Servant Marketing: ‘Let’s Be Good’

“Let’s be good at what we do, but let’s be good, too,” said Lisa Harmon Stephens, Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting’s Head of Creative Services, to conclude her locknote presentation at Litmus Live Boston earlier this month. Her presentation was about Servant Marketing, which is marketing that puts customers’ needs first, rather than the needs of your business.

One way to gauge whether you’re practicing Servant Marketing is to look at the calls-to-action and themes of your most recent 20 marketing emails. In what percentage of them is the primary CTA “Buy Now” or some variation? How many of them lead with product content? On the other hand, how many of them lead with or contain educational content, value-based content, community content, or any other content that’s not explicitly selling?

Another way to measure how you’re doing is to see how many times you refer to your company or say “I” or “we” compared to how many times you refer to your customer and say “you.” Do you just talk about yourself and your products, or do you put yourself in your customers’ shoes and talk about their needs, challenges, and opportunities?

The endless drumbeat of a “me, me, me” marketing strategy is endemic among traditional-minded product companies, whereas service-oriented companies tend to have a lot less trouble seeing things from their customer’s point of view. Whatever you’re selling, you need to adopt a service mindset, says Stephens.

Stephens may have closed out Litmus Live Boston talking about Servant Marketing, but many of the other presenters also touched on the need for brands to focus more on serving and on customer-centricity. It was the biggest theme of the conference by far and it was woven into presentations that covered a wide range of topics…

>> Read the entire post on Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog

Email Deliverability Quarterly: 1st GDPR Fine, Google Supports BIMI, and More

Email deliverability is constantly changing, as inbox providers adjust their filtering algorithms, blacklists tweak their listing criteria, and consumers evolve their definition of spam. That’s why even the best email marketing programs suffer deliverability problems sometimes.

To help you avoid trouble, the email deliverability practice at Oracle Marketing Cloud (OMC) Consulting shares the latest news and tips for what to watch out for in our latest Email Deliverability Quarterly.

In this post, Clea Moore and Brian Sullivan explain how the following news and events will impact marketers’ email deliverability:

  • £183m GDPR Fine Levied against British Airways
  • Google Commits to BIMI Pilot
  • Microsoft Evaluating AMP for Email in
  • Gmail Enables Image Blocking to Thwart Tracking
  • Cox Not Allowing New Email Addresses

For the full discussion of each of these issues…

>> Read the entire post on Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog

Sign up for OMC Consulting's twice-monthly newsletter

Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting is excited to launch a new twice-monthly newsletter designed to spark conversations about how brands can seize their digital marketing opportunities and overcome their challenges. Our 500+ consultants have expertise in every facet of digital marketing—from creative and strategy to compliance and automation—and will be sharing insights, advice, and client stories to help marketers envision the future of digital marketing.

In the first two issues alone, we’ll discuss:

  • The dangers of having poor email performance visibility
  • New developments that affect email deliverability and legal compliance
  • Why hardly any brands ever build homegrown email platforms anymore
  • The benefits of integrating email marketing with social, SMS, and other channels
  • Harley-Davidson’s Horizon Award-winning holiday campaign
  • The best time to send emails
  • Early warning signs of email deliverability problems ahead
  • What you need to know about the California Consumer Privacy Act
  • Best practices from the 3rd Edition of my book, Email Marketing Rules
  • Hawaiian Airlines’s EEC Award-winning re-designed its Miles Statement into a newsletter format

Don’t miss out. We hope you’ll join us as we explore the latest trends, explain best practices, and share inspiring real-world examples.

>> Subscribe to OMC Consulting’s twice-monthly newsletter

P.S. We believe in strong email marketing permission practices, so we use a double opt-in process for our newsletter. So after you subscribe, you’ll need to confirm your signup by clicking the link in the “Action Needed” email we’ll send to you.

Smart Insights: 2020 Email Marketing Trends

Smart Insights - 2020 Email Marketing Trends

2020 is just around the corner. Which trends will drive email marketing in the coming year?

