Major Changes Coming to Email Analytics

Tim Cook doesn’t giveth, he just taketh away. This time it’s inbox tracking. 

Most marketers are well aware of Apple’s recent war on digital marketing. The changes to tracking with iOS14 are just starting to be felt and the change of the direction and tone they are setting will change our ecosystem. 

But Apple is doing what they said back in 2019: “The future is private.” 

With the latest WWDC, Apple announced the next big swipe at marketers: Apple Mail users will have to opt-in to allowing email opens to be tracked. While the numbers are still being sorted out from the last update, it looks like most people will not be opting into tracking. Which is a reasonable step for most people to take when presented with the request to allow tracking.  Therefore it seems likely that people will not opt-in to email tracking. 

While this is currently just going to be in Apple Mail, it stands to reason that Apple sets trends in this industry. Remember how everyone made fun of the iPhone for dropping the headphone jack? It was not long till everyone else copied that.

The arms race will be interesting to watch: Will Mailchimp throw a public fit like Facebook did? Will Constant Contact develop a work around? Will Apple launch its own email service that doesn’t follow the rules?

What to do about it? 

Know that Apple is once again changing the rules. In the near future email reporting will be affected. 

-Make good use of the time we do have left by testing open rates on different types of headlines. Headlines will be awfully hard to test against each other when these changes take effect so use this time and make records. 

-Start building better content. Using the data you have currently and focus on making better emails going forward. Stop sending lower quality emails and focus on good ones. In other words, make it hard to not open. 

-Use UTM parameters in email messages. If you are not already doing advanced link tracking in your emails, now might be a good time. UTM parameters might end up being one of the first and last working reliable analytics. 

-Diversify your marketing methods. Email will still be a good tool to use. But as Google tries to sort people’s email for them, and Apple takes swipes at tracking, determine how else can you reach your people reliably. Unfortunately, I think this means that texting will continue to grow in its use by commercial entities. The second best attention feature left to use is push notifications, so getting customers to download your app will also become more prominent for marketing. 

Steve Jobs believed in hardware and software that worked perfectly together. This ended up creating a walled garden that was a hindrance to Apple for many years. But now, this walled garden, where they get to dictate the rules for so many people, may end up being the greatest advantage of our age. Apple sees the future as private for our benefit but also their benefit. It will continue to make our jobs harder, so begin communicating that to your clients to help set expectations of performance as these changes come down.

Attention

Attention
Attention is one of our more important resources we have left. But as a culture, we have not yet started treating it as essential as time. Attention can be garnered in a multitude of ways: bright colors, billboards, attractive people, cute dogs (and ugly dogs), notifications, emails, tv ads, and newspaper articles. While evaluating these multitudes of ways, one should also consider whose attention you are trying to gain and at what cost. 

Gathering attention and reselling it is the principle that media companies are based on. Facebook isn’t the product, we are.  Facebook gathers our attention by showing us things we think are interesting and fostering a sense of community with people we may not see every day. We are the product because it sells our attention to advertisers. Newspapers gather attention by producing journalism and then sell that attention for advertising. I think that having an app will be standard in the future because the ability to have push notifications on the consumer’s device/watch/glasses/other wearable technology will be a key attention-getter in a noisy world (call our friends at Sodium Halogen https://www.sodiumhalogen.com/ for custom app development).  

The cost of gaining attention has never been lower which means that we as a culture are more distracted than ever. As a result, it can make it harder to get good attention from your audience (it’s a painful cycle). We should think about the cost of each medium we are trying to use to get attention. Right now, the most affordable methods of getting attention are generally digital. There will come a day when the cost of digital ads will rise and the cost of traditional advertising will slide down. Because of the current state of prices, we almost never recommend our clients purchase traditional advertising. There will be a day when the cost of the traditional advertising has dropped enough to make it competitive with digital again. It is important to remember: Marketing is about attention, not necessarily the platform of how we get that attention. 

