Thursday, May 30, 2013

#EEC13 @VerizonWireless (A Work-Related Post)

Note: I attended the Email Evolution conference in early February but have been so swamped since my return that I've had trouble getting back to my notes and turning them into useful information to share with my organization and the world.

John Edwards (LinkedIn)
Director, Digital CRM,
Verizon Wireless

Wacarra Yeomans (LinkedIn)
Director, Creative Services, Responsys

Presentation Slides (PDF)

Mobile First

In general, people give each email:
  • 3-5 second skim - desktop
  • 1-2 second skim - mobile

So... what does "optimize for mobile" really mean? 

Take someone with a gmail account using an iPhone:
  1. Native email client
  2. Gmail client
  3. on safari
  4. on chrome
    ...etc... (now add yahoo, hotmail/, aol, corporate email, etc., etc., etc.)

Slow Kills

Slow load times will reduce customer activity for up to 5 months (Google). Are you chasing away customers with a bad mobile experience?

So... now what?

If the answer to 
"When is the best time of day to send an email?" 
"When they subscriber is checking their email." 

then for 

"What is the best format to send in?" 
the answer is 
"The format that matches what they're opening your email in." 

Two tactics:
(1) Segment and send appropriate version or
(2) Use Responsive Design.
(A third option is a service such as Movable Ink - you create an RD shell and then you create different links and artwork and place in MI and target to specific device types. Then at the point the email is opened, the right image is served. The click goes through MI's servers and is bounced to the targeted client link as well. Quite clever.)

Verizon Wireless uses a mix - sometimes they used RD, sometimes they segment. They are also capturing details about every open to start to build a profile for each subscriber as to what kind of open (desktop or mobile) they tend to use at certain points throughout the day so they can segment in that manner as well for people who use both mobile and desktop.


"Perfection is attained, not when no more can be added,
but when no more can be removed." 
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Desktop asks you to prioritize the order of components within the email. Mobile forces you to prioritize the importance of components within the email. (And then makes you drop all but the top 1-3 most important.) If they're not the most important, should you even send them, regardless of format? It depends. You might need to break into multiple emails or go with a traditional desktop version and a less full-featured mobile version. (Not just formatting changes, but strategic decision to offer less to mobile.)

Follow the Money

You must follow the experience from end-to-end just as a customer would, including making the purchase. (Don't stop at "and then they enter the cart funnel here".) A good mobile-friendly email could do more damage than good if paired with a mobile-unfriendly website. Your agency or channel or medium will tend to focus on its piece of the puzzle, but if you care about your subscriber (or the sale) you will regularly traverse the entire channel and then demand changes to reduce friction.

After they started paying attention to friction, one of the first things they did was allow you to save your cart with an email address. That was used a lot by people on mobile devices. They also realized that the triggered email was still desktop format. (Since it was triggered, it was out-of-sight, out-of-mind.) As soon as they mobile-optimized and save-with-email, they saw:
- Engagement go up 2x
- Activation go up 87x

Verizon Wireless makes Email QA team go through ENTIRE experience as part of QA for EACH mail. Even sign-in, create account, purchase. Not good enough to say "link got me to website. next."

"Mobilizing our content made us better marketers." 
- Verizon Wireless

Let's Get Started
  • Redesign from ground up.
  • Think about every interaction.
  • Be direct, keep it simple.
  • RUTHLESSLY PRIORITIZE (heavily stressed)
  • Compromise is your enemy.

Are You Aligned?

  • What are you trying to do on mobile?
  • What are your customers trying to do on mobile?

Mobile Triage

Will you get a conversion?  The path of the mobile email reader.
click to enlarge

Send Emails to Save Money

Verizon Wireless' "$100,000,000 PROBLEM" - that's how much they spend handling calls for things customers (new or existing) should know. Used that to ruthlessly prioritize treatment streams and aim their messaging to proactively answer before the question comes up.

Wireframe emails and ask the marketer to prioritize what's most important. Your email only has room for top priorities. Cut the rest or re-examine to see if you should have a multi-part send/treatment.

Mobile Perception

You have about 20 words to get them to open (from, subject, pre-header) - look at your iPhone - not a lot of the subject, but some of the pre-header as well.
(This will make you a better marketer.)

Responsive Design is not a Silver Bullet. They became painfully aware and so now, it depends - some responsive, some desktop and mobile versions when they're confident they know what the reader will open them on. (They're tracking customer by time of day to know what kind of version to send. Really new, still in beta. Scary sort of data collection.)

There is a drop at first when customers see mobile/responsive design because they believe they'll get a lessened experience. It comes back if the experience proves to be what they need.

Your best email is pointless if your web experience doesn't match.

Maybe not relevant to us: Verizon thinks about what they're selling to inform what version/design to use. (For instance, if they're selling apps, mobile; if they're cross-selling a faster DSL connection, desktop.)

Responsive design is a tactic, not a strategy.

Mouse precision - 2 px; finger - 45 px.

For heavy data sifting, they are tagging calls to action very carefully. Since they have list of phones, they include a four digit code for the phone the subscriber has purchased in the tag tracking (using SiteCatalyst). They took one product that executives thought was great and used the data to show that the customers didn't like it or didn't care. Ultimately the executives (who had been trying to push the product) killed it when they were confronted with the numbers.

Recommends purchasing the book: "Mobile First"

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