You might be over it, but it’s not over

I know like everybody I have been busily getting ready for today, but I was sure my family would have laid on all the festive trimmings. Nope, nothing. I don’t know what the GDPR Griffin expected from me. Surely, I deserved something for working so hard auditing all my data, defining my legal bases and upweighting my consent where necessary.

Of course, today was never going to be like that. Nor was it going to be some sort of data zombie-pocalypse. Today, Friday 25 May 2018 was always meant to be just like any other Friday – a bank holiday Friday, but a pretty normal Friday nonetheless. Today is not the end of this thing called GDPR. No, today is just the end of the beginning. Today is the day we stop planning for it and start living with it. Today is the day we take a deep breath and think ‘now what?’

Well, now we get back to the business of being marketers because, while GDPR has been pretty much all-consuming for the last two years, it has not fundamentally changed any of our jobs. In other words, GDPR does not change the task marketers have been doing since the dawn of commerce: getting the right message, to the right person, at the right time, on a channel that is the most convenient for them at that moment.

Based on what has happened over the past couple of weeks we definitely have some more work to do. Even though we have known about this date for two years, everybody seems to have waited to the last minute to upweight their consent or notify consumers about the changes to their privacy policy.

I expected the number of GDPR related emails to gradually ramp up during the first five months of this year but that did not really happen. Instead we have seen typical volumes until last week when we started to see a spike. dotmailer has seen Black Friday and Cyber Monday volumes over the past couple of days. The result reported on the BBC and many other media outlets is what I am calling “consumer consent couldn’t care less”. They are vaguely aware that the law has changed and that brands have to send out these emails but, because we are not doing a good job of explaining the details, most consumers are basically ignoring it all.

This is such a missed opportunity. Recent research has shown that almost two-thirds of consumers are willing to give brands more data once they understand the details of the GDPR but instead of being open, honest and transparent and explaining what we are doing in regards to GDPR, we made matters worse by flooding consumers’ inboxes with some version of the “law is changing, we have to send you this, click here to stay on the list or do nothing and we will take you off” for the consent emails and “the law is changing and we have to send you this click here to be removed from the list or do nothing and we will keep contacting you” for privacy policy changes, which leaves it up to the recipient to figure it out for themselves.

So, where does this leave us? Well here in the UK we have a three-day weekend to forget about the whole thing but come Tuesday we are going to be assessing how much data we have left and what we are going to do next. Obviously (I hope), if you have decided to use consent as your legal basis and you have not gotten it, then you cannot keep mailing those people as of midnight today (Thursday to Friday for clarity). That does not mean you can never communicate with them again, you will just have to capitalise on other touchpoints and channels. It also might be time to reopen the discussion around using the soft opt-in and B2B carve out as the foundation for legitimate interest as the legal basis for sending emails.

On the upside, the list you have left should be much more engaged, so now is the time to think about how you keep it that way taking us back to our core business as marketers. Our customers want us to be where they want us to be when they want us to be there talking about what they want to hear on the channel that is most convenient for them at that moment. In other words, sending the right message, to the right person, at the right time, on the right channel.

To find out more about what dotmailer is doing or for helpful resources about GDPR check out our GDPR Resources page.

The post You might be over it, but it’s not over appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 4 weeks ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Damage limitation over the death of ISPs

There’s a change afoot in the email provision sphere as the announcement that four free email domain services are shutting shop; Verizon, and the EE owned Orange, Wanadoo and Freeserve, are bidding farewell to their customers and (hopefully) advising them on their next move. We want to make sure our readers have the insight and the practical tools they need to thrive during this period of shift.

What’s the situation, and why’s it happening?

The announcement by EE (BT) that they were axing their ISP offering came shortly after Verizon announced their departure. The fate of customers with an EE owned address (you can find a full list of the closing domains here) is not yet known, but Verizon are organizing a migration to AOL Mail, with which they’ve formed a partnership. The uncertainty surrounding the closures could mean that it’s up to users to find an alternative email address themselves.

