Email Marketing is Not Dead

by Kyle Lacy - March 25th, 2015

KyleLacy2015
For those of you living under a rock, our friends at the Salesforce Marketing Cloud released their annual State of Marketing report in January where they surveyed thousands of marketers (5,000 to be exact). All the questions asked dealt with uncovering top marketing priorities for this year, and the report includes a large section on email marketing, which — in case you were wondering — is still very much relevant.

For the majority of marketers, email remains an integral touchpoint along the customer journey — 73% agree that email marketing is core to their business. In fact, comparing this year’s survey to last year’s, the importance of email actually rose — 60% of marketers said that email is a critical enabler of products and services in 2015 compared to 42% of marketers in 2014.

There are many factors contributing to the increase in acknowledgement and success in email. The increase in the quality of content production and the continued optimization of marketing automation could be two big ones. However, I believe it’s the increased popularity of smartphones that ultimately points to the overwhelming increase in the value of email marketing. The smartphone offers consumers a constant inbox in the consumer/customer’s pocket. We used to be connected at home and at work. Now we are connected everywhere.

What can we learn from over 5,000 global marketers? For starters, email is not dead. The continued investment in email marketing continues to be an extremely important contributor to the success of any marketing campaign.

Kyle Lacy
Head of Marketing Strategy at OpenView
@kyleplacy

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Dinner Lab: Upscale, Folksy, Pop-up Dining

by John Gifford - March 24th, 2015
Dinner Lab   Image Credit: Rieux Photo

Dinner Lab Image Credit: Rieux Photo

Because Dinner Lab is announcing its entry into the Indianapolis Market today (see details below), we’re sharing some background on their upscale, folksy, pop-up restaurant model.

When Brian Bordainick, CEO of Dinner Lab, was living in New Orleans and found himself missing good ethnic food, and good late night dining, he filled the void himself, initially serving midnight Thai and Indian meals. Subsequent meals were diverse in both people and food, and it planted the seed for what Dinner Lab has become.

After nine months of these occasional dinner parties, the model evolved of opening up a membership, hosting dinners more frequently, and incorporating feedback.

In these pop-up events (restaurants appearing Brigadoon-like on a given day and then gone the next), chefs are provided a creative platform to prototype new dishes and ideas. Guests provide detailed feedback to help them iterate and grow.

As a company, they operate as a subscription service where people pay up front for access to their calendar. They aren’t trying to be exclusive or anything like that, but this is how they subsidize the cost of dinners, hire people, rent a kitchen, etc. Guests then pay for each dinner and have access to not only events in the local market, but in every other city (30 before Indianapolis) that Dinner Lab operates.

What differentiates Dinner Lab from other eating experiences is their constantly swapping chefs, locations and menu themes/cuisines. Chefs use Dinner Lab to experiment on new recipes and get feedback from diners – think of it as a foodie focus group. Diners can attend events in any of their 30 markets, which as Bordainick says, “is a great perk while traveling for work, or just planning a weekend trip around an event.”

Brian Bordainick, CEO of Dinner Lab

Brian Bordainick, CEO of Dinner Lab

Bordainick characterizes his customers as “adventurous diners who want to have a little fun and try something new. Diners who enjoy the fact that these chefs are trying something new and not every dish is going to be a home run, but that they can use the feedback cards to give their feedback.”

According to their CEO, the excellent chefs and staff of Dinner Lab result from a great HR team. “On the chef side, we have a curation team that works with prospective chefs, looks at their menu and helps them develop it to make sure it is as successful as possible. All of our teams go through an extensive training that lasts a few weeks to get them up to speed before sending them off to run events on their own.

We have a very work hard, play hard culture. We all have enough work for 4 people, but we make sure to have fun every now and then. After all, we’re in the business of food and booze!”

A new niche that Dinner Lab is adding is a private events arm, Dinner Lab catering, that can take care of the food and beverage for any event – wedding, corporate events, etc.

Bordainick’s wish, after you’ve experienced one of their unique pop-up dining experiences, is that you’d say, “Wow – I’ve been living in Indianapolis for my entire life and I never knew about this space! The food was so inventive – I didn’t think the flavors would work together but they really did. I can’t wait for the next one!”

Here is a One Page Summary of Dinner Lab, as well as other cities where it currently operates:
Dinner Lab One Pager

Here is an extended history of Dinner Lab:
Dinner Lab History

For more information, email Edie Feinstein: efeinstein@dinnerlab.com

Details for Indianapolis Dinner Lab

Indianapolis membership will be going live at dinnerlab.com on Tuesday 3/24.

$125 per person gets access to the calendar for the year not only in Indianapolis but in all of our markets across the country (currently 30). Each member can purchase up to four tickets to each event.

Once the membership is purchased, people will immediately be able to buy tickets for the launch event which is planned for July 17th with Chef Danny Stoller.