That’s the question that Smart Insights sets out to answer in this blog post, which I contributed to. The post lays out five big 2020 email marketing trends:

  1. The growing impact of mobile
  2. Minimalism in email design, especially when it comes to using less copy
  3. The increasing role of Ai in email marketing, particularly in the area of personalization
  4. The impact of CASL, GDPR, and a wave of new privacy laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act
  5. An upleveling of the sophistication around A/B testing

My comments focused on trends around send-time optimization, RFM modeling and segmentation, and dealing with privacy compliance. I definitely agree with Kath Pay of Holistic Marketing that A/B testing is overdue for more attention and rigorousness. And minimalism is absolutely a huge design and copywriting trend. In fact, we highlighted that as one of the 6 Pillars of Modern Email Design in our 2019 Email Design Look Book.

For a full discussion of all five 2020 email marketing trends…

>> Read the entire post on

Holiday Marketing Predictions: What to Expect This Year

Every holiday season is a little different because of a variety of factors, including technology trends, consumer sentiment, and the timing of the calendar. Oracle Marketing Cloud (OMC) Consulting’s experts share their thoughts and predictions on how this holiday marketing season will be different from past ones.

Our predictions this year revolve around…

  • How marketers will adjust to the shorter holiday calendar
  • The increase in competition in the inbox
  • How marketers will close the deal with last-minute shoppers
  • The quiet holiday debut that AMP for Email is likely to have
  • The rise of send-time optimization
  • How marketers will adapt to heightened privacy concerns this holiday season
  • How brands will carry their holiday momentum into the New Year

For a full discussion of each holiday marketing prediction…

>> Read the entire post on Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog

The Last Word on September 2019

The Last WordA roundup of email marketing articles, posts, and tweets you might have missed last month…

Must-read articles, posts & reports

My Life as an Email Entrepreneur: My Final Article. (OnlyInfluencers)

How to Code Search Bars in Email (Email on Acid)

Do Not Reply to This Email: Here’s What You’re Missing (Email Optimization Shop)

Truth and Dare: Email Subject Lines (Email Optimization Shop)

Insightful & entertaining tweets

Noteworthy subject lines

Hobby Lobby, 9/20 — 🎄 Christmas Trees Ship FREE!
Bed Bath & Beyond, 9/1 – 🔴 ⚪ 🔵 SAVE up to 50% with Labor Day Deals + Your $20 Off Coupon Ends Soon!
Bass Pro Shops, 9/29 – Bass Pro Shops National Hunting & Fishing Day sale continues!
Eddie Bauer, 9/5 – Save On Flannel For The Whole Family
Burlington, 9/4 – Sneak peek: coats for the family
T.J.Maxx, 9/8 – Sweaters. Are. Back.
Nordstrom, 9/16 – Five trends to wear this fall
JCPenney Home, 9/8 – Score a deal! Game-day must-haves for the host
Gap, 9/26 – The sherpa jackets you’ve been seeing everywhere
Banana Republic, 9/15 – Washable blouses are here to make your life easier
Banana Republic, 9/11 – Get spotted in leopard print 🐆
Neiman Marcus, 9/20 – Coated denim adds edge
T.J.Maxx, 9/5 – The Runway Event is HERE.
Neiman Marcus, 9/1 – Ready for Fashion Week?
Lane Bryant, 9/5 – Who’s the boss? 🙋‍♀️
Dollar General, 9/20 – Why pay drug store prices?
Zales, 9/26 – Up For a Fun Game?
Olive Garden, 9/16 – 🍴 Can’t decide on dinner? Get $6 off 2 entrées!
Marshalls, 9/25 – Have you heard?? We’re online!
Kohl’s, 9/23 – 📱 Have you downloaded the Kohl’s App yet?
Petco, 9/28 – The Petco app has been updated and is better than ever!
Saks Fifth Avenue, 9/4 – Be happy, not perfect: a chat with Poppy Jamie on mental wellness & more
REI, 9/8 – New Sustainable Materials. Same Legendary Styles.
Patagonia, 9/16 – Strike for climate action
Patagonia, 9/20 – Fight for a livable future
Williams Somona, 9/26 – How to Bake a Cake That Looks Like Art! (It’s Easy as Pie)
Express, 9/9 – NEW! 💖 Introducing Labels We Love

New posts on

Email Marketing Isn’t Owned Media—It’s Granted Media

Email Blacklists: How to Get Off One, and Stay Off Them

When Good Enough Shouldn’t Be: The Best Time to Send Emails

The Last Word on August 2019

Oracle's 2019 Email Design Look Book

The Oracle Marketing Cloud Consulting team reads lots of emails. Like, tens of thousands every year. That’s because it’s our job to help brands succeed in the inbox and we’re always looking around for inspiring examples and fresh approaches.

