We’ve actually discussed this possibility in our annual predictions now both for 2012 and 2013. Within the next 18 months it is our opinion that Adobe will purchase an Email Service Provider (ESP), and most likely that ESP will be Responsys. We do not claim to have any insider information, this article is expressly our opinion about why Adobe is already late to the ESP game and why they should begin.
Adobe has built and bought various components of their Digital Marketing Cloud which started in earnest with their acquisition of Omniture. Later came Day Software, Context Optional, Demdex and Efficient Frontier.
These last two acquisitions signaled that after establishing a solid presence in on-site marketing technology (Analytics provided by SiteCatalyst, Conversion Optimization provided by Adobe Target, and Content Management provided by CQ5/Day Software) Adobe has turned its acquisition focus towards off-site marketing technology – via display/retargeting with Demdex and Search Engine Marketing leader, Efficient Frontier. With those two companies being integrated into the suite, Adobe leaves one noticeably absent capability in the acquisition and retention loop: email.
And it’s a big hole
To this day email is one of the most effective digital marketing investments. It is one of the biggest benefactors of analytics and personalization, and Adobe has nothing to offer of their own in this area. Email marketing is typically the first place we look when making recommendations once our customers have successfully implemented web analytics.
So even if you`re one of the many consumers who avoids e-mail marketing subscriptions like a cat avoids a bath, the numbers show that targeted communications are among the most cost-effective digital marketing initiatives available. Consider the value consumers derive from well-timed offers bringing them back to abandoned carts with incentives, targeted offerings and loyalty messaging.
Adobe`s platform has the surrounding modules within it to take full advantage in ways that most digital marketing platforms cannot. IBM offer this capability via the Unica Campaign Manager as provided by their Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) offering. But Adobe brings their own Data Management Platform (DMP), Personalization and Recommendation engines (Adobe Target), Analytics Suite (Adobe Analytics), Content Management System (Web Experience Manager), and Adobe Social. All of this is delivered in the Cloud, as is our presupposed acquisition candidate; Responsys.
Buy or Build?
The easy question first, there is no way Adobe is going to build a tool from scratch. The ESP category is saturated with players large and small, and the leaders are way too far ahead for Adobe to try to develop a competitive product on its own. Not to mention, Adobe has more of a taste for acquisition than development lately given their inward focus on integrating the products they have recently acquired.
As for why Responsys, that’s a bit more subjective. Adobe has always gone for the recognized market leaders in its acquisitions and ExactTarget is right there along side Responsys by any analysis. We love ET and we think they are a market leader as well and would be a terrific acquisition candidate, but we like Responsys more for Adobe due to the alignment of technologies. There is too much duplicity in ET to make the acquisition a clean purchase for Adobe.
Forrester reports confirm Responsys’ leadership in enterprise class email, SMS, and display communication service. Adobe has shown a willingness to throw some of their earnings to acquire market leaders of the past 3 years.
Responsys stock price is trading low relative to highs they experienced about a year ago. The price is right, the leadership team at Responsys has strong ties to Adobe, they are the top sponsor at each other`s conferences, their integrations are battle-tested, their customer base is the same, and their leadership position in the Cloud is similar for their respective categories but not overlapping. Lastly, the Responsys workflow capability would go a long way at addressing some workflow challenges that nearly every Enterprise level creative team faces.
Bonus technology for Adobe:
At Adobe Summit, Adobe showed a workflow capability that facilitated virtual teams and scores of agency partners to address the collaboration in the creative process. The Responsys workflow engine is the type of system-wide improvement that could be leveraged across the entire Adobe Marketing Cloud.
Not to mention, the relationship between Adobe and Responsys already seems pretty cozy. Anyone at Summit this year would have noticed.
It is time to begin a new tradition!
Companies don’t make money, people do.
Many of you are working hard to attract and retain the best people to our team. We’re going to need to pull together to make sure that we’ve got a culture that’s warm, fun, friendly and sincere.
Upon the new addition of team members, that person’s supervisor will be sending an introductory note. In the past, our team was so small that everyone knew about the new hires, and just about everything you would ever want to know about them (including whether they liked cheesecake, our proverbial “carrot” – or for the technical team “dog treat” - LOL!). As we grow, this “small business” feel will become increasingly difficult to maintain and it’s time that we begin a new way of welcoming the most important assets we have in our company, our people.
Call to Action:
So what can you do to help us welcome these new team members to LCG?
- Quickly jot them an email to introduce yourself and say hi
- Make it a point to give them a call
- Send them a text
- Schedule a 15 minute meeting with them to let them know what you’re working on. This is really important if the person is working on your “team”, even if they aren’t physically close to you.
- Make sure that they know that you are there to answer questions and extend your hand to them whenever they ask you a question
- Send them a small handwritten card by carrier pigeon
- Put a note in a bottle and throw it in the ocean
- Bring them some jelly beans, coffee beans, jumping beans, cool beans when you see them. Just don’t introduce them to Java beans if they aren’t on the technical team – you might scare them!
Be creative – point is – please help us create a culture that is warm, fun, friendly and sincere. A lot of you have told me in private moments that you like working here at LCG because of our culture, it’s time now for us to be thoughtful about keeping this feeling as we grow.
