ExactTarget's Connections 2011 Final Notes

Quick Lessons from the Final Day at ExactTarget’s Connections 2011

As I introduced in my first blog about the recent ExactTarget Connections 2011, there were many great lessons, reminders, and tips shared at the conference. Here are a few quick, final points from the last day.

Tom Arrix, VP of US Marketing Solutions at Facebook
  • Social will make business better. Products will be developed better due to social. Ask people what they want, not from a blog, but ask in a way that demonstrates that you truly care what they think. Connect with people at their core.
Brad Rencher, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Omniture Business Unit, Adobe
  • Don’t send 100,000 emails; send one email to 100,000 people. In other words, make each email be targeted and relevant to each individual, rather than blasting out a generic message.
  • Next, the true test of whether you’re working on something of value — ask yourself whether what you’re doing matters to your CEO. If it doesn’t, it probably doesn’t actually matter.
  • Know your audience, and know your influencers. When possible, identify and connect more closely with your key influencers—those who are tweeting most frequently about you, for example, or writing an influential blog in your space.
  • Mobile is the digital superglue that ties the many communication platforms together. Leverage it! Brad Rencher provided a great example of how Vail Ski Resort used mobile and social tools to extend the overall skiing experience at their resort in some incredibly creative and engaging ways.
  • Finally, in today’s world, chief marketing officers (CMOs) are tomorrow’s chief executive officers (CEOs).
Michael Becker, President, Mobile Marketing Association

Michael Becker presented a tremendous number of particularly interesting statistics about the mobile marketplace. One particularly scary statistic is that more people are using mobile phones than toothbrushes!

Becker continued to emphasize that mobile is no longer a channel by itself, but it needs to be considered as coexistent with all media. The number of creative and useful mobile applications is now astounding. Imagine the possibilities, such as the following (which already exist):

  • A sensor in running shoes that talks to an app so you can compete with a friend in another location
  • A sensor connected to an application monitors a potted plant and tweets you when it needs water

Based upon a little additional research, you’ll see people use mobile frequently for numerous activities today:

  • Checking the balance on a bank account
  • Checking in using location-based networking (e.g. Foursquare, Facebook)
  • Liking a company on Facebook
  • Scanning a QR code or bar code
  • Paying a bill
  • Shopping for competitive prices while in a store
  • Reading a book or magazine
  • Watching a movie or TV show
  • Checking in for a plane flight

The list goes on. The only limiting factor to using mobile in your world is your own creativity. Be creative and embrace mobile.

Miriam Geller, Director of Product Management, Yahoo

With over 100 million active Yahoo email users, it makes sense to watch what Yahoo does when it introduces new capabilities for its user base. Miriam Geller walked through a very impressive set of features being rolled out to Yahoo email users. A few of these features are noted below:

  • If an email has jpg attachments or links to Flickr or Picasa, the message automatically shows thumbnails of each.
  • If the email has links to videos, thumbnails of the videos are provided below the email; when clicked, you can view the movies within the email client.
  • Users can interact with Facebook from within the Yahoo email client.
  • Email content can be made to update in real time.
  • Stronger spam protection is available.
  • Users can attach as many as 50 files and send files up to 100MB in size.
  • iPhone-, Android-, and iPad-friendly viewing is available.
  • Users can IM and text from within the mail client.

While it remains important to test emails for Yahoo users, it makes sense to consider the base of Yahoo users on your list and what you may now be able to do to further enrich their email experience.

Matthew Thomson, Vice President of Platform, Klout

Many know about Klout and the influence it has had (and measures) on social media participation. Matthew Thomson highlighted an important point about the power of reputation: 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. While this isn’t surprising, it’s a great reminder that working with our influencers is one of the most straightforward ways to build your messaging and drive your desired calls to action.

Jay Baer, Co-Author, The Now Revolution

Jay comes with a deep background in social media. Here are a few great points from Jay:

  • Every customer is a reporter. What a great point! In today’s world of user-generated content, many companies have found out the hard way that customer reporters can wield their power.
  • Hire for passion and train for skills. There’s a lot of validity to this suggestion.
  • If you do nothing else in social, know how to use four words: “Thank you” and “I’m sorry.” A beverage company had a customer write in to complain about a new flavor they didn’t like. The company responded simply, “We’re so sorry you didn’t like the flavor. Here’s a coupon to buy a flavor you do like. Thanks for your business.” You can easily turn complainers into advocates and brand evangelists by simply minding (and tweeting) your manners.
  • There are 5 stages of social media. Work through them for your own social media success:
    • Ignoring
    • Listening
    • Responding
    • Participating
    • Storytelling
  • Be clear about guidelines for your employees to speak about your company in their social accounts. You’ll find that with the extra clarity, you’ll actually unleash a very positive power of social among your extended employee base.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out Jay’s book, The Now Revolution.

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