It is also important to consider whose attention you want. Understanding your customer is crucial to getting the right attention. If you primarily sell hemorrhoid cream to senior citizens, the attention that a tiktok influencer gathers is probably not the attention you want to pay for. Study: Who buys our product/service? What are they paying attention to? What do they find valuable? How do we talk to them and get their attention? We will talk more about this later in this chapter.

An additional cost of garnering attention is the cost of trust or social capital. We can see this most clearly with “click bait” headlines online. If we do something extremely bold to gain attention and do not back it up with value, we will erode the trust that our audience has with us. The only exception to this rule seems to be state and national level party politics. You can see this in email marketing as well. If you subscribe to an email list and it proves to be annoying, you do not continue to open those emails. Also, as a society, companies continue to push the edges further and further to get and keep attention. There is an atrophying of the minimum level of excitement required to get and keep attention. This is a cost we and all of our children will pay for. 

 

This blog post is a portion of Attention and Action. The book walks you through the marketing process that Adelsberger Marketing follows with its clients. You can read this book for free as a blog on the Adelsberger Marketing website or purchase on Amazon.com.

Marketing and Sales

Marketing vs Sales
The gap between marketing and sales is often a small crack in small organizations. However, that gap is more like a wide gulf in large organizations. The size difference is a result of the broad definition of marketing. We believe, in short, marketing enables sales to happen. Marketing includes all the things that lead someone to be ready to make a purchase. Is a brochure sales? No. Can it enable sales? Yes.
Marketing helps generate sales. If someone comes across your brochure and then picks up a phone and calls you or visits your website to buy something – then mission accomplished! It helped create sales. Where this line gets fuzzy are things like eCommerce websites. Where does the line get drawn there? There are many elements of marketing on an eCommerce website: the photos, the copy, the branding, and the way the website works. But the actual transaction is sales. 

Why does this matter? It’s important to know who is responsible for what. If your sales teams need something to help enable sales, marketing should be responsive to that. If it’s a new sales slide show or a new landing page on the website, those are tools that marketing can provide to help sales be successful.
Working with an outside marketing agency can be self-defeating if you are horrible at sales. Bad sales skills can kill good marketing. Likewise, bad marketing slows good sales. To help everyone be successful, we need to ensure open communication between marketing and sales. We need to help ensure each part is doing a good job with their tasks and that they are not afraid to ask for help.
In each organization, it is important to break down the goals of each department. In marketing, is the goal to generate leads for sales to then follow up with? Is it to grow the public perception of the organization? Is it to generate eCommerce sales? In your organization, it will be important to specify where sales and marketing mesh and who is responsible for what. The smaller the organization, the more cross over happens, especially when the CEO/Owner is responsible for all of it. 

 

This blog post is a portion of Attention and Action. The book walks you through the marketing process that Adelsberger Marketing follows with its clients. You can read this book for free as a blog on the Adelsberger Marketing website or purchase on Amazon.com.

Introduction

The simplest definition of marketing that I have is this: Marketing is the effort of getting someone’s attention and motivating them to take your call to action/goal.

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Facebook Vs. Apple

Why is Apple releasing a privacy-focused update and why is Facebook spending enormous amounts of money to object? It affects the core of both of their business models. 

Apple has positioned itself as the privacy champion in the digital space. I do believe this will be a winning bet for the company to make. And much like other seismic shifts Apple makes expect the other tech companies to follow suit after Apple has set the standard. Also, while this may seem like a moral high ground move, it is ultimately a business decision. 

With the release of iOS 14.5 Apple is taking the first big shot in the tech world against the way the system of internet advertising has been run. Here is a summary: 


-iOS is on somewhere between 40-60% of the smartphone market in the US.

-The way iOS addresses things will affect how others in the space behave.

-iOS14.5 has a privacy update that does not allow apps to track you unless you opt-in. 

