The conference starts about 8 each morning and the sessions carry straight on through lunch, which is where they diverge from the traditional conference format. Most other conferences would either end at this point or would break for lunch and then go into afternoon sessions. Half-day conferences are great but are not going to attract a diverse international crowd. You might get people to fly somewhere for a full day conference if the content is really good but let’s face it, after five hours of case study presentations and panel discussions, your brain just needs a break.
EIS covers multiple days but has group activities booked in each afternoon to allow delegates a chance to refresh, relax and get to know each other in a different context. Things get more traditional in the evenings with the obligatory cocktail reception and networking dinner.
The agenda for the first day was to take a deep dive into email and marketing automation, and the highlight for me was the presentation by Lisa Stone of FairFX. You can download a copy of the case study here or catch a version of the presentation here.
I also heard a great quote, “You can never mail the same customer twice.” What this is getting to is the notion that every communication we send has an impact on the recipient and therefore the fact that they received and perhaps interacted with our email means that we have changed them. I will admit that it was pretty heady stuff for early on a Tuesday morning. I know that I never really stop to think that the emails I help clients craft and send change the recipients’ very existence. From a more practical point however, I think what this quote really points to the importance of looking at each recipient’s behaviour and changing what we send them accordingly. In other words, understanding their digital body language and send them the best next message.
Another interesting point was looking at email and marketing automation in a broader context. When speaking of automation, people naturally gravitate towards automated sending based on a trigger, but automation is not necessarily a downstream activity. You can automate upstream by automating activities around campaign set-up. Things like personalization, dynamic content, and re-mail are all examples of upstream automation that reduces the amount of button pushing and delivers better emails at scale.
My final observation on the first day was that a theme emerged around holdout groups. A holdout group is simply a small percentage (usually 5%-10%) of a target audience who does not receive your email. This can be done at the global level where a percentage of people who signed up to receive email never receive anything or in other words become fallow. Looking at the purchasing behaviors of this group tells you if all of your email marketing is having a positive impact on sales. Holdout groups can also be set up at the campaign level, which will tell you if the campaign had the desired impact on your recipients. This needs more time than I have here, so will become the topic of a future post.
That’s it for now but I will post again tomorrow from day 2.