A costly service and an archaic infrastructure makes for little rewards, and these companies will have faced a decision between a rigorous overhaul investment and cutting their losses. Add to that the risk of data breaches that come with aging technology (think Yahoo and their issues) and the pressure from generic domain giants like Gmail, Hotmail and Outlook, and the decision seems a bit more forced.

It’s easy to see, however, why Verizon are opting to migrate their domain over to AOL Mail. Their data has intrinsic value, and email is the digital key used to unlock wide-reaching revenue from this information. EE has taking a significant step, but Verizon has made a savvy decision to team with AOL on this move, and should see some returns.

What can marketers expect and what should they be doing?

Hard bounce-backs will increase in volume for a time, as both marketers and customers alike adapt to these changes. It is quite possible that some account holders will fail to note the closures, and will only realize further down the line, perhaps after attempting to reset a password. It’s this latency that marketers should be working to avoid, so that they can maintain great relationships with customers over email.

Data hygiene maintenance is crucial. Create segments of affected contacts and automate an email asking them to provide an alternative email address or update their details. Show that your brand practices clever and responsible marketing by alerting customers to these changes and advising them on how they can continue to get great experiences with you.

All of this hard work won’t pay off if you haven’t put anything in place to stop unassuming customers signing up with these addresses. Amend your email signup message accordingly.

What’s out there to help marketers?

Terminated email addresses will affect your business’ sender reputation, so keep tabs on your deliverability metrics to avoid any sanctions. Your businesses ESP really comes into its own at times like these. dotmailer customers have access to a dedicated specialist team focused on deliverability, and we also provide our customers with smart deliverability protection software totally unique to us:

  • Automated reputation manager (ARM): the ARM work tirelessly in the background of our platform to protect you. Constantly refining and learning, it’s able to group senders in order to improve deliverability and protect the reputation of every customer.
  • Data Watchdog: an intelligent, self-learning system tasked with screening data. On the lookout for known hard bounces, spam trams and domains, the Data Watchdog predicts, detects and actively prevents you from sending emails that may cause complaints and issues. It quarantines any ‘high risk’ files before they’re even uploaded.
  • NEW! Sender reputation score: (pending imminent release): you’ll soon be able to access your account’s sender reputation score in your Account settings. Calculated from the quality of data you upload, and the engagement you get from your campaigns, your sender reputation status is an important indicator of good email marketing practice. You’ll also get access to detailed guidance on improving your reputation indicators.

What can marketers do to nurture list growth in light of these deaths?

Limiting the damage to your database is one thing. But marketers should never rest on their laurels when it comes to list size, especially as it degrades by about 22.5% a year anyway. Make sure your team are implementing a strong list growth strategy that has the customer at its core. Plus, for customers that need to re-permission with their new addresses, having a preference center is essential. Make sure it’s quick and easy for anyone to update their communication settings at any point, on any device.

Want to know more about growing your email list? Our cheatsheet has the top tactics for list acquisition, and there’s no time like the present!

The post Damage limitation over the death of ISPs appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

BrightLocal opens its 2016 local SEO survey to see how the industry has changed over the last year

Survey questions cover everything from SEO agency size and revenue to services offered and retainer fees.

The post BrightLocal opens its 2016 local SEO survey to see how the industry has changed over the last year appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Darryl, the man behind dotmailer’s Custom Technical Solutions team

Why did you decide to come to dotmailer?

I first got to know dotmailer when the company was just a bunch of young enthusiastic web developers called Ellipsis Media back in 1999. I was introduced by one of my suppliers and we decided to bring them on board to build a recruitment website for one of our clients. That client was Amnesty International and the job role was Secretary General. Not bad for a Croydon company whose biggest client before that was Scobles the plumber’s merchants. So, I was probably dotmailer’s first ever corporate client! After that, I used dotmailer at each company I worked for and then one day they approached a colleague and me and asked us if we wanted to work for them. That was 2013.  We grabbed the opportunity with both hands and haven’t looked back since.

