Adventures in Mobile Marketing

Letters From Readers: Believing the Numbers

I hear from a lot of people that they know technically the best way to approach email marketing, but getting the organization around the idea is the hard part. This series will address various issues in the workplace, surrounding email marketing best practices.

Dear Anna,

My boss doesn’t understand, or believe the numbers. I show him how segmentation works, how we get 30% more profit by targeting our base and providing relevant content. I’ve done A/B splits, and we recognize profit, but he still thinks that’s “too much work” and the gains we get without segmentation are enough. How do I get him to see the light?

Unhappy in Non Profit

Dear UINP,

Traditional marketers will always have a distaste for email marketing, because statistics and response numbers rule the roost, and gut marketing is out the window. Sadly direct marketing and direct mail has been doing segmentation for a long time- especially in non profit and subscription businesses.

Here are a few techniques in dealing with management resistant to the magic of quick response reports from email:

- Show, over time, the behavior of various segmentations. Seeing the numbers correspond to his understanding of how various campaigns did or did not perform will help him see the validity of the numbers. I’ve seen this with other clients- if they can map poor response of one segment to a known factor that they understood, it’s more likely they’ll trust the validity of metrics on phenomenon they don’t understand.

- Start small: pick a small campaign and segment, and work on the results, show it around to people in the organization including him, and then branch out into bigger and bigger campaigns. The groundswell of support for the initiatives will outweigh his odd beliefs. Especially if he’s talking cost and hours in comparison to profit, small “proof of concept” (just proving it to him, of course!) may help swallow the pill of larger scale segmentation strategies.

- Money talks. Keep beating the drum that this brings in more money. Talk to people other than him about how this is the way to go, for a sheer revenue standpoint. In budget meetings, when people want to implement bells & whistles, mention that “if we had done segmentation, we’d have this money on the table.”

- I believe many marketers have a hard time listening to their customer base. They get used to understanding the customer as one thing, and when the customers change, the marketers have a hard time changing with them. It’s also about ego. Many managers have a lot riding on the line of a former understanding of the customer. Surveys can help “speak for the customer,” customer testimonials, or how the competition is addressing this shift in the perception of the customer. Agree on a specific metric, and map it back a few years. Show how the agreed-on metric is changing, and how that impacts response to fundraising and subscriptions (as I assume you’re doing as you’re a non-profit).

- Do a simple data audit of the workflow to confirm that all systems are OK. Assuage his fears, basically, and discount them methodically.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • StumbleUpon
Written on Friday, 16. May 2008 at 12:48 In the category Uncategorized, data analysis, letters. Follow the comments via RSS here: RSS-Feed. Read the Comments. Trackbacks- Trackback on this post. Share on FriendFeed

«  –  »


  1. [...] is a series: See Believing the Numbers) Dear [...]

    Pingback: Adventures in Email Marketing » Letters From Readers: Tracking Transactional Emails | – 28. May 2008 @ 12:34 pm

  2. Hi,

    We have been using an online client called swiftpage to send out our direct email marketing. I am a little concerned with the results however. Out of 250 emails, we are only seeing approximately 10% opened. Is this usual?

    Is there anything we can do to ensure our message get’s through. I’m beginnning to wonder if the emails are being blocked or swept into junk folders.

    I guess I would consider myself an old fashioned marketeer in some respects in that I prefer face to face contact but I’m very Internet savvy also. I just don’t feel direct campaigns work very well.



    Comment: James Tomkinson – 16. November 2010 @ 10:24 am

Leave a comment

Recent Posts


Recent Comments


Recent Trackbacks


Follow Me

  • Add to Google

WP-Design: Vlad -- Powered by WordPress -- XHTML 1.0
© 1998 All Rights Reserved