayman: No, that’s exactly right.
[00:03:20] we’ve been learning throughout this Netcore podcast series since March, just how important the digital realm, especially email marketing has become to not only brands, but also the consumers like you and I, who are stuck at home and have to get our information and our, and our buys and everything online these days.
[00:03:38]But it’s interesting that you say, just about all the time that we spent and how many years we’ve been doing this, because yeah we’ve observed often from our experiences in this industry, that brand marketers are always obsessed about the basic metrics that they have to monitor, like the opens or the number of clicks or how many leads are coming in, coming in.
[00:03:58] And, it seems to be that a lot of marketers are getting distracted from the bigger picture of their email programs. I mean, I think that tracking, the basic metrics is an important one, but, are these the only ones to consider or are there other things that we need to be looking at from a deeper perspective, to determine those impacts, that as a marketer, that those decisions and changes and things that you’re making your email program.
[00:04:24] And so, what we’re hoping today for the listeners is that you’re going to learn quite a bit from Karen about sort of her experiences. And so let’s kind of jump into this here and sort of find out what, email metrics matter and which ones we need to measure to stay on the right path to success.
[00:04:39] So Karen, so like one of the first easiest questions that I think that the team, your Netcore could come up with was, again, for years, we’ve all debated what metrics are important. And I laugh a little bit because I always think about the debates we’ve even debated on how to define these things’ metrics at points and then redefine them.
[00:04:55] And either they go somewhere or most of the time, they don’t because we can never agree on that. But, do you think that some overrated metrics are being used that are distracting brand marketers from measuring the success of those email programs? And if so, what are those distracting metrics that they kind of need to put aside for now?
[00:05:13] Karen Talavera: I’m so glad we’re just getting this on the table right off the bat. Because this is the crux. Between you and me we don’t even need to ask that question because I know the answer, but we’re here to just share with those who are coming up in and getting more into email. There are overrated metrics.
[00:05:31] And so again, just like cards on the table, let’s talk about open rate and measuring opens. Because of course, it’s a super important diagnostic, I love and I’m going to credit this to one of our colleagues, Lauren McDonald, who, those in the industry probably know well as another thought leader.
[00:05:50] I love that years ago, I heard him describe some of the basic KPIs of email as process metrics or diagnostic metrics and that name, that label stuck with me for a long time. Because of course, we’re going to measure whether email made it to the inbox, deliverability and placement and open and click and unsubscribes.
[00:06:13] But for some reason out of all of those, open seems to get way too much credit as this like life and die measurement of whether or not an email is working. And while it’s important and we need to look at it, it’s that is not what open is an indicator of. It’s a great indicator of brand recognition.
[00:06:34] It’s a great indicator of how the subject line is working. it might even be an indicator of frequency, loyalty, but we’ve got to go deeper. We have to go deeper.
[00:06:47] Dennis Dayman: No, that’s good because yeah. for years, especially for my side of the house, if you will, when I spent so many years on the anti-spam side, right.
[00:06:55] we always also talk about how the opens at one point had been changed because yeah. The email providers that were out there, the Googles or the Gmails of the world and whatnot, basically in the startup to protect if you will, those opens. And we still see that in a lot of the email programs and images being turned off which will block that one by one pixel.
[00:07:17] And so that, that, that changed a lot of things for us. And I remember us debating whether or not, that we should even look at that metric anymore and what it was about that click or even that conversion, from the email to the website was sort of one of the more important metrics, right.
[00:07:31] Karen Talavera: Absolutely. and, and talking about email KPIs, we need to be talking to them about what indicates what. or opens an indicator of, what is a click an indicator of what is a conversion an indicator of? Each of these is an indicator of many different components that I think kind of gets us lumped in together into assumptions.
[00:07:53] And yeah, I come from a classic direct response marketing background, started my career in data-driven marketing right at the beginning of the age of the internet and email and, the very tip of the iceberg of all the digital channels we have now. But the basics of fundamentals didn’t change, which are ultimately your marketing is working if someone completes your call to action. If they act on the offer, they act on the request, if they act on the information, you’re giving them, then you’re going somewhere. And an open is just kind of, it’s an initial action. it’s, it’s a little touch, it’s an indicator of interest.
