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Uncategorized - MarketingRev - Tech News for Marketers

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November 20th

MailLoop 7: Installed Software that Nails The Basics

Christopher Kenton

I have to preface this review by saying that never in a million years would I have thought I’d be singing the praises of this type of software. But when software does it right, you have to give praise where it’s due. Here’s the story.

I number of years ago–maybe 2002–I was doing a lot of email marketing at my agency. There weren’t all of the SaaS offerings there are today, and in fact, there weren’t a whole lot of options out there for small companies trying to do serious email marketing. Somehow I came across MailLoop, and I have to tell you I was dubious. No matter how you access information about the software, you wind up staring at a wall of long-form marketing copy. “But wait, there’s more!” You know, the kind of marketing that’s used to sell get-rich -quick schemes to people ready to make millions from the comfort of their own home. What can I say? I was desperate for a piece of working software and willing to try anything. I kind of chuckled at the “lifetime upgrade” offer and I pulled the trigger.

I was surprised to find that the software was actually really well built, and did all of the basics I needed it to do. Most of all, it allowed me to manage multiple lists of any size, automate opt-out and exclude lists, and set up newsletters as well as email. I used it for a couple of years, went through at least one upgrade, and then moved on to a new role where I didn’t need to manage my own email marketing. That was over 4 years ago.

Fast forward to this week. I’m doing a webcast next week on social media marketing, and I wanted to send out an email invite to a couple of my contact lists. I’m in the middle of transitioning away from SugarCRM, after a lot of frustration with list management and email marketing. I could send the email out via an Outlook mail merge, but my hosting provider jams any email with over 100 recipients. I could set up an account with iContact, or Constant Contact, but the last thing I want to to do at the moment is sign up for another service. I just need to get some emails out.

And then I remembered MailLoop. Only problem was, I’d upgraded all of my computers since I last used MailLoop. I didn’t have the software anymore. But I did have that “lifetime upgrade”, remember? So, with nothing to lose, I found MailLoop 7 on the internet, complete with their new and improved long-form copy. Sheesh. But I finally found a corporate number, called support, and believe it or not, after buying the software 6 years ago, they simply asked me for my name, updated my account information, and sent me a link for the latest rev of the software. I had it installed on my machine 20 minutes later, and works just like it should.

Now, I’m not comparing MailLoop 7 to all the other email marketing products out there. I know there are a lot of SaaS options that are well regarded. But when a company creates a solid product that’s still solid after 6 years, and they provide customer service like you expect without making you jump through hoops, and they do all of that at exactly the moment you need to solve a problem–they deserve a good review. Long-form marketing copy notwithstanding. And if you’re interested in the product, I can help you cut to the chase. It’s $395 after you do the free trial. I think the deal comes with a number of other free software products guaranteed to make you a millionaire.

Category: Uncategorized | 21 Comments »

November 13th

Trendrr - Quick and Easy Automated Trend Tracking, With a Social Twist

Alex

I started messing around a little bit with Trendrr last week and was very impressed   with its options and functionality. Basically, Trendrr mashes multiple lightweight and mostly free Web trend tracking tools (over a dozen data fields including Google, Technorati, FeedBurner, Quantcast, YouTube etc) and lets you easily drag output graphs from these trends into a single graph with an easy interface, making comparisons really easy. The free version lets you make 20 graphs tracking one or multiple query terms. You can share those graphs with others pretty easily — not that this is very hard to build but its a nice feature. While Trendrr does not have the deep feature sets of the truly pro Web tracking and brand measurement suits of software, it’s a lot cheaper and can probably do 80% of that those pro versions do. Trendrr also has better breadth of coverage — the range of online tracking mediums is very impressive. I drove it through a couple of trend terms and could definitely see how this would be useful to both DIYers and brand managers seeking to get insights into causalities between trend terms and events or just general buzz patterns. It’s not grandma-ready yet — the initial start up interface is a little bit hard to understand and the help section is somewhat sparse. But this will be a very interesting vehicle and I look forward to using it more. There is an enterprise version, as well (freemium model), the allows for unlimited graphs and much more robust term reporting capabilities. You can export the raw data into CSV, spreadsheet, or other common export mechanisms.  Regardless, start with the free one to check it out and make sure it works for you and then move up the paid version.