About the dinner:

A celebration of all things PNW (Pacific Northwest for the geographically challenged)

Chef Danny Stoller

Birthplace
Seattle
Last places lived
Seattle, Boston, Olympia (WA)
Learning Institutions
Northeastern University, Seattle Culinary Academy
Last 5 places/restaurants worked
Revel, Tilth, LUC, Ray’s Boathouse, Black Bottle
Current gig
Dinner Lab

Menu:
Charred corn consomme
hush puppy | lime creme fraiche | beech mushroom

Trumpet Mushroom Flan
carrot & apple slaw | kettle corn | pea shoots

Cured Trout Salad
mizuna pesto | roasted beet cake | celery root puree | hazelnuts

Grilled Leg of Lamb
white beans & tomato confit | red eye colatura

Carrot Sponge Cake
dulce de leche sorbet | celery heart | olive oil

Location: TBA 24 hours prior to the event.

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Do You Really Need an Apple Watch?

by C.J. McClanahan - March 20th, 2015

On March 9th, Apple announced the newest addition to its product line, the Apple Watch. As expected, the media lost their minds, fawning over every single feature and benefit. Analysts predict the company will sell between 30 and 40 million units in the first 12 months.

I bet they are right. I am certain that a line of Apple fanatics will wrap around local Apple stores, camping out for days to be the first to purchase this new product.

In fact, I’d bet you’re considering buying an Apple watch. It’s OK, don’t be embarrassed, admit it.
But, before you go and plop down a minimum of $349, as a public service, I feel obligated to offer a few observations:

You should be a little offended. In addition to telling the time, the Apple Watch does a whole bunch of other stuff (Instant messaging, listen to music, check the weather, etc.) that is also offered via your iPhone. Apple is convinced that you have become so lazy, that reaching into your pocket is now considered cumbersome. What’s next, a chip implanted in your brain that updates Facebook every time you see a hysterical bumper sticker?

It’s not a Rolex. Personally, I don’t have a ton of really expensive clothes/accessories. However, I completely understand it when an individual wants to look their best and buys a nice watch, jewelry or a tailored suit. If you are this type of person, the Apple Watch is not for you. No matter what style you get (even the $17k gold version), the watch is square, bulky and ugly. It is not a fashion accessory.

Your productivity will go down. This final point will certainly generate debate, but as with most arguments, you will eventually agree with me. The Apple Watch will not help you get more done in less time for two reasons. First, the watch is designed to stay paired with your iPhone and, I can’t believe I find the need to point this out, if you have your iPhone with you why wouldn’t you just use it? Second, research from a lot of really smart people has concluded that constant interruptions significantly reduces your productivity.

Here’s my advice. If you are so in love with everything Apple, then just go and get an Apple or Steve Jobs tattoo on your wrist. It shouldn’t cost more than $100, and you can take it swimming. Most importantly, I promise everyone will “get” your devotion to the brand the instant they see it.

C.J. McClanahan
Reachmore Strategies
317-576-8492
cjm@goreachmore.com

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“Undercover Boss” Uncovers Bad Leadership

by Lisbeth Calandrino - February 28th, 2015

After watching season after season of “Undercover Boss” I’m thinking we need a show called “Undercover Employees.” They could find out what their bosses are doing.

“Undercover Boss” is an American reality television series, based on the British series of the same name and producted by Studio Lambert in both countries. Just as the title suggests, the boss goes undercover to see what his entry-level employees are doing.

Two things that seem glaring; there is little customer service training and “bosses” don’t know what’s going on in their businesses. In fact, most of the bosses are amazed at what’s going on!

I was watching the “Undercover Boss” last week and was disturbed by the boss’s decisions. He was very generous with the employees he worked with, giving them large sums of money. The problem, as I see it, is that people were getting money to help with their “troubled lives” but weren’t asked to “better themselves” or attend schools, so they could obtain leadership positions.

My hunch is the people will spend their money, have great vacations or new toys but what will they have learned? I believe that people will be more apt to change if there are some conditions to these generous gifts. In fact, I feel so strongly about it, I sent a letter to the “Undercover Boss” and sent some customer service books. I don’t know if I’ll get an answer, but maybe the letter with my suggestions will get read! My biggest gripe, where in the business world do people get free handouts with no “strings attached?” And what’s the point if the gift isn’t connected with your business?

One great thing about the program is that bosses get to understand their employee struggles and help them grow. One of the best ways to help them grow is to provide opportunities for them to advance within the organization. Promoting good employees is essential to their learning.

In order for a business to perform adequately the “boss” must be able to communicate with his employees.

There must be a way for the boss to know what their employees are doing without spying on them. This reminds me of mystery shopping; another task that I think is ridiculous. If you think your employees are not acting appropriately they probably aren’t. This problem usually starts when a company doesn’t have a suitable training and accountability program. Teaching and training is one thing, if you don’t hold people accountable for what’s expected to don’t waste the training program. CEO’s must create a business model that is in line with the customer’s and employee’s needs.

Everything goes back to customer service and how customers are being treated. Front line employees are the ones who need the training and usually get the least amount. Because they’re not seen as the ones who “bring in the money,” they typically don’t get best training.

So far, 100% of the companies have leaders who have no idea of what’s going on in their businesses. How sad.

Many of the problems could be avoided if the leader spent time reading employee evaluations and staying in touch with their businesses. No matter what business you have, the only thing that makes it work is the customers. The first customer of any business is the employees.

Lisbeth Calandrino
Fabulous Floors
Associate Publisher & Director of Consumer Research
lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com

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