Thought Leadership Interview: Aberdeen Group's Jeff Zabin on Email and Online Marketing in a Recession

After reading the Aberdeen study “Recessionary Marketing: How Best in Class Companies are Weathering the Storm”, I caught up with author of the study Jeff Zabin, a widely recognized thought leader in e-business transformation, and customer centricity, to chat with him specifically about online marketing, email marketing and marketing automation trends he saw among the Best-in-Class Companies included in his study.In this two-part interview series, Jeff provides insight for improving marketing activity and ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) by using online marketing and marketing automation effectively.Please enjoy…


CD: I was thinking about the effects of the recession on these companies, and I noticed that 76% of them have shifted their marketing spend from one area to another.


JZ: That’s right. I was actually surprised at that finding. I expected to see more companies curtailing their marketing in this economy. But what we’re finding is that a lot of companies are reallocating their marketing spend from high-cost channels and programs to programs like email and online marketing. The email and online programs are more cost-effective in terms of reaching prospects and customers, especially those customers who might be likely to respond to an email or make a purchasing decision. Manticore Technology is certainly relevant to this trend with the tools that they offer.


CD: That means lead generation and lead management?


JZ: Yes. When you think about the value and cost-effectiveness of email marketing, you can understand the greater return on marketing investment --the ROMI --that email offers. That’s why it often makes sense for companies to shift funds away from expensive levers like 30-second TV spots and print ads. It also makes sense because broadcast and print are harder to measure in terms of effectiveness. We can talk about gross ratings points or frequency of reach, but nowadays, it’s more about context sensibility and relevance – the kinds of metrics that email marketing is in a better position to track.


CD: Are any specific vertical industries using marketing analytics more than others?


JZ: Certainly in terms of advanced analytics, we’ve seen the financial services industry using Recency, Frequency, Monetary analytics, but I would say that consumer/retail is catching up quickly. Retailers are using predictive analytics and data mining. These data tools are really some of the key enablers for any company today -- being able to harness the power of analytics to drive the effectiveness of precision marketing and therefore reach the right customer at the right time.


CD: Many of the best practices mentioned in the report, such as such as lead generation and lead management, would be applicable at any time. Why do present economic conditions add an additional level of urgency? Would, for example, liquidity be a prime driver?


JZ: Liquidity is always critical. perhaps more so in a downturn, but we focused on the marketing strategies that helped drive that liquidity.


CD: You describe two key performance criteria: Precision marketing effectiveness and ROMI. Why are these two especially appropriate for today? How can technology enable these measurements?


JZ: Technology can basically level the playing field for both precision marketing and ROMI. To give an example, marketing dashboards can help marketers get the numbers in front of them to keep fine-tuning the system. This is especially important during a downturn, since the sales cycle becomes longer, and lead nurturing becomes more critical. That’s when analytics really becomes a competitive advantage.



Please visit our blog next week for Part 2 of Jeff’s interview.If you would like to hear more about marketing automation and why it is more relevant now than ever before, please visit our resource center and view our latest webinar The Urgency of Marketing Automation.