-Previously apps would track you by default, now they require permission to track from the default. 

-Facebook and the internet has almost always worked on an opt-out model, so you were by default being tracked.

What it’s not: 

The end of Facebook advertising. You can still target those who are already your customers with permission. This primarily affects third party advertisers like companies that most people have never heard of. Facebook will still have lots of data on its users to use for targeting but third-party sites may have less info to work off of. 

What the results of this going to be? 

More paid apps, less targeted advertising, more privacy online, more income for Apple via the app store and less income for Facebook and other digital advertisers. Delayed results and less accurate results from ad campaigns. 

What to do?

If you are running eCommerce conversions or app conversions, read up more on Facebook’s news releases. If you are running web conversions, be sure to verify your domain. Consider investing in Email Marketing and Google ads as we are unsure of how much damage this will do to Facebook ad campaigns. 

 

For further reading:
Facebook Releases- https://www.facebook.com/business/help/331612538028890?id=428636648170202

Apple Releases- https://developer.apple.com/app-store/user-privacy-and-data-use/

Making Ideas Presistent

*This blog is partially highlighting Sticker Mule, a company we use, as a sort of sponsored post, just wanted to put that out there*

As previously mentioned, we love themes instead of new years resolutions. Themes give you a much better chance at success in making your life more of what you would like it to be over the course of a year. But how do you keep it up? You must think about it and revisit it regularly. As a team, we talk about it weekly at our staff meeting. As a person, I have a reminder in my task manager to make time to work our on our big annual projects every other day.

So far we are doing great. We have hit our executions for that theme for January. Most of these things will not be known to the public but it will be important to us.

But I also believe that making an idea visual – making it be available to be seen in places that will make it help stick and become part of your vocabulary and your daily operating system of life. One of the ways I frequently do this is by changing the background of my phone lock screen. I put inspirational or challenging messages here regularly to help remind me to work harder. Our process theme is captured in the quote by Richmond sculptor Elizabeth King: “Process saves us from the poverty of our intentions.” With some hand-lettered art by local artist, Maria Stewart, we have made that a cell phone background here.

But we also had stickers made by Sticker Mule that we have given to our team. I am putting them on places like my laptop, which is a place I can not help but see it everyday:

 

If you want to make an idea work, you have to be persistent about it. Revisit it often, evaluate what it means, and spend time implementing it. Two books I would recommend on making ideas happen for your team: Traction (Wickman) and the 4 Disciplines of Execution (McChesney, Huling, Covey).

Also, be sure to expose yourself to it all the time.

A great way to do that is with a sticker. Sticker Mule also has some new tools to make stickers easier to make if you don’t have a graphic design team on standby: Trace​​, Upscale​​, & Redraw​​. These tools can help you take your idea and make into reality (the reality of a sticker of course).

Even if you see an idea every day, without action, it will remain a simple sticker, or a few lines of text, and fail to become the life-improving concept that it could be.

Theme for 2021: Process

Resolutions are trash; themes are much better. 

Resolutions are inflexible and a year is a long time for a person to stay focused on a goal. I find that quarters are a much better time frame for goals. Annual themes save us from likely failure from having hard set goals. It also gives us the opportunity to modify the meaning of the theme as the year progresses. For example, Kevin in January is different and in a different situation from Kevin in July. (Imagine, if you will, something that could completely change a year for an entire planet.) Read about last year’s theme here.

2021s annual theme for myself and Adelsberger Marketing will be PROCESS. While reading Seth Godin’s new book, The Practice,  I came across this quote from Richmond sculptor Elizabeth King: “Process saves us from the poverty of our intentions.”

 

 

Having a set process for what we want to achieve can help us do our best work even on days or times when we may not feel like it. If you want to be a writer, it’s a good idea to write every day. You may not want to write every day. But making it part of your daily process can help with forcing yourself through the “writers block.” I did this one year without thinking much about it. I decided I was going to post a new photo on instagram every day for a year. There were a lot of days I didn’t want to do that. But forcing myself through the process of posting everyday helped me see more of the beauty around me. I was even able to see more opportunities for photography in the everyday world.

