Community managers, I need your help.
We are currently in discussions with our Database Marketing (DM) group about communication preferences. I have been repeatedly told that our customers (mainly engineers and scientists) are confused and do not understand the difference between emails in their inbox coming from National Instruments direct marketing and our external community. Thus, we are trying to better coordinate when we push announcements and updates from our external community with the communication strategy we've defined for our marketable contact databases.
But I get the impression that our DM team still doesn't "get" community/social. I don't think they understand that mostly everything emailed from NI Community is determined by communication settings made by the customer (e.g. updates when documents/discussions are updated). The fundamental difference between emails that they get from NI Community and NI DM is that the customer CHOOSES how and when he/she will get emails. So for us (the community team) to submit/conform to communication messages and scheduling defined by the DM team seems counterintuitive to me. If anything, they should be coordinating around email activity from the community platform (e.g. if a customer has received 3 updates in 2 days that someone has commented on their document AND assuming our customers confuse these emails with what comes from our marketing house, we probably should not send a scheduled email featuring our latest marketing message in that same week).
I'm still not convinced that our customers are "confused" about the difference in the first place. But ultimately, I suppose we could do a better job of educating them about the difference.
So I suppose I'd really like to hear from you, community managers. What is your relationship like with your direct marketing teams? Have you had similar discussions? How integrated are you? Do you modify communication schedules based on community behaviors? I've heard Eloqua has a Jive App on the market. Does anyone use this tool and has it helped them link community behaviors with their marketable customer databases?
Have you had to educate your customers on the distinction between emails from your external community platform and your corporate marketing departments?
Any thoughts are appreciated, thanks!