Michael Foster

New York City 112
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Joined September 2012

Hello, I'm a freelance writer based in NYC writing on media and finance. Email me at michaelryanfoster@me.com

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A summary of deliverability and why It matters

It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but “deliverability” is a crucial word for email marketers.  It’s also a very specific, technical word with a specific meaning. Mailchimp defines it as “a way to measure the success at which an email marketer gets a campaign into subscribers’ inboxes. It involves anything that touches email delivery, like ISPs, MTAs, throttling, bounces, bulking and spam issues. Senders affect their own deliverability, too – so if you create good content and maintain a clean list, your campaigns will be more likely to reach your subscribers.” In other words, it is a way of measuring just how likely an email is  to end up in your audience’s mailbox. Services like Mailchimp promise a high rate of deliverability, and Mailchimp in particular has been infamously successful at getting emails through, which is why many small marketers rely on it. But deliverability is muc...
By on Feb 09, 2016

Marriott's winning strategy to avoid the promotions/junk folder

When Gmail decided to create a new promotions folder and make it a default for all Gmail users, email marketers breathed a gasp of shock around the world. The greatest challenge in email marketing just got much harder: How do you get in front of your customers and ensure that they see your message so that they can act on it if they're interested? In the past, marketers have had best practices and careful rules that they've followed to ensure messages reach the right people in the right way. As both email and marketing technologies evolve, so too must the strategies marketers use. Additionally, marketers need to be aware of the fact that marketing over email is very different from marketing on social, display, television or any other medium.      This is the case for many different reasons. For one, email marketing is an opt-in channel. This means you are addressing people who have shown ...
By on Feb 03, 2016

Analyzing the gift-giving impulse: Nonprofits and analytics

Traditional economics teaches us that people act in their own rational self-interest to improve their “utility.” In any textbook, that’s a fuzzy term, but it often refers to one’s economic position. In many cases, people will act in a way that puts more dollars in their pocket, if given the choice.            But in some cases, they won’t. This is because human beings aren’t 100 percent rational and aren’t 100 percent driven by the desire to get rich. Theoretically, this means that the irrational impulse to not get richer cannot be predicted, studied, or analyzed by rational means; it’s too chaotic and random to be understood. At least, that’s how economists thought long ago. Modern behavioral economics disagrees and argues there are ways to analyze human behavior to understand why they do so-called “irrational” things that don’t improve their bottom line. Like, for instance, giving mone...
By on Jan 25, 2016

Phoenix Rescue Mission's 18% Year-on-Year Revenue Growth Story

Nonprofit marketing is a different animal. Instead of selling a product, you’re selling a feeling. You want to target an audience that has similar values as you do, and you want to convince them to express those values by giving up their hard-earned cash while getting nothing tangible in return. Except for the feeling and the knowledge that they are doing good in the world.    For this reason, nonprofit marketing has a lot in common with branding. It isn’t about making a direct sale by presenting a great financial proposition to customers (“Act now and get 30% off!” won’t exactly work here). It’s about making your audience feel the right feelings at the right time and then directing those emotions into actions that will do good for your cause, your organization and the world. If this sounds hard, that’s because it is. Many nonprofit marketers have experience in more conventional marketin...
By on Jan 19, 2016

Adding video content to your mix

Aggressive. That’s the word Business Insider uses to describe online video ads, which it also calls “one of the fastest-growing ad mediums” in a recent article. Beyond the curious word “mediums,” this statement is interesting because it is being made in 2015, three years after video ad viewing “exploded,” as BI puts it. We’re now watching 35 billion ads per month in the US alone, and total ad views are on pace to rise. With all this growth, more marketers are moving to video, including those who have never used video advertising before. This leads to several problems, many revolving around money. How exactly can you launch a video campaign for the first time, and how can you make sure costs don’t spiral out of control? Choosing a production company Some marketers try to record their videos in-house and quickly realize they need professionals to do it. Fortunately, this has become easier ...
By on Sep 29, 2015