[00:08:31] And like I said, maybe how the subject line is working, but we absolutely need to be looking at clicks and where people are clicking and how often, and, if you’ve got multiple clicks in a message, but then, and conversion is where the rubber meets the road. And that’s where I think it gets tough for email marketers who aren’t e-commerce centric businesses wouldn’t you agree.
[00:08:54] Dennis Dayman: Yeah. I would agree with that one because yeah it’s like, you know if you’re just getting them to convert to a newsletter that’s an easier thing for a lot of marketers these days. But like you just said it, they’re not selling stuff. I think a TV or I don’t know, even in the B2B world.
[00:09:06] Right. So like a platform, right. It’s, it’s much harder for them to think, pass those, those sorts of goals these days. Right. But it sounds like that’s probably been one of the most important human metrics that are out there then.
[00:09:17] Karen Talavera: Right. And then defining conversion. So, if we veer away from some of them, the traditional business models that work so well online, that are e-commerce centric or maybe, super short sales funnel from lead to even in B2B free trial or software adoption, or, or freemium.
[00:09:36] If we go to things that have longer, funnels, longer sales cycles, where prospects or audiences need to be nurtured and familiarized with the brand over a longer period then we’re getting into content marketing. And then to bring this full circle back to open then yes. understanding if people are opening and consuming, some of that content is important, but you don’t even know if they’re consuming it if they’re just opening. You ideally are structuring things so that they’re forced to click. They’re forced to take any action to get to the content on a website, usually on a podcast, on a webinar or whatever, and then you can measure time on site and so forth. So a lot of the email metrics that tell a story, aren’t just those process metrics that we can look at in our marketing automation or ESP platform, our sending platform. We have to have Google Analytics set up.
[00:10:30] We have to look at what’s going on at our destination. In our destination, places on websites, on other platforms, and track it back to the source.
[00:10:40] Dennis Dayman: So that’s kind of interesting you were talking about that because the way that we at least I see some of the brands, no matter what, what you’re doing in a company is not always talking about these KPIs.
[00:10:51] Right. and, and for those that don’t know what a KPI is, that’s a key performance indicator, right? And are those the KPIs that they should be looking at, or is there a different set of clear KPIs from an email marketing program that our listeners should be then saying, am I measuring that?
[00:11:08] And am I doing it week to week, month to month, quarter over quarter, obviously to see the negative, positive change, the same way that we would do when we would always say, “Hey, did you unsubscribe rate go up all of a sudden”? If it did, why don’t you go back to when you sent that campaign and find out what you did that made the unsubscribe rate changing the message, or did you do something stupid? And by that 1995 CD off of the internet. But, are there certain clear KPIs that they should be looking at right now?
[00:11:35] Karen Talavera: There are. And so there are those channel-specific diagnostics, like I mentioned before, the process metrics specific to email that should always be looked at. That’s, that’s a basic assumption I’m making, you know that hopefully those are being tracked. Now, beyond that, then there are engagement metrics. How are people engaging through whatever the sales or, the conversion process is? Are they engaging with content? Are they engaging with it in the email message? Are they engaging with it on, are they, are they cross, traveling over to social media?
[00:12:08] Are they on the website? Are they whatever, going over to a podcast or a webinar. But, well, we need to look at diagnostic measures for every channel that’s driving traffic. We can’t just look at them, what we have to go deeper and look at the why. So a lot of times KPIs I think are, are relegated to just these raw measurements, these, these percentages, or these, number of actions that are taken, whether it’s an open, a click or a purchase when they need to be we need to do some extrapolation from that and develop trend lines and benchmarks for how things are performing. And then someone needs to be taking a human eye toward that and saying, Hey, the trend line is going up or it’s taking a dive and why. Why is that happening? Well, how do you get to the, why you look at what changed?