Tell us a bit about your role

I’m the Global Head of Technical Solutions which actually gives me responsibility for 2 teams. First, Custom Technical Solutions (CTS), who build bespoke applications and tools for customers that allow them to integrate more closely with dotmailer and make life easier. Second, Technical Pre-sales, which spans our 3 territories (EMEA, US and APAC) and works with prospective and existing clients to figure out the best solution and fit within dotmailer.

What accomplishments are you most proud of from your dotmailer time so far?

I would say so far it has to be helping to turn the CTS team from just 2 people into a group of 7 highly skilled and dedicated men and women who have become an intrinsic and valued part of the dotmailer organization. Also I really enjoy being part of the Senior Technical Management team. Here we have the ability to influence the direction and structure of the platform on a daily basis.

Meet Darryl Clark – the cheese and peanut butter sandwich lover

Can you speak a bit about your background and that of your team? What experience and expertise is required to join this team?

My background is quite diverse from a stint in the Army, through design college, web development, business analysis to heading up my current teams. I would say the most valuable skill that I have is being highly analytical. I love nothing more than listening to a client’s requirements and digging deep to work out how we can answer these if not exceed them.

As a team, we love nothing more than brainstorming our ideas. Every member has a valid input and we listen. Everyone has the opportunity to influence what we do and our motto is “there is no such thing as a stupid question.”

To work in my teams you have to be analytical but open minded to the fact that other people may have a better answer than you. Embrace other people’s input and use it to give our clients the best possible solution. We are hugely detail conscious, but have to be acutely aware that we need to tailor what we say to our audience so being able to talk to anyone at any level is hugely valuable.

How much of the dotmailer platform is easily customizable and when does it cross over into something that requires your team’s expertise? How much time is spent on these custom solutions one-time or ongoing?

I’ll let you in on a little secret here. We don’t actually do anything that our customers can’t do with dotmailer given the right knowledge and resources. This is because we build all of our solutions using the dotmailer public API. The API has hundreds of methods in both SOAP and REST versions, which allows you to do a huge amount with the dotmailer platform. We do have a vast amount of experience and knowledge in the team so we may well be able to build a solution quicker than our customers. We are more than happy to help them and their development teams build a solution using us on a consultancy basis to lessen the steepness of the learning curve.

Our aim when building a solution for a customer is that it runs silently in the background and does what it should without any fuss.

What are your plans for the Custom Tech Solutions team going forward?

The great thing about Custom Technical Solutions is you never know what is around the corner as our customers have very diverse needs. What we are concentrating on at the moment is refining our processes to ensure that they are as streamlined as possible and allow us to give as much information to the customer as we can. We are also always looking at the technology and coding approaches that we use to make sure that we build the most innovative and robust solutions.

We are also looking at our external marketing and sharing our knowledge through blogs so keep an eye on the website for our insights.

What are the most common questions that you get when speaking to a prospective customer?

Most questions seem to revolve around reassurance such as “Have you done this before?”, “How safe is my data?”, “What about security?”, “Can you talk to my developers?”, “Do I need to do anything?”.  In most instances, we are the ones asking the questions as we need to find out information as soon as possible so that we can analyse it to ensure that we have the right detail to provide the right solution.

Can you tell us about the dotmailer differentiators you highlight when speaking to prospective customers that seem to really resonate?

We talk a lot about working with best of breed so for example a customer can use our Channel Extensions in automation programs to fire out an SMS to a contact using their existing provider. We don’t force customers down one route, we like to let them decide for themselves.

Also, I really like to emphasize the fact that there is always more than one way to do something within the dotmailer platform. This means we can usually find a way to do something that works for a client within the platform. If not, then we call in CTS to work out if there is a way that we can build something that will — whether this is automating uploads for a small client or mass sending from thousands of child accounts for an enterprise level one.