Category: Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

October 29th

WrapMail — Turn Employee Emails Into Marketing Mojo

Alex

WrapMail is fairly literal — wrap emails coming out of your domain with things that convey a marketing message. This can be featured products, sales pitches, or just customer communications. This is one of those incredibly obvious ideas that I am sure someone has done before. In theory, this is a good dea. There is no real reason why employees of a company or organization should not an active advocate in every email — a potentially viral and low-cost way to spread the word and communicate effectively with customers, not to mention boost incremental sales. On the other hand, it could get ugly and noisy pretty quickly if the message isn’t kept relatively mellow and the media wrap is not too rich (Do you really want punch the monkey wrappers on corporate email?). By extension, the wrappers could be used not only to sell but also to convey key facts — say about a fundraising campaign for a charity, for example. The terms are quite reasonable — $5 per user per month, unlimited wraps, $50 minimum sign-up commitment, no minimum length of usage. You can use your current domain with emails processed by the WrapMail server. No desktop installs are required — it all lives on the WrapMail servers. Whenever a mail recipient clicks on any of the wrappings, you get an instant alert. For retailers, WrapMail offers rotating product picks. No word on whether it can offer behavioral targeting for its message wraps — that would be amazing. The pay-as-you-go version offers limited reporting capability. The Enterprise version lets you install the software on your own servers inside your own firewall and get more robust analytics and reporting capabilities. Potential problems that I see? You better pray that someone on the same server as you doesn’t get too wrap-happy (Wrap sends emails for multiple accounts off the same server) or else you may end up SpamHaus hell. In the same vein, the whole point of email is to succinctly convey a message so over-loading emails with graphical geegaws clearly runs a risk of ticking off recipients. All of that said, I think smart implementations of this system for retailers or other commercial uses could be very powerful. Here’s what one looks like.

Any WrapMail users out there want to weigh in?

Category: Mobile Marketing, Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

October 23rd

eTrigue Announces v3.0: Intelligent Demand Generation

Christopher Kenton

eTrigue has just announced the release of eTrigue 3.0, an enterprise marketing application that dovetails lead generation and campaign management. They call it intelligent demand generation:

[eTrigue is] designed to align marketing and sales efforts to develop and identify leads and close sales faster. eTrigue 3.0 creates, executes and tracks powerful multi-channel campaigns, email and online activities with real-time lead alerts, automatic 3-D prospect scoring/reporting and search-based profiling without requiring dedicated staff or IT integration.

eTrigue integrates with Salesforce.com to accelerate sales and marketing coordination. One of the features I like about the application is that it separates lead generation and lead processing, which means you don’t clog up your CRM system with a lot of unqualified leads that sit there forever.

eTrigue integrates with Salesforce.com

eTrigue integrates with Salesforce.com

Other highlights for the 3.0 release include “3D Lead Scoring”, which allows marketing and sales to qualify prospects based on demographics, activity and buy time (who, what, when). All measures are customizable, and can be used to dynamically adjust prioritization of qualified leads. The new release also includes real-time email alerts, which can be set to notify sales and marketing teams whenever a prospect triggers certain qualification thresholds–such as a prospect with a certain job-title visiting a particular page on your Web site. Marketers need to be smart about how they use such features–you don’t want to creep prospects out by stalking them the moment the pull up your web page–but being in tune with customer behavior and how it triggers sales opportunities is a major competitive advantage in a tough economic environment.

For more information about eTrigue, check out their online information center. They’ve got a good collection of case studies and whitepapers, along with some decent content on how to tune demand generation programs.

Category: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

October 22nd

Online Survey Tools: Surveygizmo

Alex

There’s no shortage of online survey tools floating around cyberspace, from the entry-level affordable fave SurveyMonkey (running only) to much more expensive enterprise-ready tools that can do all sorts of sophisticated analysis. Working on a project for Vivek Wadhwa at Duke University, I got the chance to mess around with SurveyGizmo.com, which comes in roughly in the middle of the price range for these types of online apps. Pricing ranges from free to $159 per month for the top offering. A quick peek under the hood shows that these guys have been doing some real work and putting a lot of distance between their product and SurveyMonkey. The breakdown of the offerings runs almost four full screens vertically and is fairly dizzying. All the offerings have some nice heft and SurveyGizmo claims it will never delete your survey data for any survey as long as you are an active member — a sort of “oops, I deleted it” insurance policy that I can attest from personal experience is quite handy. All levels have unlimited numbers of questions. All the paid levels also have a month-to-month contract and no forced lock-in, although you will get a better rate coughing up for an annual version.