 

Process as a theme works itself out in a few different ways for us:

  1. Process in personal life.
  2. Process helps pursue the best.  
  3. Process allows growth and decentralization.

 

Because we are professionals, we have to show up. We have to show up every day. We have to do the work. Even when we don’t want to or feel lazy. Or when we are too busy. I want to implement more processes to save me from myself on days when I feel tired, lazy, or overbooked. Our intentions can waver. But if we craft our processes carefully, they will provide correction for our intentions.

 

One of the major ways this will play out for Adelsberger Marketing in 2021 is outlining the processes we already do in a documented format. This way, we can make sure we complete the steps each time. Process will not only save us from disinterest or laziness but also help us fight against forgetfulness.  Many of these processes will take the form of checklists. Checklists can be profoundly helpful for humans. In 2008, the WHO created a standard checklist for surgeries to help cut down on avoidable deaths from the operating room. Surgeons are some of our most educated citizens – who would think they needed a checklist to be better? But after these checklists were implemented, they saw a 40% drop in avoidable deaths and a 1/3 drop in complications. 

 

Process is not necessary because someone is not a quality person or team member. Process is necessary because we are humans. Humans are prone to error. Whether it be distraction, exhaustion, or disinterest, checklists can be course correcting. We will be pivoting more toward these to help improve our processes in order to deliver the best possible outcomes for our team and clients. 

 

When you have a standardized process, you can also work to improve that process. It is difficult to improve something that changes every single time. We have some processes but they are not detailed and completely repeatable.  Also, they are not fully communicated to the team. As we continue to grow as an agency, we need better defined processes that are fully communicated. Looking back, I have not always communicated processes well. This is a failure of my leadership but it is also one that is overcomable. The best time to start is now.

 

Free theme cell phone background here.

Client Spotlight: Mack Pest Control’s New Site

We are excited to announce the launch of the new website for Mack Pest Control.

Mack Pest Control is a local company steeped in history with three generations working in the business. When working with Mack Pest Control to help determine the best way to communicate their value proposition, we focused on their knowledge.

Mack keeps two entomologists on staff to create plans to prevent pest problems and deal with issues that other firms might miss. Two programs that they have that are unique are the Target Program and the Pest ID Program. With the Target Program, they examine your home or business and develop a plan that is preventative instead of reactive. The Pest ID Program allows people to submit a picture to help identify the bug that is bothering them!

Click below to see the entire Mack Pest Control site!

Mack Pest Control Site

Working with a Legacy Brand: Coca-Cola

Corinth Coke

There is something special about working with a legacy brand. A brand whose color and logo invoke a feeling in most everyone who sees it. A brand whose products have been consumed by almost every individual in the United States and in most every country in the world. Of course, we are talking about Coca-Cola. 

Coca-Cola in America is distributed by regional companies. In the Jackson, Tennessee and Northern Mississippi areas, that company is called Corinth Coca-Cola. We were excited to get a chance to submit a proposal for this project and honored to be selected to create this new home on the web for this great company. 

Corinth Coca-Cola has been in operation for over a hundred years and is owned by the same family that started it. That statement alone is filled with so much awesomeness that you could almost forget to talk about the wonder they were to work with. The family team behind Corinth Coca-Cola are committed to their company, their community, and their employees. They also were great customers (which any creative service company will tell you are things that are automatically connected.) 

One of the interesting aspects that surfaced during the brainstorm portion of this project was the unique audiences that Corinth Coke needs to speak with. Unlike most businesses we work with, there is an entire global culture built around Coke fandom. We needed to build in part of the website to service those fans. We also needed to feature their biggest community event in the Corinth Coke 10K and their museum.

It was an honor to work with such a classic brand and such a great family!