What do you see as the future of marketing automation technology?  Will one size ever fit all? Or more customization going forward?

The 64 million dollar question. One size will never fit all. Companies and their systems are too organic for that. There isn’t one car that suits every driver or one racquet that suits every sport. Working with a top drawer partner network and building our system to be as open as possible from an integration perspective means that our customers can make dotmailer mold to their business and not the other way round…and adding to that the fact that we are building lots of features in the platform that will blow your socks off.

Tell us a bit about yourself – favorite sports team, favorite food, guilty pleasure, favorite band, favorite vacation spot?

I’m a dyed in the wool Gooner (aka Arsenal Football Club fan) thanks to my Grandfather leading me down the right path as a child. If you are still reading this after that bombshell, then food-wise I pretty much like everything apart from coriander which as far as I’m concerned is the Devils own spawn. I don’t really have a favorite band, but am partial to a bit of Level 42 and Kings of Leon and you will also find me listening to 90s drum and bass and proper old school hip hop. My favorite holiday destination is any decent villa that I can relax in and spend time with my family and I went to Paris recently and loved that. Guilty pleasure – well that probably has to be confessing to liking Coldplay or the fact that my favorite sandwich is peanut butter, cheese and salad cream. Go on try it, you’ll love it.

Want to meet more of the dotmailer team? Say hi to Darren Hockley, Global Head of Support, and Dan Morris, EVP for North America.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Meet Dan Morris, Executive Vice President, North America

  1. Why did you decide to come to dotmailer?

The top three reasons were People, Product and Opportunity. I met the people who make up our business and heard their stories from the past 18 years, learned about the platform and market leading status they had built in the UK, and saw that I could add value with my U.S. high growth business experience. I’ve been working with marketers, entrepreneurs and business owners for years across a series of different roles, and saw that I could apply what I’d learned from that and the start-up space to dotmailer’s U.S. operation. dotmailer has had clients in the U.S. for 12 years and we’re positioned to grow the user base of our powerful and easy-to-use platform significantly. I knew I could make a difference here, and what closed the deal for me was the people.  Every single person I’ve met is deeply committed to the business, to the success of our customers and to making our solution simple and efficient.  We’re a great group of passionate people and I’m proud to have joined the dotfamily.

Dan Morris, dotmailer’s EVP for North America in the new NYC office

      1. Tell us a bit about your new role

dotmailer has been in business and in this space for more than 18 years. We were a web agency, then a Systems Integrator, and we got into the email business that way, ultimately building the dotmailer platform thousands of people use daily. This means we know this space better than anyone and we have the perfect solutions to align closely with our customers and the solutions flexible enough to grow with them.  My role is to take all that experience and the platform and grow our U.S. presence. My early focus has been on identifying the right team to execute our growth plans. We want to be the market leader in the U.S. in the next three years – just like we’ve done in the UK –  so getting the right people in the right spots was critical.  We quickly assessed the skills of the U.S. team and made changes that were necessary in order to provide the right focus on customer success. Next, we set out to completely rebuild dotmailer’s commercial approach in the U.S.  We simplified our offers to three bundles, so that pricing and what’s included in those bundles is transparent to our customers.  We’ve heard great things about this already from clients and partners. We’re also increasing our resources on customer success and support.  We’re intensely focused on ease of on-boarding, ease of use and speed of use.  We consistently hear how easy and smooth a process it is to use dotmailer’s tools.  That’s key for us – when you buy a dotmailer solution, we want to onboard you quickly and make sure you have all of your questions answered right away so that you can move right into using it.  Customers are raving about this, so we know it’s working well.