[00:13:04] What did you do differently, or hopefully you’re experimenting and testing. And then, you’re coming at this intentionally at that point where you’re trying to move the benchmark. Right. You’re trying to move the metric if you’re testing. But a lot of times, people aren’t coming into measurement metrics with an eye, or they’re not coming at it from this intentional point of we’re going to experiment, we’re going to test and we know what we’re going to be looking for. They’re just told to look at it and then they have to do the diagnosis and the deciphering after the fact.
[00:13:42] And they’re not sure how to do that. That’s where I think it gets tricky.
[00:13:47] Dennis Dayman: Right. Yeah, because, as I’m sort of thinking as well, there’s not an end all be all set of KPIs or, or standards that everyone has to go by. Right. I know that at some point right now, somebody listening to this is saying, well, Right.
[00:14:03] I’m looking at my KPI’s like this. Right. But I would assume that the difference between KPIs can be different between the different programs or even the products that you’re selling. And that you are self-defining those, but you just can’t go to your CFO, if you will and say, Hey, what do you want the KPIs to be?
[00:14:21] Because all they’re going to tell you is we want him to be, as top conscious as possible. But really for them to sort of spend some scientific time if you will, I always tell people that marketing is not easy because if it was, we’d all be living on some islands somewhere. But it takes a little bit of time to be scientific about it, to understand, what’s important to your company, right.
[00:14:41] And, what’s, what’s showing you your measurements. But I think you would agree with something like that, right?
[00:14:47]Karen Talavera: I would agree. And so some of those conversion and engagement KPIs, that’s where it differs based on a different type of company, a different type of business model, B2B versus B2C versus maybe institutional, publishing all have different business models.
[00:15:03] Even though every single one of those can look at those diagnostic measures for how things are working in the email channel, are the emails getting, they’re getting opened, getting clicked on. When it comes to engagement and conversion, a conversion point for one business might be “They downloaded a white paper”. That’s a win.
[00:15:23] for a completely different business model is they renewed their app subscription, or they bought a shirt on Amazon or, whatever it’s going to be. So you’ve got to understand what a conversion is your world, what brings money into the company, or what brings a prospect further down the sales funnel to the point where they are going to be a customer and money’s going to come into the company.
[00:15:48] And then beyond that, what keeps people loyal? and coming back. So anything that’s growing the business and keeping the business afloat ultimately, a conversion metric that needs to be defined and looked at. And then we can, I don’t know if we want to go here we can get into, the whole sticky ball of wax of attribution.
[00:16:10] Which is how, how much weight is or value is email contributing toward all of those conversion KPIs. How much is email bringing to the cash register at the end of the day? Now, if you’re a B2C e-commerce marketer selling cosmetics or apparel, it’s a pretty straight line.
[00:16:33] You send an email out, you could do all sorts of conversion tracking and, and things, you know exactly how many sales came from an email. So, for those wondering about what are some of these KPIs that might fall into the conversion and engagement category? You would have average order value, you would have RFM metrics for each customer, how recently did they buy, how frequently do they buy? How much do they spend typically? You might have, we just have this many sales for the month. you can have all these sorts of sort of sales and financial KPIs. But if you’re not in that model, then it’s things like time on site, how much content is consumed? Did somebody go to the next level in the sales process? Did they, for example, request to have a conversation with an account executive? Did they schedule a demo? So it’s different all over the board. But I think harder for those companies that cannot draw a straight line between sending email out and bringing sales in.
[00:17:37] For those companies, it’s an Omnichannel process. It’s a longer sales funnel. There’s human intervention and email is an influencing rather than directly contributing tool in the toolbox.
[00:17:51] Dennis Dayman: So, that actually, it’s interesting that you’re saying that because at one point or another, in some interview that you had done, you had said that the best way for marketer just to have a data-driven strategy. What do you mean by that?
[00:18:06] Karen Talavera: Well, data-driven strategy means data is central to defining what they do in marketing. Yeah. Everything from what gets done to support and purport and grow awareness of the brand, to what messages are sent to the different audience members out there. They’re both prospects and customers and through what channels. Because not all, we’ve been saying it 10 different ways, but not all businesses and business models are the same. Even if we just looked at, say B2C e-commerce, some brands skew younger, more Gen Z millennials, where a lot of interactions are happening on Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, even social media, possibly even purchases, more than email. Other brands yeah where they’re still sending catalogs.
