Experian Panorama

In-depth articles, interviews and debates covering local and global topics related to the Experian business expertise.

"The combination of email, mobile and social marketing is becoming a major theme in the digital marketing world"

Carlos Alonso
Experian Panorama Editor
Experian

Steve Lomax is the Managing Director of Digital, Experian Marketing Services in EMEA, a role in which he’s responsible for leading all aspects of the Digital business in the region. We interviewed Steve to know more about the digital marketing capabilities in Experian, their expansion over new markets in EMEA, and about his thoughts on the current digital marketing landscape and trends.

It seems like Experian Marketing Services is rolling out CheetahMail in new markets each month, the latest of which was India. Based on your experience, how different is the approach to email and digital marketing around the different markets in EMEA?

Email and digital marketing are very much global businesses in my opinion.  At an overall level, we see very similar trends emerging in each market that we operate in and in each market that we enter.  The main difference is really around timing – with some markets adopting certain techniques quicker than others, depending on local aspects, such as broadband penetration and general consumer attitude towards purchasing online.

How important is having a local presence to be able to successfully address the needs of your clients in their local markets?

It is very important to have a local presence, but what is also important is to have this local presence joined up to our global capabilities through knowledge sharing and best practice.  In this way, our clients will receive our global knowledge and experience, but delivered through a local team that knows the client well and can work with the client very closely.

Digital advertising has reached 4€ billion in the UK, accounts for more than 25% of total media spend and it’s the biggest market in EMEA. Which trends are you seeing in digital marketing in the UK that may come to the rest of EMEA shortly?

I believe some of the EMEA markets are just as well advanced, or further advanced in some areas, than the UK.  Take the German Ad Serving market and the French multi-channel digital markets, for example.  Having said that, I think the biggest trend in the UK that will soon be adopted in EMEA is the uptake of marketing in social media.  This takes many different forms and we can play a large role in this – both through our integrated social media services in CheetahMail and through our recent acquisition of Techlightenment.

Recently CheetahMail has rolled out a feature to allow for videos to play inside the email reader. What’s next in email marketing?

The first “big trend” is the combination of email, mobile and social marketing.  This is becoming a major theme in the email marketing world and CheetahMail is a market leader in these capabilities.  We have lots of great examples of clients combining campaigns across these channels in a properly integrated fashion, with the results being much more than the sum of the parts.

The other big trend is an increase in the need for true analytics and segmentation to drive much more targeted campaigns, messages and images.  This will require us to combine our email data with many other data sources – both offline and online, in order to maximize the relevance and ROI from each message.  Clearly, as Experian Marketing Services, this analytics and data world is incredibly well known to us.

What would you say to those that keep repeating email is dead as a marketing tool?

Firstly I would say look at the statistics!  Email volumes will grow within CheetahMail globally by around 40% this year, as they have for the last five years or so.  Email continues to deliver the highest ROI of any channel – digital or non digital.  What I do see, however, is people starting to work in a much more integrated fashion across online channels e.g. email, mobile and social.  As I mentioned earlier, the results actually complement each other and create higher returns.  I do not believe these channels are actually competing against each other.

With so many blogs, magazines and events talking about social media now, do you think we’re seeing kind of a social media bubble?

Every time I speak at conferences, if I add a social element I know we will fill the room.  So, it is definitely the “hot topic” at the moment and is getting a very high level of people’s attention.  Over time I am sure this will settle down a little and be balanced against other channels as it becomes mainstream channel – just as email and the internet is.

There is a convergence in the content that we can access through digital devices but there’s also a strong divergence in the way this content is going to be consumed. How can a marketer can keep up pace with all these new platforms and devices?

Let’s start with the first point – the convergence of content on disparate devices.  This makes one part of the marketer job easier.  They just need to focus on ensuring that the content they are sending is timely, relevant and as targeted as possible.  The consumer will decide which device they will read the content on and we really do not have control on that.

On the other hand these devices are all very different – and so the way the content is displayed and how it might be consumed will vary.  I think the technology providers, us included, have a big part to play in making this as simple as possible for marketers.  Certainly at CheetahMail we can design and test that content works successfully across all these types of devices.

What kinds of companies are making the most of digital marketing today?

I believe the types of companies that are making the most are those that are prepared to move at speed, be innovative, take risks, try things out, be prepared to fail, and be prepared to change quickly.

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