When tw telecom hired Proven Systems to produce its monthly email newsletter, the company wanted to create a marketing tool that would provide a monthly touch point for its clients and potential customers. What the communications team didn’t realize is that the marketing tool would blossom over the years to become a central, core element of tw telecom‘s marketing efforts.
During a recent interview, Lisa Nasseth, tw telecom‘s senior manager, and Bob Meldrum, tw telecom‘s vice president of Corporate Communications, shared the story of the evolution of the company’s eNewsletter, News & Views, and their experiences working with Proven Systems.
The evolution of a marketing tool
In 2004, tw telecom hired Proven Systems with the goal of establishing a monthly touch point, a way to share information about the company and its products with customers and prospects. At that time, the secondary objective for the eNewsletter — which has since shifted to the primary objective — was to develop a strong thought-leadership component, sharing industry trends as well as general industry information.
As the eNewsletter became a more established component of the organization’s marketing efforts, tw telecom explored many uses for it, including using it to support the company’s re-branding efforts in 2008. As the company focused more on customer experience, they used the newsletter as a tool to collect and respond to customer feedback — a springboard for the company’s now-established customer satisfaction survey and customer experience program.
“Over the seven years we’ve been producing the eNewsletter, we have really seen it evolve,” said Meldrum. “It began as an educational tool, expanded to incorporate thought leadership, acted as a vehicle to share information about our re-branding efforts, helped us gain feedback from customers and ultimately has been a springboard for many of our marketing efforts and programs.”
“Since its inception, the newsletter has been a constant in our marketing efforts,” adds Nasseth. “News & Views is truly a core marketing piece for tw telecom, an anchoring foundation for our communications efforts.”
Focusing on “information communication”
Today, News & Views focuses on thought leadership, providing readers with industry information, trends, business and management tips. “We don’t use the eNewsletter as a primary sales tool, but rather an information-communication tool,” said Meldrum. “We also highlight how tw telecom is positioned within the industry and share client wins and product updates.”
A few years ago, News & Views supported the launch of MyPortal, tw telecom‘s online self-service account management tool. Features of MyPortal were highlighted in an ongoing series in the eNewsletter in an effort to educate customers on the various features of MyPortal and ultimately drive enrollment.
“The eNewsletter’s support of the MyPortal launch was invaluable,” notes Meldrum. “It enabled us to communicate with customers about MyPortal, get them familiar with the benefits of the tool and drive them to the site.”
“When MyPortal first launched we didn’t have a very high adoption rate,” adds Nasseth. “Customers simply didn’t know what it was or what a valuable tool it really could be for them. The eNewsletter was very instrumental in encouraging customers to use it.”
An overwhelming positive response
News & Views is highly praised and anticipated each month by both internal sales staff and customers and prospects.
“Every time I send out the eNewsletter I get comments from our sales field like ‘Oh my gosh this is terrific, how do I get my customers on the distribution list’ and ‘My customers love this!'” notes Nasseth. “We also get a lot of feedback from customers and prospects praising the content of the eNewsletter and noting how useful it is to them. We see very few opt-outs. Since our very first eNewsletter send, we have managed to organically grow our distribution list from 20,000 to more than 50,000!”
The benefits of an outsourced provider
Because the eNewsletter is such a core communications tool for tw telecom, it is vital that it is efficiently managed and produced on time, every month — a task tw telecom found best accomplished by trusting an outsourced provider.
“From a corporate communications standpoint, we multi-task on a million things a day,” said Nasseth. “With that said, we don’t have the time internally to tactically create an eNewsletter. The Proven Systems’ team manages everything from start to finish for us. Their writing is superb, their ability to manage our list is key, and we gain peace of mind knowing that the CAN-SPAM Act and all industry regulations are complied with.”
“I think it’s just incredible,” concludes Nasseth. “For what we get, it’s so valuable. Our eNewsletter offers a lot of information and value — it’s extremely cost-efficient for us. We really see a lot of overall support in the services we get from Proven Systems and, in the end result.”