Lastly, we are also introducing the concept of assigning a Sponsor to each new employee. Some of you will be “volunteered” as sponsors. Think about how valuable it would be to have a “brother” (don’t think Goerge Orwell’s “Big Brother” from 1984, think “foxhole trench mate”) for help with questions that you wouldn’t ask if you didn’t have a friendly peer. Let’s make it easy for new hires to resolve any moments of dis-orientation or confusion as questions pop up. Let’s do what we can to even avoid and preempt those moments where possible.
Please let me know what you think about these two ideas, I am eager to hear your feedback.
Get ready, I’ve got two new people to introduce to you! Here’s your opportunity to give this a try!
Based on the Global Study of Top Management-CEO Study IBM-2012: “Leading in a hyper-connected world.”
More than 70% of CEO’s are looking for a better way to understand the needs of every client and to increase their potential for solutions. Given the need for a deeper knowledge of the clients, the so called “out performers” (Those organizations that beat the competition in the same industry in terms of growth, income, and revenues.) have a clear advantage.
IBM has been working on this report since 2004. On the fifth edition they were able to sit face to face with 1,700 CEO’s from 64 countries all across the world, of which 230 work for medium size companies. read more
Companies undertand the importance of refining their CRT (click-through rates). This is because as the rates are improved with higher ranked keywords, the companies’ income can also greatly improve. Essentially, to determine the CTR, ‘number of visits’ is divided by ‘number of searches.’
In previous research, summarised by Chris Soames, an analysis of CRTs from Optify showed the importance of Page 1 and, in particular the top 3 positions.
This curve can be utilized when employing search engine optimization as each position demonstrates the divergence in capacity.
Below are comparisons of Google click-through rates by position.
Interview with: Josh Manion, CEO and Founder of Ensighten
Ensighten is a partner of Lima Consulting Group and is the tag management software that we use to manage digital marketing services like web analytics, ad networks, content optimization, social sharing, conversion pixels and voice of consumer on customer websites.
Q: What made you start Ensighten?
I started Stratigent, a web analytics consulting firm, in 2002 to work with big brands with very complex tagging requirements. So I experienced the pain of managing tags first hand. We tried a couple of the tag management products on the market at that time, but their container tag approach didn’t scale well for enterprises and didn’t support all enterprise tagging use cases, like complex web analytics data collection and site content personalization. In 2009, I decided to solve the problem myself with a fundamentally different approach. The objective was to reduce, or in many cases eliminate, the need for IT / developer involvement in tagging while not limiting the functionality of any marketing service.
I had four key design requirements for the system we built which became the foundation of Ensighten: it has to deploy in a single line of code, support any tagging use case or vendor without custom development by either party, support any device, and accelerate page load in the process.
Q: What is different about your tag management solution than others?
A recent SHRM survey shows that businesses are making use of new social media technologies – although not necessarily to their best advantage. For instance, while 40% of companies surveyed enforce specific policies for their social media actions (and 39% monitor their employees’ social media use on company networks), only 28% of organizations actually have social media strategies in place. A meager 21% bother to calculate their social media ROI. And only 12% of companies surveyed have at least one full-time employee whose primary job function is to manage Web 2.0 efforts.
It’s great to see businesses engaging with social media, and in some cases devoting human resources to their efforts. However, the SHRM survey results show that most organizations have a long way to go before they reach a high level of social media sophistication. No organization should be testing the Web 2.0 waters without a coherent digital marketing plan in place. And it’s simply a waste of time and resources to implement social media strategies without also analyzing the return on investment.
Creative, well-strategized use of social media can improve brand awareness, customer engagement, and product perception. However, a mismanaged campaign can alienate customers, muddle a brand’s message, and create bad press. That’s why it’s so important for businesses to not only establish a presence on social media networks, but also to do so within the context of a cohesive, integrated digital strategy.
Responsys announced a lot of innovations last week at their annual conference.
The platform Responsys allows marketers to reduce their reliance on paid media by focusing on new school relationship marketing channels. It’s amazing to me how much companies spend to acquire traffic. About 95% of the budgets in the digital marketing space are spent on paid advertising. Yet every business consultant knows that you can gain a bigger lift in revenue by increasing folks already in your pipeline than by going out and acquiring new prospects at the mouth of the funnel.
And Responsys has case study after case study of folks that have done just that.
Southwest Airlines for example established a corporate wide focus on cross channel communications. They launched campaigns via email, text and retargeted advertising. Retargeted advertising
Retargeting is an online advertising technique that focuses only on people who have already visited your site. Anyone who has visited your website will receive a small identifier on their computer (called a cookie). When the user visits any website that has advertising on it, and where your ad has been placed on the major networks, then your ad will appear to those users. It generally costs less than most advertising models and generally outperforms other advertising tactics. Here are a few examples of the creative that went out via their platform.
And the results speak for themselves.
Southwest Airlines has over 10 million email subscribers, 1.7 million Facebook fans, and 1.2 million followers on Twitter, and tens of thousands mobile subscribers.
“Our number one transaction days used to be when we dropped a TV and radio spot. Now our number one transaction days are when we execute an email campaign coupled with a mobile and social campaign through Responsys.”
–Director of Marketing, Southwest Airlines
Companies are learning how to use cross-channel communications to increase engagement and have more meaningful dialogue with their customers. We think this is a good thing, both for companies that are prepared to stomach the good and the bad that comes along with the raw conversations that will happen once they open these channels, and for the customers that they serve.
Organizations prepared to stomach this type of change need to be sincere in their approach, be willing to have conversations in public view, and provide value beyond “brochure-ware.”
- Adobe will buy Responsys
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