  1. What early accomplishments are you most proud of from your dotmailer time so far?

I’ve been at dotmailer for eight months now and I’m really proud of all we’ve accomplished together.  We spent a lot of time assessing where we needed to restructure and where we needed to invest.  We made the changes we needed, invested in our partner program, localized tech support, customer on-boarding and added customer success team members.  We have the right people in the right roles and it’s making a difference.  We have a commercial approach that is clear with the complete transparency that we wanted to provide our customers.  We’ve got a more customer-focused approach and we’re on-boarding customers quickly so they’re up and running faster.  We have happier customers than ever before and that’s the key to everything we do.

  1. You’ve moved the U.S. team to a new office. Can you tell us why and a bit about the new space?

I thought it was very important to create a NY office space that was tied to branding and other offices around the world, and also had its own NY energy and culture for our team here – to foster collaboration and to have some fun.  It was also important for us that we had a flexible space where we could welcome customers, partners and resellers, and also hold classes and dotUniversity training sessions. I’m really grateful to the team who worked on the space because it really reflects our team and what we care about.   At any given time, you’ll see a training session happening, the team collaborating, a customer dropping in to ask a few questions or a partner dropping in to work from here.  We love our new, NYC space.

We had a spectacular reception this week to celebrate the opening of this office with customers, partners and the dotmailer leadership team in attendance. Please take a look at the photos from our event on Facebook.

Guests and the team at dotmailer's new NYC office warming party

Guests and the team at dotmailer’s new NYC office warming party

  1. What did you learn from your days in the start-up space that you’re applying at dotmailer?

The start-up space is a great place to learn. You have to know where every dollar is going and coming from, so every choice you make needs to be backed up with a business case for that investment.  You try lots of different things to see if they’ll work and you’re ready to turn those tactics up or down quickly based on an assessment of the results. You also learn things don’t have to stay the way they are, and can change if you make them change. You always listen and learn – to customers, partners, industry veterans, advisors, etc. to better understand what’s working and not working.  dotmailer has been in business for 18 years now, and so there are so many great contributors across the business who know how things have worked and yet are always keen to keep improving.  I am constantly in listening and learning mode so that I can understand all of the unique perspectives our team brings and what we need to act on.

  1. What are your plans for the U.S. and the sales function there?

On our path to being the market leader in the U.S., I’m focused on three things going forward: 1 – I want our customers to be truly happy.  It’s already a big focus in the dotmailer organization – and we’re working hard to understand their challenges and goals so we can take product and service to the next level. 2 – Creating an even more robust program around partners, resellers and further building out our channel partners to continuously improve sales and customer service programs. We recently launched a certification program to ensure partners have all the training and resources they need to support our mutual customers.  3 – We have an aggressive growth plan for the U.S. and I’m very focused on making sure our team is well trained, and that we remain thoughtful and measured as we take the steps to grow.  We want to always keep an eye on what we’re known for – tools that are powerful and simple to use – and make sure everything else we offer remains accessible and valuable as we execute our growth plans.

  1. What are the most common questions that you get when speaking to a prospective customer?

The questions we usually get are around price, service level and flexibility.  How much does dotmailer cost?  How well are you going to look after my business?  How will you integrate into my existing stack and then my plans for future growth? We now have three transparent bundle options with specifics around what’s included published right on our website.  We have introduced a customer success team that’s focused only on taking great care of our customers and we’re hearing stories every day that tells me this is working.  And we have all of the tools to support our customers as they grow and to also integrate into their existing stacks – often integrating so well that you can use dotmailer from within Magento, Salesforce or Dynamics, for example.

  1. Can you tell us about the dotmailer differentiators you highlight when speaking to prospective customers that seem to really resonate?

In addition to the ones above – ease of use, speed of use and the ability to scale with you. With dotmailer’s tiered program, you can start with a lighter level of functionality and grow into more advanced functionality as you need it. The platform itself is so easy to use that most marketers are able to build campaigns in minutes that would have taken hours on other platforms. Our customer success team is also with you all the way if ever you want or need help.  We’ve built a very powerful platform and we have a fantastic team to help you with personalized service as an extended part of your team and we’re ready to grow with you.