In that spirit, we’re thrilled to share 20 of our favorite emails from the past year as part of our 2019 Email Design Look Book—just as we’ve been doing since we released our first Email Design Look Book in 2009. On their own, these emails are fantastic examples of email design, development, copywriting, and cross-channel orchestration. However, together, this collection highlights the six Pillars of Modern Email Design:

1. Minimalism
Email subscribers are hurried and distracted (just like we are), so having a concise and focused message is essential to success. Our 2019 Email Design Look Book includes great examples of minimalism from Bose, Mint, and others.

2. Rich Content
Great animation or video is worth a gazillion words, and intuitive interactivity breaks down the barriers to taking action. Our 2019 Look Book includes great examples of rich content from the BBC, LEGO, Nest, Shutterstock, and others.

3. Authenticity
Take this to heart: Consumers want to engage with brands that share their values and participate in meaningful conversations. Our 2019 Look Book includes great examples of authenticity from Filson, Lou & Grey, Patagonia, REI, and others.

4. Context
Brands must deliver the right content to the right person at the right time. How? Personalization and automation, for starters. Our 2019 Email Design Look Book includes great examples of contextuality from Alaska Airlines, Fandango, Grammarly, Unsplash, and others.

5. Service
Email subscribers want help, advice, and insights that bring greater meaning and satisfaction to a brand’s products and services. Our 2019 Look Book includes great examples of service-mindedness from Etsy, Quip, Simple, and others.

6. Delight
Who doesn’t love a pleasant surprise? (Don’t you dare raise your hand.) Humor, beautiful images, a clever spin on a familiar topic—they’re all gold. Our 2019 Look Book includes great examples of delightfulness from Comcast, Harry’s, Seamless, and others.

We hope you find as much inspiration from these emails as we have—and that they spur you to greater creativity and innovation in your future campaigns.

>> View the 2019 Email Design Look Book

Email Marketing Isn’t Owned Media—It’s Granted Media

Email marketing has an unfortunate reputation as being owned media. It’s unfortunate because it doesn’t align marketers with their subscribers and inbox providers, who are the true owners of email. And that results in strategies and tactics that invariably end up hurting their email programs and their businesses.

Some of you might be thinking, Wait, but we own our list. We spent a lot of time and money collecting those email addresses.

It’s true that brands have ownership over the email addresses they’ve collected. They can use them to identify customers and prospects across channels, and even sell them to other companies (which we highly discourage). But, beyond owning them as an identifier, brands don’t own email addresses because they don’t own the relationship that makes up the vast majority of each address’s worth.

In my book Email Marketing Rules (3rd Ed.), I say, “Lists are owned only to the extent that someone can own a collection of nonbinding handshake agreements.” Subscribers can nullify most of the value of a brand knowing their email address by withdrawing their permission—either by unsubscribing, reporting the sender’s emails as spam, or simply by ignoring the sender’s emails for a while, at which point their inbox provider will start junking or blocking their emails to the individual.

Permission is where the vast majority of email’s value comes from, and no one can own or sell someone’s permission. Period.

You might concede that point, but be thinking, But for those people who have given me permission, I own that right to reach them via email so long as I maintain their permission.

>> Read the entire post on Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog

How to Get Off an Email Blacklist, and Stay Off

Having your email IP address or domain added to an email blacklist can seriously affect your deliverability, and therefore the profitability of your email program. This is doubly true if you’re blacklisted during one of your key selling seasons.