[00:18:57] And supplementing that with email. so if you don’t have the data, that’s telling you, you, how your audience is finding out about you, engaging with you in the first place, meaning signing up for email, following on social, giving you their contact information so you can have a dialogue and then how they’re purchasing, how are you going to know where you should go fishing?
[00:19:19] Right. Where are you going to know what pond to fish in? And then once the right pond or ponds, or we stay with that analogy, then what’s the right bait, are you trying to fly fish and in the middle of the ocean.
[00:19:37] Yeah, no, it’s, you’re going to get swamped by a tsunami.
[00:19:43]So yeah, they’re that, those are, that’s kinda the fundamental mindset behind data-driven marketing strategy. But it’s also then, there, there is direct response marketing and a lot of digital is leaning that way. Really operate off of getting enough individual-level indicators and actual measures of behavior to make accurate predictions of what a person or a segment of people will want in the next. And when we’re running just mass market, TV ads, or radio, or all, all the traditional mass advertising channels. We’re not going to get that. We’re going to get general kind of market sentiment and consumer sentiment by, Hey, how many people came into Walmart this weekend or whatever, because we ran an ad in that market.
[00:20:35] But when we’re talking about data-driven marketing, we are talking about one-to-one communication. That gives us personal indicators that we can then respond to in a one to one way to have true conversations with people and create journeys that take them where they want to go. Certainly where we want them to go, but hopefully where they want to go and help them get there.
[00:20:57] Dennis Dayman: So, I remember even like a return path and other, other companies that I’ve been a part of. Right. They always had some sort of data scientist officer and whatnot, but it doesn’t sound like you have to be somebody like that, right to understand the sort of data-driven strategy. Right? I mean, this is something that any marketer putting their time and effort into it can do themselves. And, obviously with a little bit of platform help potential, but that’ll have to be again, sort of like a scientist person to do any of that stuff. Right.
[00:21:26] Karen Talavera: Today you don’t. Yeah, that’s good news. I remember early in my career where you had people coming out of school with advanced degrees in stats and modeling data modeling, and they needed that skill set to be able to create predictive algorithms or whatever.
[00:21:42] The beauty of today’s world is that a lot of the platforms have that kind of, wherewithal baked into them. So. Well, it helps too to have the right mindset and kind of know what data elements do I need to have available to me in a software platform let’s say to crank out some of the great recommendations or segmentation schemes, or whatever that are going to make me a smarter marketer.
[00:22:06] You don’t need to know the math and science, to do that yourself. Which is great, but it kind of also depends on how much data is there. Because there can be overwhelming amounts of data, and again, I think how much they like travel and tourism, hospitality, sectors, retail e-tail they just have huge amounts of transactional data.
[00:22:29] Right. So there’s a lot to crunch through and a lot of those brands will have data scientists, but I’m just so thrilled to see the platforms evolve to where it’s, it’s more of a done for you solution. Yeah. And maybe we need to be educating marketing professionals on how to think about the data rather than how to manipulate the data.
[00:22:52] Dennis Dayman: Manipulate the data. Right. Well, that’s actually a really good point actually, cause I, yeah, I find that especially depending on the time of a year and how many people are leaving the industry just because they’re either retiring. But also the number of new kids, if you will, that are now coming into this industry that’s it’s a weird time sometimes cause we have to sit there and re-explain to them re explain to everybody in the sense how you need to be doing some of this stuff and, and what it means to be doing this extra work you know when you’re looking at that strategy. But when you’re doing that data-driven strategy as well, this isn’t just about the marketing department, but other folks are usually involved in this, right.
[00:23:30] that marketing and the business teams and the sales teams and other folks, I would assume, should be in alignment with, then deciding what that strategy is and what the revenue goals are. Because like I remember in 2008, like when we had the market correction, when I was at Eloqua, right.
