Nicole Harris manages audience marketing activities for print and electronics products at business and finance media company The Deal LLC. She began her publishing career at VNU Business Publications in 2004 and rose to information marketing manager in 2006. A graduate of New York University with a Master of Science in Publishing, she currently resides in New York, NY.
Q: What practical advice can you give to those conducting email and fax campaigns regarding testing their efforts?
A: Testing your efforts is the best way to learn and measure your audience’s preferences. As a first step with every effort, I determine what I would like to test. For email and fax campaigns, I recommend testing deployment using different days of the week and times of day to discover the optimal time to reach your audience. I find that testing small versus large amounts of copy is useful in determining how much information your audience wants to receive. Many professionals assume that less is best, but this may not necessarily be the case. If you are short on time, test via email first. The response time is the fastest and necessary tweaks to a campaign can be made quickly. Once your campaigns are completed, you analyze the results, determine what worked best, and implement your next campaign.
Q: What is your opinion on sending text only (versus HTML) messages?
A: I firmly believe the answer to this question should be determined by your audience and the type of effort. Last year, I tested this very topic on a requalification effort to subscribers from The Deal newsweekly and was surprised to discover a preference for the text only version. For a paid effort to an audience that is unfamiliar with our products, sending an HTML message makes a favorable first impression and introduces them properly to our brand. HTML messages provide you with more creative options and the imagery within an HTML message, a logo or cover image, fixes your brand within the mind of the recipient. Since some browsers have trouble reading HTML, you should always send out a text only version as well.
Q: As Audience Marketing Manager, what do you believe is the biggest challenge fulfillment professionals face today? What strategy do you use in overcoming this challenge?
A: Circulation executives increasingly depend upon telemarketing as a primary means of reaching customers. As direct mail and other traditional marketing channels become more expensive and yield fewer results, telemarketing continues to be more cost effective and generates higher response rates. The catch-22 with telemarketing is that once you have acquired a name through telemarketing, oftentimes that customer will not respond to any other marketing channel. It is easy to default to only marketing to customer through telemarketing. But what will happen when telemarketing costs increase, as we know they must, and we are faced with customers who will only respond to phone inquiries? I’m taking precautions by focusing on diversifying circulation marketing channels and looking for new ways to reach potential customers.
Q: What other ways can circulation professionals reach potential customers?
A: As our company has grown its conference offerings and involvement with other industry events, we have taken advantage of opportunities to reach out and network with new customers at live events. The face-to-face setting allows potential customers to view TheDeal.com and tour our Web-based database products, Auction Block, Merger Arb Alert and Bankruptcy Insider. We find that for Web-based products, our audience responds better when they can interact with the product and ask questions firsthand. A postcard or a direct mail piece cannot convey the depth, efficiency or usability of a digital product to the same degree.