For those reasons, it’s important to routinely check if your brand is on any email blacklists and, if it is, to take the necessary steps to get removed and then to make changes so it’s less likely to end up on an email blacklist again.

In this post, email deliverability experts Clea Moore and Kent McGovern and I explain…

  1. What email blacklists are, including the two different kinds and a list of major blacklist operators
  2. How to determine if you’re on one or more email blacklists, including a list of paid and free tools
  3. How to get your brand removed from a blacklist
  4. How to avoid getting blacklisted, including recommended and highly recommended action items

To get all the details on each of these topics…

>> Read the entire post on Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog

The Last Word on August 2019

The Last WordA roundup of email marketing articles, posts, and tweets you might have missed last month…

Must-read articles, posts & reports

Warning to Marketers: You Can’t Cost-Cut Your Way To Growth (Forbes)

Most Marketers Still Don’t Let Consumers Control Email Frequency or Content (eMarketer)

Litmus Live London 2019: A Recap in Tweets (Litmus)

Insightful & entertaining tweets

Noteworthy subject lines

Express, 8/29 – Labor Day Sale starts TONIGHT! (Out of Office = ON)
Nordstrom, 8/10 – Your back-to-campus checklist
T.J. MAXX, 8/10 – Create your dream dorm!
HomeGoods, 8/1 – Tips to organize your dorm in style!
Target, 8/23 – ✏️ Take note: top back-to-school deals have arrived ✔️
Saks Fifth Avenue, 8/4 – Last chance for up to 25% off new-school-year threads
SavvyMom Today, 8/13 – Our Fave Lunch Boxes and Bags for Back to School
Hobby Lobby, 8/16 – 🍂 Recreate This Charming Fall Mantel
Eddie Bauer, 8/25 – Let Flannel Season Begin!
The North Face, 8/21 – Global Climbing Day is August 24
Saks Fifth Avenue, 8/9 – MAC’s new lipstick is love at first swipe
Banana Republic, 8/29 – Introducing our Packable Performance Suit
Nordstrom, 8/14 – Check out these trending sneakers
Wegmans Meals 2GO, 8/9 – Pizza + Cauliflower = Veggie Perfection
Williams Somona, 8/16 – The Best of Europe up to 30% Off + French & Italian Recipes Inside… + Your Code for 25% Off Inside!
Kohl’s, 8/9 – 15% off + Night Owl Deals? Let the shopping begin! 🦉
Burlington, 8/23 – Introducing the Burlington Credit Card
Walgreens, 8/9 – Get 10X points when you use points in store!
Everlane, 8/15 – Back In Stock: The Performance Chino
See’s Candies, 8/15 – 🍊 Orange you glad? This lollypop favorite is back!
GrubMarket Team, 8/15 – 8 Stone Fruits – Now in Season! 🍑
VS PINK, 8/11 – 🍑 BEST 🍑 BUTT 🍑 EVER. 🍑
Express, 8/14 – Lifts you up. 🍑 Holds you in. 👖
Lane Bryant, 8/16 — $45 JEANS. Get your butt in here!
Anthropologie, 8/29 – “I just got this for 50% OFF”
Zales, 8/12 – “I Believe in Simple, Elegant Designs…” -Vera Wang
Patagonia, 8/26 – New prints and graphics inspired by the public lands and waters we love
Tractor Supply Company, 8/24 – There’s Still Time to Save on Top Pet Brands – and Join Us for Today’s Adoption Event!
Petco Foundation, 8/24 – Does Your Pet Have Superpowers?!
T.J.MAXX, 8/27 – Vacation glam or stay-at-home spa?
Lane Bryant, 8/19 – How does $500 sound?
Goop, 8/13 – who Kerrs?
Underground Cellar, 8/29 – Your $22 wine credit expires tomorrow!

New posts on

On-Demand Webinar: The Future…Delayed – The Forces that Keep Brands from Being Aligned with Consumer Behaviors

Subject Line Writing: 6 Trends that Are Driving Strategy Changes

The California Consumer Privacy Act Add to Pressure for a New National Standard

Email Annotations in the Gmail Promotions Tab: Opportunities and Concerns

The Last Word on July 2019


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