Wednesday, 29 April 2009

List of Vistage members on Twitter

I think it's high time someone started this - a vague attempt was made on Vistage View but as a discussion forum it doesn't serve as a directory.

So, please add:

- Your Vistage Group
- Twitter handle (e.g. @felixvelarde)

to this list by adding a comment below... if we can gather some momentum, we'll compile a directory or make this list available to Vistage View to take over :)

Friday, 24 April 2009

This month I've met a couple of really interesting companies who sort of dovetail with what we do in eCRM. Several weeks ago I was at an email round table event for Revolution Magazine, with some highly knowledgeable people both client-side and provider-side. It was fascinating to hear how people view the current state of email marketing, and its future. Topics ranged from managing ISP reputation scores to behaviour-based automation, drivers like client profits and critical success factors like usable design. Everyone in the room was agreed on the critical importance of good segmentation.

I followed up with two of the companies sharing the conversation. One provides straight-through analytics - one of the Holy Grails. The usual way of reporting on eCRM programmes involves extracting information from a variety of separate databases, then stringing together email tracking, mobile, web and e-commerce stats. In a huge step forward, they build a bespoke (free) database behind a fantastic dashboard, which means we can have genuinely end-to-end customer tracking underpinning the eCRM programme, without interfering with existing databases or adding unnecessarily to the cost. The other company sits right at the other end of the process. They make sure emails get delivered and read, through a combination of technical expertise and negotiating power.

We're going to try and bring both companies into what we do, as they'll help us tighten up delivery and tracking. Essentially, while we know that what Underwired does - segmentation strategy and eCRM campaign development, creative and management - drives revenue on a huge scale, there is always much room to improve the technological wiring in such a way that we can improve revenues even more. It's a combination of properly coherent, end to end attention to detail. Where we get the opportunity, bringing together the right partners to support the strategic and creative work will mean incremental revenue for clients in its own right.

ECRM gathers pace, and we're seeing engagement rates of 63% with previous 'brand resistors' and CTRs of 50%+ as a norm. And it feels like summer might be excellent too.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Moshi Moshi Brighton, a tale of wee and warm sushi

Yum, Moshi Moshi in Brighton - quick run down from London straight after work, membership card in hand and all ready for a 50% discount... what could be better? Well, let me tell you how it really was.

We'd booked a table for three at 8.30. The manager, tousled and hassled, told us the couple before us was still finishing up. In fact, he came back 15 minutes later to rant that they were being deliberately obstructive, taking forever to finish their drinks just because they'd been told to leave. Told to leave? Irrespective, the table next to theirs was unoccupied, but in need of a wipe. We waited. We were eventually seated. That was when I noticed a very faint smell. Of wee. Maybe, we thought, it was something else. It was fairly faint.

We ordered. Quite a lot was unavailable (tuna, in a sushi restaurant). Limp, warm fish started turning up (the starter arrived after we'd started in on the sparse sashimi platter). The wine, a very decent Breaky Bottom, was excellent, but the Sapporo was tepid. The waiter's IQ was tepid too, barely breaking double figures.

A table behind us came free, was quickly filled with four guys; the manager called across the loud and trendy music, "It's OK, this corner used to smell of p*ss, but it doesn't any more!" Next he was spotted munching food while he cleared away plates.

We tried one of the dishes off the conveyor to see if was any less awful than the special - warmer, limper, greasier. By this time the three of us had had enough. Bob and I decided we needed some decent grub, so we grudgingly paid ("Would you like to leave a tip?" "Nope.") and headed out. As we passed the manager and two waiters lounging on the steps outside having fags, I couldn't resist. "Still smells of **** mate." Ended up at The Regency on Brighton sea front, where we had a delicious haddock and chips, twice. Should've gone there to begin with - and I would strongly advise, touch not Moshi Moshi in Brighton with a barge pole, The Regency fish shop is spotless, professionally run and perfectly served.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Tentatively approaching Podcasts

I went to a seminar the other day organised by AAR (yes, we did their website) and presented by Dawn Sillett, a brilliant creative psychologist who does a variety of in-company workshops to improve creativity and engagement.

One of the take-outs from the seminar was that everyone has a different way of taking in and assimilating information. When we do presentations, a third of the audience may want to see diagrams and to visualise, say, customer journeys. Another third may listen intently and create a model in their heads based purely on what they hear - they might sit in a meeting with their eyes closed and a finger pointed at their ear. Another might want to get a gut feel for the people, and if they trust you, trust you to get it right.

Dawn wondered out loud how many of us had a website that caters for all three of these types of people. And it's true - we do the visual thing very well. And our eCRM website does the 'feel' thing pretty well too - people we've spoken with say they get a good impression of the people at Underwired from the way the site presents our characters.

The one thing we don't do at all is present ourselves in an auditory way. No music (though the eCRM website seems to really scream out for it!), no sounds, no podcasts.

So I've started to play with recording some of the articles I've written recently. It's hard - I've never recorded anything deliberately before, and I keep muffing it up. Someone once told me I give speeches like Captain Kirk acts - and I guess it's transferring into the podcasts. When I've got one that people here like, I'll add it to the Underwired website and you can let me know what you think - good or bad! Add a comment if you have any tips, or sign up to our email list if you want a nudge when the first recording is online.