[00:23:46] we had heard from a lot of brands and a lot of marketers saying, Oh my gosh, all of a sudden my CFO has just said, Hey, I’m cutting the budget, but I need you to go do a whole lot more with a lot less money and whatnot. And it was just kind of, or marketing to do that without necessarily doing some sort of team effort, to say Hey, sales and business strategy, and everybody else involved in this, what are the revenue goals and how can we work together instead of being a siloed effect, right.
[00:24:12] Karen Talavera: Absolutely. Yeah, I think tighter alignment, well, I think we’re seeing it, but I think it’s still needed between sales and marketing. And they’ve always worked for hand in hand to a degree where we used to have the bigger disconnect between marketing and IT, which is now that that gap is being bridged by more, I guess we would say agile user-friendly platforms for marketers to use, so they don’t have to rely on IT to do data manipulation or what have you. We can’t forget that we still need to be in close contact and conversation with our brothers and sisters over in sales. And if there isn’t that alignment of, what are the objectives for the company and everyone’s on the same page about that.
[00:24:55] And then what, what is the typical process sometimes marketing doesn’t I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had where marketing has no idea what the sales team is going through to close deals or to make sales. Like they really don’t know what the journey looks like or what the funnel looks like.
[00:25:11] And they’re not talking to the people on the front lines about yeah, the conversations they’re having or the objections and barriers to the sale that need to be overcome, but which marketing could do a lot to grease those skids, right? Marketing can do so much to sales enablement. And you hear that term more and more.
[00:25:32] So you’re right. There’s gotta be that alignment at the top. And then we can get into, if we wanted to talk about systems now, we’re kind of seeing more systems and, with the marketing clouds or the sales and marketing clouds, bringing sales tools together with marketing tools under one hood.
[00:25:50] So we can look at all the data. The salespeople are generating, or the sales teams are generating, or the website is generating and we can take it into marketing platforms, make decisions on and make predictions off of it, and so forth. So sometimes we have that silo, from a, I guess, a platform and a systems perspective.
[00:26:11] And sometimes we have it on the level of human interaction or both.
[00:26:16] Dennis Dayman: Both, right. Yeah. it’s funny that you’re talking about sort of the sales or the marketing understanding what sales is needing. Cause I remember just even gosh, on the last, two or three companies, it was interesting to see over the years, when the sales kickoff meeting would happen and it used to be just the sales team meeting and they would do things for about a day or two, but then they sort of inviting marketers and then they started inviting, the, the, the biz dev folks into these, meetings are.
[00:26:41] The sales kickoff meetings went from one to two days to a full week of everyone getting together and sort of understanding from the top-down, what everyone’s job was to meet those, those goals of revenue goals for the company. And in reality, I think there’s another reason why, when marketing automation became so popular, and, 2009, 2010 timeframes.
[00:27:02] It really was again, sort of, getting that information back from the sales team to understand what they’re hearing objection wise, what they’re hearing about, what the brands and companies are needing for the product marketing people then to go off and to create whatever it was that they needed to create to then give back to sales.
[00:27:18] And then as you said earlier, to then help with that sales funnel, the marketing qualified leads, the sales qualified leads and, and, marketing doing their job, which was what a market, where to educate, or then also to then give the tools. And there’s now, widely educated person that’s ready to buy over to sales and make sales job a lot easier.
[00:27:40] Karen Talavera: Agreed. And I mean, there’s nothing more beautiful to me than a fully integrated sales and marketing automation system where any number of the constituents involved in the sales marketing process could go in. And say, wow, I can see, that this prospect just had an email exchange with the salesperson and this subject came up and wow.
[00:28:03] either the salesperson or the system itself has set up to have the authority to then automate a message that directly addresses that need. Perhaps linking to useful content, perhaps making a recommendation, perhaps it’s an upsell, it’s a down-sell, but when that’s that whole journey process is picked apart down to its, tiniest, steps and inflection points, and then you layer automation on top of that, it’s almost like, Sales get done themselves at some point.
[00:28:37] Yes. There’s going to have to be human interaction to get into if there’s contracts involved or agreements or whatnot, but so much of the legwork, so much of the front end can be automated, but what it takes, it sounds so great in theory, and it can be put into practice. What it takes is someone having to strategically think through all of that, understand that, dissect the journeys, be on the front lines and get those conversations going between sales and marketing. So that there’s a journey, there’s going to be multiple journeys, right. Within a typical sales process. So somebody under yeah. And then personas different kinds of buyers, different kinds of journeys.