Adjusting your content for earned versus owned space

We are living in an age of content, with text, images and video freely available anywhere on the Web. This is both a blessing and a curse; on the one hand, it is easier than ever to get access to information and entertainment; on the other hand, there is so much noise and so little signal it’s harder than ever to find exactly what you want.  Traditionally, marketers have had a solution for this problem all in three little letters: SEO. Search engine optimization was the old way to make sure your content would get to the top of Google’s ranks and in front of your target audience. While this could have turned into a race to the bottom with everyone using the same cheap tricks to get to the top, Google has been a kinder patron saint of the web. Google’s quality assurance engineers have worked tirelessly to make sure the cheap SEO tricks such as backlinking have limited value, and the real g...
By on Sep 24, 2015

Viewability in real-time buying: The good, the bad and the ugly

Digital advertising just keeps growing, and next year may be the year it eclipses all other channels in total spending. With more money coming its way, digital has become much more accountable, and more advertisers are looking for ways to track the efficacy of their digital spending. Fortunately, digital lends itself to trackability and verification, at least in theory. In reality, a lot of fraud and inefficiencies have been the bane of digital advertisers’ existence for years now, and more players are looking for ways to solve this problem. In real-time advertising, a key issue has been viewability. Varick Media and AppNexus execs recently touched on the issue via an open chat on Twitter. Some of the biggest takeaways became clear pretty quickly. Standardization is essential Varick’s Jim Caruso emphasized the need for standards across the industry, noting a consensus in the marketing wo...
By on Sep 18, 2015

Marketing to women: What it means and what it doesn't

It’s easy marketing products to women — just make a pink version. Women like pink, right? Such a ridiculous and offensive marketing attitude would never hit the executives of multibillion-dollar multinational firms, right? Wrong. In fact, making a pink product was a major trend in the late 2000s and early 2010s. For a while, the trend was limited to tech firms lacking female board members and any sense of what women really want, so the pink cellphones, MP3 players and tablets were somewhat tolerated in society. Then we had pens, cars and other quotidian products come in a pink version just for her. And people were understandably offended. Co. Create expressed the annoyance in simple terms and placed the blame squarely with the marketers. "And even marketers who aren’t creating a bespoke product for women seem to cling to some jaw-droppingly retrograde notions about women’s behavior vis-à...
By on Sep 08, 2015

What metrics does your boss care about?

All marketing is about driving sales, right? No, not exactly. The cynical urge to reduce all marketing efforts to driving the bottom line (or the top line, even) is misinformed and out of date. There are many instances in which marketers are focusing on a goal beyond simply driving sales. It could be brand awareness, for instance. Maybe a new company wants the world to know they exist and to like them for being warm, fuzzy and fun. That will indirectly drive sales in the future, yes, but that’s not really what the marketer is looking to do. Then there are the nonprofits who don’t really have sales at all. They aren’t looking to drive sales but maybe to drive attention to a cause or traffic to a certain website. And speaking of traffic, many apps in the mobile economy aren’t focused on sales at all. Uber, for instance, doesn’t use marketing to make people buy more Uber rides — they market...
By on Sep 02, 2015

Creative agility: Responding in real time

Have you heard of real-time marketing? The concept is simple — a creative resource responds to a customer or event immediately, as it is happening. RTM is all about being in the moment and taking advantage of the moment to promote a brand’s message. RTM has arguably been with us forever — it’s the traveling salesman pitching to potential customers in person or the carnival hawker of yore. But modern RTM mediated through technology really came of age with the famed Oreo tweet. The Twitter lesson I’m sure you’ve heard of it. In 2013, the power went out during the Super Bowl, and Oreo’s digital agency tweeted a picture of an Oreo cookie with the tagline “You can still dunk in the dark.” As 360i will remind anyone who listens, the tweet won several awards. To be honest, most people didn’t notice, but the advertising world certainly did. In fact, some believe that tweet was a major reason Twi...
By on Aug 27, 2015