Last week Teradata ran its Integrated Marketing Management conference – Connect 2013 - in London’s O2. The event attracted around 1000 attendees combining prospects and customers from both Aprimo and eCircle (two former acquisitions )and overall delivered a mixed bag of presentations. Some, in my opinion, were too technically- or product-focused, but equally others (especially the customer presentations) seemed to resonate well with the predominately marketing-based audience.
However it was the last presenter of the day, Matt Macgregor from Blue State Digital – Director for the digital rapid response team for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign – who in my opinion, delivered some of the most compelling content of the conference. His thought-provoking presentation provided an insightful overview into how digital was an influential and integral marketing communication channel for the presidential campaign, in particular for incentivising voter registration, corralling people in fundraising efforts, activating supporters and engaging with voters.
Social and mobile raise your game but don’t forget email
There were a number of interesting takeaways from Matt’s talk. Firstly, and perhaps not surprisingly, social played a big part in campaigning in terms of a medium for sharing voter stories and leveraging its connectedness to make it easier for advocates to share those with other ‘persuadable’ voters. Secondly, Matt revealed that around 25% of the Obama’s campaign’s website traffic came from mobile devices, so as a result the team invested in a responsive site design to maximise conversions and content consumption. Similarly the Quick Donate program allowed supporters to donate easily via SMS, mobile, email or the site and was responsible for raising a staggering $75 million for the campaign.
But while social and mobile – not surprisingly – featured highly in Matt’s presentation, it was a response to a question from the audience that provided an equally revealing insight. When asked what the top 3 digital channels were in the Obama campaign, he replied “email, email, email”. This will no doubt resonate with the conference organiser, Teradata, whose eCircle group is also a provider of email marketing solutions. But it also anecdotally highlights how email still has an important role to play and shouldn’t necessarily be regarded as the poor relation in the digital marketing family.
A/B testing proves its worth
Although it isn’t necessarily new and sexy like social media, email still remains one of the most straightforward and effective ways of communicating with an audience. But more importantly when used in conjunction with analytics it can form a highly persuasive and targeted form of personal communication. During the 2012 campaign for example the campaign team used A/B testing to underpin its email campaigning to understand the impact of different subject lines, different senders and formatting on response and fundraising rates. As can be seen in this article here, the email campaign was highly successful in raising most of the of the $690 million Obama accumulated online, but interestingly it also highlighted how most people have a nearly limitless capacity for e-mail and often don’t unsubscribe no matter how many they’re sent – a resilience that can’t always be said for other types of online communication channels such as Twitter.
The good news for Teradata, however, is that the company is well placed to take advantage of the interest in email marketing generated from the presentations at Connect 2013. When it acquired eCircle about a year ago it got its hands on a robust email messaging platform and a European-centric customer base. But equally the company has the potential to utilise its background in data warehousing to marry these capabilities with the detailed analytics to help organisations build out sophisticated, highly segmented and targeted email campaigns. If all of its customers saw the same levels of results as Obama 2012, mixing email marketing and analytics will seem like a no-brainer.