[00:29:20] Some journeys are short, some are long, who’s going to holistically take a look at all of that and really sort of map it out. Somebody has to, and when they do, and it’s a complete map, it’s incredibly, incredibly powerful, but then of course you have a lot more to measure. So now you have more data becomes a circular, circular process and challenge, but that’s why I’ll just come back to, I think it’s more important to know how to think, how to think strategically, what’s important, what isn’t important and what the big picture is than it is to know how to just do a tactical component part, like download an email campaign reports.
[00:30:08] Dennis Dayman: So, you had just mentioned sort of the journey and in this, and interestingly enough, as, as the Netcore team, and I’ve been working on this podcast in the very beginning of this, we were really focused, pretty heavily on, on 2020 being the year that it is right now.
[00:30:22]it’s been a very weird one overall. And I think even though we’re in not even through August, it’s still being weird. But, with you now working as a, or having a specialty, if you will, of working with eCommerce brands and optimizing the results, how were you and these brands working to shift, focus and adopt a new strategy due to COVID and sort of the lockdown situation.
[00:30:44] Is there anything, that that was of interest that you guys, all of a sudden had to do, because, we had talked about quite a bit about how some brands were just overusing email, all of a sudden to send email just for the sake of sending email and other brands are using it in a more perfect situation, to remind us about, changing business hours or, how some stores that opened earlier, right.
[00:31:04] For the, for the elderly. So they can shop in a more protected environment, but in working with those eCommerce brands and stuff and, and, and those results, did you have to make any shifts or did you see any shifts that, that, that, came from. Just from all of this. And, and, and if so, like what’s an example of those.
[00:31:23] Karen Talavera: Yeah. That’s a great question. I saw a couple of distinct shifts. The first was of course, Hey, we’re going to use, we’re going to remember that we’re using email too. We’re already flooding you with offers and promotions. That means we can talk to you. So yes, we’re going to do announcements. We’re going to communicate and convey practical information related to the situation of either our stores or hotel or, place a business, or what have you.
[00:31:48] And I didn’t see too much what I would call COVID washing, but there was an initial flurry of everybody feeling every single company out there, whether it was relevant or not feeling like they had to at least acknowledge and address the situation and that those that didn’t have any measurable change in how people could engage into business with them backed off of that, which was the right way to go.
[00:32:13] Then another shift was, so many brands that had been heavily using email as selling and I guess a sales-oriented promotion medium, and I’ve been kind of negligent on content as a way to keep people engaged in between purchases finally started to see the value of that. And they started to beef up their content marketing programs and, and this was probably most notable in travel.
[00:32:41] Because let’s face it, it, it kind of largely shut down. There’s a massive, diminished, amount of business happening in travel and hospitality. So a lot of those companies, whether it was, like tour companies or even hotels they’re starting to do, I just saw a great one, I think from Marriott.
[00:33:02]They’re starting to do actual series. Say that, that are whetting people’s appetite for the time when they can travel and vacation again, when you see messages along the lines of, it’s not, it’s not too early to start dreaming about your next destination or when the time comes, here’s our recommendation. And the plan, plan.
[00:33:23] One of the messages, but that content marketing, that kind of aspirational, emotional, engaging, dreamy, let us help let us paint the picture for you of how great your home could look or how great your next vacation could be, should probably have been happening all along to engage the customers and the subscribers that weren’t the most loyal, that needed a little bit of a nudge and a push.
[00:33:49] So I’m really happy to see that happening. Well,
[00:33:52] Dennis Dayman: it’s funny, you’re saying it. Cause as, as we’re sitting here doing this, this podcast here, I’ve my inbox I have gotten the typical airline email, saying, Hey, you’re usually at a beach at this time of the year, by what we’re having a lot of, fair sales right now.
[00:34:08]you could probably squeeze one in because the summer isn’t over. That was the one I just got. And it’s like, yeah, you guys know us pretty well, but usually around the August timeframe, we would usually be sitting on a beach. prior to the twins returning to school or, me, me returning to work at some point.
