Subscribers Rule – Exact Target

Last week I had the privilege to speak at Exact Target‘s Connections ’08 user conference. Exact Target is the provider of a leading email marketing application … but they are so much more. 1200 people attended the conference, and heard the Exact Target mantra – “Subscribers Rule.”

Subscribers Rule is one of the tightest, clearest brand essence ideas I’ve heard in a while; Exact Target, as a group of online marketing thought leaders, encourages people not to think of email marketing and related activities only as customer acquisition tools, but as customer relationship-building tools. (This was the subject of my talk to the pre-conference “Agency Summit.” I wrote The Apple Farmer story preparing for this talk.)

Jeff Rohrs of Exact Target spoke before me, explaining the Subscribers Rule philosophy.  Jeff is a leading thinker in this area, and pointed out that customers might still think of you as a spammer even if they have subscribed to your material, if they don’t think it is interesting or think you send it too frequently.  Subscribers Rule is based on three major principles:

  1. Serve the individual – Don’t focus on lists. Use technology for mass personalization.
  2. Honor preferences – in terms of content, frequency, channel
  3. Deliver value that meets the customer’s unique needs … they don’t care what you want, only what they want.

Read more of Jeff’s posts on subscribersrule.com. We can all learn a lot from Jeff.  He “gets it.”

Since I was speaking to a room full of people immersed in Internet marketing and social media, I have some special opportunities to share the content of my talk with you.  First, welcome to the world of instant blogging.  Soon after leaving the stage, I started getting Google Alert emails, telling me about blog posts about my speech.

  • Tom Dressler of Marketer Insight wrote this wonderful post as I was speaking, giving a complete recap of the talk.
  • Bill Powell of The Serif Group shared these insights on The Orange Juice blog, focusing on my jabs at “Brute Force Branding.”
  • Exact Target’s marketing group posted this “live blog” giving a play-by-play of what I was saying.
  • Jeff Rohrs also wrote this post called “Zen Mail Marketing” on the Subscribers Rule blog about the “Not Two” concept I use to explain the idea of a We relationship. (This is an idea inspired by friend David Gottlieb, co-author of Letters to a Buddhist Jew. David is one of the smartest, most interesting people any of us has ever met, in addition to rooting for the wrong Chicago baseball team.  Write me if you want more information on “Not Two.”)

Jeff also interviewed me, and published this short video of our conversation:

Finally, if you’d like my slides, please see them here. Yes, looking at slides by themselves is (should be) cryptic, so get in touch if you have questions.

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Posted in Marketing, We relationships

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