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Q&A: Marc Haseltine, National Geographic Marketing Services

Marc Haseltine, Manager of Email Marketing at National Geographic Marketing Services, discusses email integration with social media, mobile and direct mail, and how the digital channel will be around for years to come.

Direct Marketing News (DMN): How are you integrating email with social media?

Marc Haseltine (National Geographic Marketing): Social media allows us to really amplify our stories and photographs with the share-to-your-network buttons in our emails. It takes it a step above what we can do with a normal email, because it adds scale as far as spreading the word within people’s social networks. It also allows us to build our email list. We direct people to sign up for our email list on social media. It gives us another relevant acquisition method that didn’t exist before.

DMN: Does social media pose a threat to email?

Haseltine: One of the advantages that email has over social is the database. With email, you can recognize and respect the behaviors and interests of your subscribers, and continue to evolve the relationship with subscribers over time. Data is key to that.

DMN: How do you tie your email efforts in with direct mail?

Haseltine: We’ve done cross-channel campaigns with email and direct mail that have alerted people about special membership or magazine offers that are on the way. It definitely generates a spike in orders. It is one way to connect the online with the offline world.

DMN: How are you integrating email with mobile?

Haseltine: We are paying a lot of attention to the devices that different people are using when they visit our site. We have detection tools to know if someone is opening an email on, say, an iPhone or an Android phone. We use this to send email offers promoting our apps to people that we know are viewing our pages on mobile devices, as opposed to sending irrelevant messages to people not on those devices. That is an emerging initiative for us.

DMN: What new trends do you expect to see in email in the coming year?

Haseltine: We’ll see more cross-channel integration. We are now in the baby steps of it all. Campaigns that are more integrated with email and social and mobile will get more sophisticated. Also, the trend will move away from the ‘Deal of the Day,’ which seems to have taken over these days. A lot of companies have replicated Groupon and LivingSocial deals, but I think that may die out in the next year or so.

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