[00:34:23] Yeah. And how the timing is working out, working out on that.
[00:34:28] Karen Talavera: It is. And I’m gonna, I mean, I’m sitting right here in the middle of like one of the hugest Vail resorts, ski resorts, you know? Right. And Vail resorts is now just massive global company that keeps buying up more and more ski destinations. I have to call them out for doing some really smart things with email.
[00:34:47] Now they were a little, I’m calling them out in a good way. They were a little. Late to the party initially, because when things started shutting down when COVID hit the US, it was kind of like prime ski season, mid-March, early to mid-March, and they had to make the call, are we going to shut down resorts?
[00:35:06] We’re going to keep things open? skiing is not a highly contagious activity anyway. Yeah, thank God. they, so they made the call, it was around mid-March and they started shutting everything down. People like me who had a season pass were kind of wondering, well, wait a minute, am I gonna get a refund?
[00:35:28] And like, what, what if I, what if I meant to do a ski trip this year? I didn’t get around to it because things started shutting down in March. So there was this kind of quiet period where I know that they were trying to figure out what to do. They eventually decided for their season pass holders, they would do a partial credit, which was great.
[00:35:46] Then they started promoting, season passes from the, for the upcoming season, which will be, 2020 into 2021, but nobody knows what’s going to happen. Right. And so I ‘m talking to a lot of locals and people that work for the ski resort and they’re worried about their jobs. they don’t know if they’re going to be a normal season or not.
[00:36:06] So then Vail resorts about two weeks ago sends a survey to their email subscribers asking them specific questions, like, what are the most important factors in your decision as to whether or not to buy a pass as to whether or not to plan a trip? And what would make you feel the most comfortable? And a lot of the choices in those answers were, some sort of insurance or guaranteed refund or partial refund or credit, something that if I, if I commit, I can back out of if the world changes and stuff in such a way that ski season can’t go on as normal. And very shortly after that survey, then they announced enhanced benefits for season pass holders, including, the either, full-blown kind of cancellation insurance. So let’s say you just have a personal life crisis or an injury.
[00:36:56] You can’t go skiing. You want a refund, you could get that. But if, if they, as the company or if circumstance has shut everything down beyond your own control and beyond your circumstance, there’s some kind of fall back in place for that. Which I thought was great there really listening to their audience and they’re using email to communicate their decisions.
[00:37:17] To specifically communicate to each customer what their situation is. Are they getting a credit because how much of their previous, faster they use or not use? And if so, how much is the credit? And then to communicate, what the offers and the deals are. coming up.
[00:37:35] So yeah, some of that is highly dynamically, customized messaging, almost transactional oriented stuff.
[00:37:43] Some of it is more general, but, that’s the way to use the channel right now. If you could speak to people one to one and you are in a dynamic fluid situation, great. If you’re not, if you say Sephora, right, that has, I don’t know what kind of retail store footprint, but a very robust online site, or if you’re one of the brands that are in Sephora, this may not be impacting your sales nearly as much because people could just order online.
[00:38:13] And a lot of them were already doing that. But what we are seeing with those brands is increased empathy. And so that would be the third trend I would see coming out of COVID is just as the empathetic shift in tone to it isn’t business as usual. Yes. You still want and need your products and your stuff, but we know you have.
[00:38:36] A lot more occupying your heart in your mind these days. And there’s a change in tone and content to reflect that. So yes, the practical information is going into the email about store closures or hours or whatever, but I think there’s also kind of a, a psychological, an emotional shift in tone that can be very effective and should be there because we don’t want to turn a blind eye to what people are going through.
[00:39:03] Dennis Dayman: Well, I think that’s a really good sort of ending to ours, just our discussion here. I love how you brought that out. I do have one question though, Karen for you, because you and I, again, we’ve been doing this 20, 25 years and our job, that’s not only promoted to do the things that we do for our, for our clients and staff but.
