Cross-media newsletter marketing in international B2B business

This article illustrates the unique needs a “global player” has for modern e-mail marketing based on the example of the Commend International GmbH company, one of the world’s largest providers of intercom systems. The company, which is headquartered in Salzburg, develops and manufactures safety and communication systems for protecting people, buildings and assets. Rescue, fire, police and other safety departments, as well as hospitals, nursing homes and retirement homes, rely on the dependability offered by the company.

The “Think global, act local” motto is a daily reality for the app. 150 employees in Salzburg and some 400 employees in the company’s worldwide distribution network. The company generates an annual market turnover of app. €50 million with an above average export share of app. 95%. The company uses e-mail marketing and newsletters to share news. Like other internationally operating companies, Commend and its worldwide partners have very demanding needs when it comes to choosing an e-mail marketing solution that is right for them.

The Needs

Herbert Stadler, Head of the Commend E-Marketing Project at the company headquarters in Salzburg, sums up these needs:

  • Open system – Freely configurable, multiple languages for each account user and independent setup of sub-accounts for international partners.
  • Worldwide access – Web-based “Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)“ with the current version for all languages and time zones stets.
  • Content Sharing via RSS – News and articles are available per click to Commend International and all Commend partners worldwide for designing newsletters.
  • Autonomous – Central template management for international use, with the freedom to adapt or completely redesign templates without having to contact the provider beforehand every time.
  • Simplicity – Intuitive and fluid user interface so that people with little experience can create news and newsletters without training or IT support.
  • Efficient cross-media – News and articles are created once and the rest is then to be dynamically generated per click: as e-mail, web, PDF, audio & podcast versions.

Open for multi-lingual use

The solution used by Commend can be individually configured for each individual user. The GUI opens in the assigned language immediately after it is opened. The newsletter content can be freely displayed using Unicode – including unique characters for languages like Russian, Chinese, Arabic, etc.

Commend International currently uses newsletter marketing in four languages – German, English, Italian and French. Templates are prepared for multi-lingual use and can be used as-is by the Commend community.

Up-to-Date Through Content Syndication

Content syndication means: Group-wide information and news are created and released once from a central location. This allows all business areas, regional offices and worldwide partners to use them – via all information channels and with a wide range of presentation options. This saves resources and allows individual business and regional areas, as well international partners, to focus entirely on the specific customer information for their segment.

Cross-Media Distribution

Commend has access to efficient cross-media (e-mail, web, PDF, audio & podcast versions) that is created once and then generated dynamically per click thanks to its solution from SC-Networks. Innovative features – such as text to speech in German and English were not only convincing during the demonstration, but also in practice when the solution was tested by Commend. This allows the preferences of customers all over the world to be effectively served:
Many view newsletters directly on their screens – in text or HTML format supported by every e-mail client.
Others like to flip through a printed copy in peace and quiet and prefer the cross-platform PDF (Portable Document Format) format.

Some people who spend a lot of time traveling have the newsletters read to them – with speech synthesis (text-to-speech) over speakers or headphones.

In the past the size and resolution of graphics had to be edited for the various newsletter versions manually. This is now done in fully automated processes. Images for newsletters are uploaded in high resolution once and the necessary editing is then performed by the system. Image size and resolution vary freely depending on their intended use: printer-optimised for PDF files, detailed for landing pages and optimised for display on a computer screen in HTML newsletters.

Reach Expander via Info Boards

One important goal for cross-media newsletter marketing in international B2B business is increasing the newsletter’s reach. This is done with the simple distribution of news per RSS (Really Simple Syndication) or ATOM feeds and, recently, through e-mail-to-web distribution in target group-specific portals.

Efficiency is the key: The content is created once at the source in a meta-format with links to landing pages or micro-sites. After its release the content can be used repeatedly and sent to clients and interested person in various forms using different channels.

One new way of increasing the reach of online marketing campaigns is the use of e-mail-to-web. The e-mail marketing solution used by Commend uses an integrated interface to export news and offers from campaigns directly to the Internet. This open approach overcomes the strict legal limits of permission marketing. No law forbids taking information and offers from newsletters and converting it to make it available for subscribers, for example, by integrating it on a website via a news ticker or as an RSS feed.

Strategies for Acquiring New Customers

Marketing campaigns succeed or fail based on the quality of the address data. In order to turn newsletter subscribers into future customers, Commend uses an integrated form configurator to generate new address info. The forms can freely designed with the generator and adapted in colour and design to the CI of newsletters and websites. Users can autonomously adapt and integrate forms without any knowledge of programming.

Commend can easily and automatically integrate customer inquiries per web form in a workflow. The inquiry management feature generates e-mails and sends them to the correct contact person. Depending on the profile information, this could be a customer consultant at the company headquarters in Salzburg or an external Commend partner anywhere in the world. This ensures that customers receive a quick response to their inquiries – from the right contact person and in the right language.

All communication channels that have been setup can be visualised in a workflow in order to maintain an overview of all campaigns through the inquiry management feature. The diagram shows the links for various processes and also shows errors so that illogical processes can be quickly recognised and corrected.

Summary

The international use of e-mail marketing as seen in the example of Commend International benefits from a modern, web-based software solution from the newest generation, like Evalanche. Multi-lingual, client-capable and cross-media information sharing with customers using standardised procedures and XML formats will be possible in all directions in the future. Content sharing increases the efficiency, reach and effectiveness of newsletter campaigns compared to previous methods.

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