_Michael Seaton is Director, eMarketing at “Scotiabank”:http://www.scotiabank.com. He currently leads Scotiabank’s one-to-one electronic marketing strategy for the retail bank in Canada. He is responsible for the design and implementation of Scotiabank’s award winning permission-marketing program and for data-driven marketing campaigns and initiatives across the bank’s electronic channels._
_He is active speaker and is a long-standing volunteer with the “Canadian Marketing Association”:http://www.the-cma.org/, currently Co-Chair of the CMA’s E-Marketing Executive Council and is on the Board of Directors with the Association of Internet Marketing & Sales (“AIMS”:http://www.aimscanada.com/)._
*One Degree: How important is e-mail marketing to Scotiabank?*
E-mail is very important for Scotiabank and is a critical part of our direct marketing and channel strategy. Our e-mail program called “The Vault” allows us communicate on a regular basis and consistently demonstrate our brand promise of helping customers get ahead financially. E-mail serves to enhance the overall Scotiabank experience.
We have established a trusted dialogue in this channel because we use it to help educate, advise and coach customers on a wide range of personal money matters. We appreciate and respect the ability to communicate through e-mail and we strive to provide value back. Customers really “get it” and like that we are not just hitting them with offers.
And, we’ve seen amazing results. In one campaign, e-mail qualified and drove “hot” leads directly to our branch-based sales force. In this model, customers connected with their local branch where the relationship is held for an immediate and targeted follow-up. Our branches love e-mail because they are closing upwards of 50% of the leads we generate. So, our frontline has seen the importance and effectiveness of e-mail and so have our customers.
*One Degree: Phishing is hitting the entire e-mail marketing industry through decreased trust. It must be a huge concern for Scotiabank as financial institutions are the most common sites used by scammers. How has the rise of phishing changed the way you use e-mail?*
Fraud is always a concern. Phishing represents one of the latest ways for criminals to prey on unsuspecting consumers. The issue is not isolated to financial services, any company involved in e-commerce could to fall victim to this type of fraud.
Phishing has not changed the way we use e-mail. Our approach has been to educate our customers about identify theft, phishing and how to protect themselves online. Awareness of the tactics involved with phishing makes it much easier for our customers to identify fraudulent versus legitimate e-mails.
*One Degree: Do you use e-mail as an acquisition tool?*
Not yet, but it’s in our plans.
*One Degree: How do you see the rise of feeds as the preferred notification channel in the early adopter community impacting e-mail over time?*
Feeds will definitely have an impact, but I don’t believe they will kill e-mail altogether (sorry Seth). If your content is valuable then you cannot ignore offering your audience the choice of feeds along side e-mail. As I see it, it simply provides consumers with another layer of personal preference in terms of how they receive information. It is another distribution point, but it has a lot of potential. It will be interesting to see how it evolves.
*One Degree: The industry has rightly been focused on helping recipients get out from under a see of unwanted e-mail. But we seem to have done so at the expense of the core principle of the Internet that “delivering the packets” is the primary responsibility for network providers. Does the industry as a whole need to turn its attention to ensuring the deliverability of legitimate e-mail (marketing and otherwise)?*
Yes. We need to work toward a solution to ensure that legitimate email gets delivered to the intended recipient.
In some cases, important notifications and even personal email are being blocked at the ISP level. Canadian marketers are becoming more aware of the problem, but the U.S. market is much more advanced with services that help increase deliverability rates. I’d like to see more solutions for Canadian marketers that we can rely on as soon as possible.