Serious users will want to stick to the Enterprise or Pro ($49/mo) versions due to the larger sample sizes possible (50,000 for Enterprise and 5,000 for Pro). Only Enterprise users get team-based permissions, a very nice feature for larger sample sets. The survey pages are highly customizable with full CSS/HTML control so they can be branded to match other Webpages. You can include pretty much anything you want in the survey content - video, audio, multi-media. There are a dizzying array of question types and tons of advanced features such as Salesforce and ExactTarget integration, external database synching, and validation tools to make sure no one is pulling funny stuff. The feature set is actually far more than mere mortals would need or use, even among ace marketers. The true gem in all this is the Reporting tools. The tools make it super easy to create granular screens using simple logic commands in pull-down menus — even an idiot could slice and dice data with these tools. Even better, SurveyGizmo allows enterprise users to execute crosstab analysis on questions, obviating much of the need to make nasty Excel pivot tables. Reports can be exported in Word, Excel or PDF. I’m going to be looking at several other tools like this but I personally enjoyed working with SurveyGizmo. They charge a relatively modest $45 to import surveys from other engines (first three are free for enterprise users on an annual contract). I never had any trouble figuring out how to make the tools work. The company itself is very responsive (although they won’t go as far as to promise full-fledged support, understandably). I got email replies fairly quickly. Among their happy clients they include Harvard, University of California, Johns Hopkins and a host of other top-tier schools. I can definitely reccomend this tool to folks pondering online surveys.

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Category: Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

October 21st

WHIM: Serena Software’s Rene Bonvanie

Christopher Kenton

I’m still producing periodic “What’s Happening in Marketing” videos, in partnership with Miner Productions. I was inspired this time by the buzz that Serena Software has been generating with their viral videos and social media programs. When you dig below the surface, the story is even more surprising. Serena isn’t some new startup born on the Web 2.0 front line. In fact, they’ve were around before many of the geeks programming Web 2.0 applications were even born. So how does an old-line software company reinvent itself as a social media innovator, and what do they see in social media that compells such a transformation? I sat down with Rene Bonvanie, the CMO behind Serena’s new marketing efforts to find out.

As always, this video was filmed and produced by the great people at Miner Productions.

Category: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

May 24th

Worldwide Concierge Site and Service Announced

Christopher Kenton

I have to admit it took me a minute to figure out the relevance of this new mobile service and Web site for marketers. At first I thought the submission was yet another bit of spam. But a company profile and announcement came in for Concierge deLuxe–a global high-brow concierge service based in America that networks concierge providers in 80 countries. You can use the service to get a quick seat at a restaurant with a month-long waiting list, gain tickets to a sold out show or, if you’re in the mood, rent a luxury yacht for a weekend cruise on the Rhone.

Yeah, it’s a far cry from mobile advertising platforms and web analytics, but when I stopped to think about the times I’ve needed to entertain and impress an executive, or fix an impossible mess at an important event, I can definitely see the need to have a service like this in your back pocket. At $600 a year membership, plus expenses for any services you request, it’s a far cry cheaper than many alternatives.

Concierge deLuxe is launching with a private Intranet connecting 150 Concierges around the world to provide 24/7 support, connecting either by mobile device or standard telephone. Their mobile concierge service promises location-based information about local restaurants, shopping and entertainment, with access available through a personal assistant.

I have to say when I tried to call, the phone rang through to an answering service. Not the best start for a high-end concierge. But the concept is interesting, and if you’re in a business where you’ve got to support high-rolling customers or partners, it’s a well placed bet to have a concierge you can call on. Just do your due diligence before you buy a membership.

Category: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

January 31st

Great Post on Power Blogging

Christopher Kenton

Zdnet has a great transcript posted from a recent AlwaysOn panel on blogging, including some concise and practical advice on how to build a compelling blog from Buzzmachine’s Jeff Jarvis, Peter Rojas of Engadget, and Elizabeth Spiers, publisher of Dealbreaker.com. If you write a blog, either personally or commercially, it’s worth the quick read.

Category: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

January 31st

Thunk Announces Proposal Automation Solution at Demo

Christopher Kenton

Thunk, Inc., a design and development studio in San Francisco, is launching a new application at Demo 07 that mashes up proposal automation, CRM and business productivity tools. The solution, called [tag]Honeypitch[/tag], enables the creation, collaboration and negotiation of proposals, estimates and contracts online.

The goal is to enable teams to create the perfect pitch of ideas, services, and products that generates immediate feedback and results. Each customized pitch has version-controlled sections and topic-based message boards that allows both parties to agree to terms with confidence.

Details won’t be available until after the Demo launch, but you can sign up for the beta invitation at Honeypitch.com.

Category: Uncategorized | No Comments »