  1. How much time is your team on the road vs. in the office? Any road warrior tips to share?

I’ve spent a lot of time on the road, one year I attended 22 tradeshows! Top tip when flying is to be willing to give up your seat for families or groups once you’re at the airport gate, as you’ll often be rewarded with a better seat for helping the airline make the family or group happy. Win win! Since joining dotmailer, I’m focused on being in office and present for the team and customers as much as possible. I can usually be found in our new, NYC office where I spend a lot of time with our team, in customer meetings, in trainings and other hosted events, sales conversations or marketing meetings. I’m here to help the team, clients and partners to succeed, and will always do my best to say yes! Once our prospective customers see how quickly and efficiently they can execute tasks with dotmailer solutions vs. their existing solutions, it’s a no-brainer for them.  I love seeing and hearing their reactions.

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself – favorite sports team, favorite food, guilty pleasure, favorite band, favorite vacation spot?

I’m originally from Yorkshire in England, and grew up just outside York. I moved to the U.S. about seven years ago to join a very fast growing startup, we took it from 5 to well over 300 people which was a fantastic experience. I moved to NYC almost two years ago, and I love exploring this great city.  There’s so much to see and do.  Outside of dotmailer, my passion is cars, and I also enjoy skeet shooting, almost all types of music, and I love to travel – my goal is to get to India, Thailand, Australia and Japan in the near future.

Want to find out more about the dotfamily? Check out our recent post about Darren Hockley, Global Head of Support.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

The Magento Xcelerate program: A positive sum game

As an open source ecommerce platform, Magento is flexible and accessible for developers to work with and as a result, an active community of developers emerged on online forums and at offline meetups all over the world. Many of these were happily plugging away independently of Magento until the split from eBay in early 2015.

Free from the reins of eBay, Magento has decisively been reaching out to, promoting and rewarding the individuals, agencies and technology providers that make up its ecosystem. Last February they announced the Magento Masters Program, empowering the top platform advocates, frequent forum contributors and the innovative solution implementers. Then at April‘s Magento Imagine conference (the largest yet) the theme emerged as ‘We are Magento”, in celebration of the community.

The new Xcelerate Technology Partner Program focuses not on individuals but on business partnerships formed with the technology companies that offer tools for Magento merchants to implement.

 Sharing ideas, opportunities and successes:

This is the Xcelerate Program tagline, which acts as a sort of mission statement to get the technology partners involved moving with regards to continuously considering Magento in their own technology roadmap and jointly communicating successes and learnings from working on implementations with merchants.

“In turn, the program offers members the tools to get moving, through events, resources and contacts. Our goal is to enable you to be an integral part of the Magento ecosystem” Jon Carmody, Head of Technology Partners

The program in practice:

The new program is accompanied by the new Marketplace from which the extensions can be purchased and downloaded. The program splits the extensions into 3 partnership levels:

Registered Partners – these are technology extensions that the new Magento Marketplace team test for code quality. Extensions must now pass this initial level to be eligible for the Marketplace. With each merchant having on average 15 extensions for their site, this is a win for merchants when it comes to extension trustworthiness.

Select Partners – extensions can enter this second tier if the technology falls into one of the strategic categories identified by Magento and if they pass an in-depth technical review. These will be marked as being ‘Select’ in the Marketplace.

Premier Partners – this level is by invitation only, chosen as providing crucial technology to Magento merchants (such as payments, marketing, tax software). The Magento team’s Extension Quality Program looks at coding structure, performance, scalability, security and compatibility but influence in the Community is also a consideration. dotmailer is proud to be the first Premier Technology Partner in the marketing space for Magento.

All in all, the latest move from Magento in illuminating its ecosystem should be positive for all; the merchants who can now choose from a vetted list of extensions and know when to expect tight integration, the technology partners building extensions now with clearer merchant needs/extension gaps in mind and guidance from Magento, and of course the solution implementers recommending the best extension for the merchant now knowing it will be maintained.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com