Interviews with Vendors: George Bilbrey
George: We had a client in the travel industry, an extremely narrow vertical, looking at how they were sending mail and the days of the week they were sending mail and looking at the days their competition was sending mail on and they found there was a whole in the calendar that no one was sending mail out on Saturdays. So they made the decision to send their mail on Saturday and those campaigns turned out to be their highest performing campaigns. Another example, we had a client that had a fair amount of deliverability issues: they were getting delivered about 92%. They wondered, could they mail more and still get delivered at the same rate? So we were able to look at both the reputation data as well as the panel data, take a look at some of their competitors and other people that looked roughly like them from a reputation standpoint and we determined that it was highly unlikely that increasing the cadence on one particular group of their subscribers was going to drive delivery issues and sure enough they were able to send more mail, get more impressions, get more views and reads without suffering any decrease in inbox placement.
OI: what data could marketers get using these tools that they couldn't get by just close monitoring of the email programs?
George: The key part of the question is "Close examination of their own email programs". I think what is interesting about the data we can bring to the problem is that you gain knowledge from other people email marketing experience. So what I see a lot of marketers doing is "groping for greatness", the phrase I like to use internally, they have a place where they are, they have a strategy they've been following, they have results associated with that. They have a rough idea of where they think they want to go. They do a series of A/B split tests, incrementally get to an optimum. But that optimum might be a very local optimum, it might not be the very best they can get because it is based on where their starting point is. By taking a look at what your competitors are doing and other best in class marketers are doing, you might actually be able to start in an entirely other new starting place, achieving a global optimum, not just a local optimum.
Where we are unique is we can help find where practices are going to start to get you in trouble in terms of deliverability and help you walk that fine line between optimizing read rates and responses and having deliverability problems.
OI: Are you finding that marketers are coming to you with a need for competitive intelligence?
George: We've had great success with the Inbox Inside product with marketers. I think calling it a competitive intelligence product I think sometimes is slightly limiting. I think the way I'd like to think about it: it's a tool that provides you a roadmap to higher returns on your marketing program. You can take a look at what other people are doing to determine what's working and not working and give you some great ideas for your own marketing program. If you call it Competitive Intelligence sometimes only those companies that have a Competitive Intelligence group really get excited about it.