[00:39:20] Yeah, it’s obviously the pass on. Why don’t we sort of open this conversation, about our children and our preparing them to come off into the real world and whatnot. But if you had one sort of key advice to give to a buddy email marketer, who’s just now getting into this industry. What would that be for them?
[00:39:38]Karen Talavera: Oh my gosh. Well, I would say learn as much as you can for free as possible. And one of the best, one of the best ways to do that is to get involved in the industry through groups because there is a lot of free education out there. And a lot of those groups provide some great. very affordable education and, we do eyeballs, know what the biggest groups are.
[00:40:04] We both have been involved in the Email Experience Council. I just stepped up to be Vice-Chair, a role that you’ve certainly had and above. That’s been around that group has been around for over a decade. Now, part of the Association of National Advertisers has a ton of webinars, virtual conferences, and so forth.
[00:40:23] So that’s certainly a heavyweight to check out. But for any women working in the industry and, there are more and more, there’s a gender bias, I would say, towards so many being a female that are working in email marketing, Women of Email, another fantastic group. A third one Only Influencers, which used to be an email insiders group.
[00:40:46] There’s LinkedIn groups. I mean, the list goes on, but don’t be shy. Don’t think that you can’t join and you can’t participate in any of these conversations or groups and that you don’t have something to add, because they are all welcoming and eager for new members. So, yeah, I’d say, I’d say get out there, get it, get in there, sign up for the emails of all these groups or join them and, and get into the conversation because you’re going to learn a lot very quickly and you’re gonna make a lot of great connections to further your career.
[00:41:15] Dennis Dayman: Well, it’s like we’ve been saying on all these podcasts, right? This is really, for a lot of us has become an extended family for a lot of us. We’ve, we’ve been through a lot together the last 20 to 25 years. And. And nobody here bites as they say. Right. and, it’s, it’s always very fun to be able to, to connect with people like yourself whenever we’re, at one of these wonderful cities at one of these events and be able to sit down just for a couple of days while we’re working, doing, doing it in such a manner where it’s just very fun, because again, we all are, are looking out for each other.
[00:41:43] And I want to thank you for being here and for being a part of this, Netcore ForTheLoveOfEmail podcast. Quickly, can you tell our listeners how they can get in touch with you if they would like to, to take a look at sort of what your services are, or maybe even read some stuff from you?
[00:41:59] Karen Talavera: Absolutely. Yeah. Come on over to the website, synchronicitymarketing.com. And I’ve got a blog at that destination. It’s easy, to get a flavor for what we do and get in touch right off of the site, through a contact form or just a call. And then, we would follow up from there. So that’s probably the easiest way I am on all the different social media platforms as this company, LinkedIn, Twitter.
[00:42:27]Yeah. Pretty active. on LinkedIn as well. Well, so however people are comfortable engaging in and we will be there responding and thank you for having me.
[00:42:39] Dennis Dayman: Perfect. Well, thank you again for being here. Well, listen, folks, we hope that this has been great for you to listen to Karen about sort of how you need to be understanding and tracking, what email metrics matter to you, and what you need to measure to stay on that right path to success. Again, if you guys need help, obviously check out Karen, but you can also check out Netcore, which as you already know, is a global email engagement leader who has, the, one of those powerful AI-powered email delivery campaign solutions that continued to, to deliver some of the high, highest ROI for more than two decades for their customers around the globe. If you’re interested in, and again, and checking out what Netcore is, we’re just at the very end of this, but, as since March, Netcore has been offering what they call their COVID email relief program and that continues and will end in September of this year. But again, allows you to enroll now to be able to send unlimited emails at zero cost and use an AI-powered solution that they have as well. Also, don’t forget to listen to all of our podcast, and if you’re, if you want them to listen to any ones in the past, you can subscribe to our Netcore weekly podcasts, either on Spotify, iTunes Google plays, or even Stitcher, or if you’d like, you can also just visit netcore.co and you can find all of our episodes on there. And every week when we drop these every Thursday. Again, I wanted to tell everybody, thank you again for listening. Thank you again, Karen and everyone stay safe, healthy, and thank you to our listeners.
[00:44:05] And we’ll be back again for our next podcast soon. Thanks, everyone. Take care.