How do you manage an e-mail marketing campaign to 2500 people, each of whom requires different messages, every week for eight weeks - and all while maintaining the theme and branding of the event and managing the various databases?
A smart marketing company like Citigate SA would partner with a smart Internet solutions company like Technology Concepts. This is exactly what Citigate SA did when the converged communications company was appointed to handle the marketing campaign for the recent Citrix iForum 2004 Africa conference and exhibition.
Delegate feedback and online registrations showed that the campaign was a hit!
Over 1000 people registered for the event. Of these, only three people did so via fax - the rest utilised the convenience of online communications.
Managed by Citigate SATs Johannesburg branch in conjunction with Technology Concepts, the e-mail communications received an 86% approval rating from delegates who said that the e-mails provided easy access to information and top of mind awareness of the event.
According to Karen Ballard, Citigate Johannesburg's managing director, Citigate - as marketing consultant for Citrix iForum 2004 - was responsible for assisting in driving registration and educating the various target audiences about the conference.
"We needed a tool that would allow us to do this as painlessly as possible. It had to be simple to use; quick to learn so that we could get up and running quickly; easy to manage; and adaptable so that we could change our messaging regularly according to news, updates and target markets. It also had to provide us with immediate feedback on whether or not the communications reached the participants - something that postage does not allow.
"It was a perfect match. Although we have the necessary marketing, communication and design skills for this campaign, we needed the technology know-how. Technology Concepts had the expertise for an appropriate technology solution."
Ballard says that the real advantage was that while the tool was maintained by Technology Concepts, the actual communications were managed by Citigate through the simple use of a browser-based content management system.
"All we needed was a web browser like Internet Explorer on our PC desktops - no additional software to produce the newsletter was required," she adds.
"We created an e-mail template that conveyed the marketing theme and reflected the Citrix corporate identity. Because many people still prefer to read a 'hardcopy' version, the document was also printer friendly. Importantly, it allowed for quick access to the registration page and an unsubscribe facility for those who no longer wanted to receive the updates."
How it worked: the Technology Concepts Newsletter Creator Technology and Content Management System accessed via the Internet, enabled Citigate to have complete control over the content of the newsletter - from drafting the copy, to making immediate changes, previewing and approving it - ensuring that the tight communication deadlines were met.
Complementing this, the Mail List Manager - also accessed via the Internet - helped Citigate compile, update and maintain the various databases. This allowed Citigate to add and unsubscribe addresses as and when they were required. The system was also able to detect incorrect addresses and remove duplications, which often happens in a large database.
Once the e-mail copy and layout had been approved and the correct database for distribution had been assigned to it, the e-mail was sent to the Technology Concepts server where it was verified. A moderator message was returned to Citigate for authorisation and once authorised, the e-mail communication was blasted out to the target recipients via Technology Concept's server. This ensured that Citigate's server was never blocked by the large distributions.
A clear illustration of the success of the solution was the fact that Citigate monitored registrations against the distribution of e-mail communications - registration peaks corresponded with e-mail blasts.