Technology

Lunchtime Links: Gmail's Latest Curveball for Email Marketers

By / Dec 13, 2013 (iStock/Thinkstock)

What the latest changes to Google’s popular email service could mean for association marketing campaigns. Plus: Who is guarding your organization’s financials?

To run a successful email-marketing campaign, your association has to track message open rates and dig deep into data to understand the needs and habits of its members. How a new modification to Google’s Gmail product could change the game—not necessarily for the better—and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links.

Shut it down: Have you ever received an email that said “to view images, click here?” Typically, when email users click the link in a message, images are pulled from a third-party server or provider that, in turn, receives personal information about the user. For years, this has been an important, if little understood, tactic for email marketers. But a recent Ars Technica article by Ron Amadeo says “Google has just announced a move that will shut most of these tactics down.” Rather than pull images from third-party servers, the company says messages sent to Gmail users will pull images from a separate cache maintained by Google. Now, rather than see a long string of information about each individual user, the third-party provider “will see a single request from Google.” Amadeo says the approach will make it harder for marketers to determine whether users have read or opened emails. These latest changes come just months after Google announced a string of other modifications to its Gmail program. Have you given any thought to what impact these changes might have on your email marketing campaigns?

Fiscal responsibility: There is a level of trust that is implied when a CEO takes the helm at an association or nonprofit. As a leader, your board, staff, and members entrust you and your executive team to protect the organization’s financial future. But, as association consultant Steve Drake asks in a recent post on his blog, “When was the last time you really looked at your association’s financial systems and safeguards?” His question comes on the heels of a Washington Post report that detailed a $5 million embezzlement scheme at the Association of American Medical Colleges. Drake references a post he wrote in May 2012 that includes five suggestions on how to protect your organization against embezzlement. Among his suggestions: Make sure there is a clear understanding and segregation of financial duties within your organization, and hold a yearly audit. What steps has your organization taken to protect itself from financial malfeasance?

The season for inspiration:Your organization relies heavily on its board members for advice and guidance. But keeping these leaders engaged, especially when many of them have other commitments and responsibilities, is sometimes tougher than you’d like it to be. Writing for the Engaging Volunteers blog, part of VolunteerMatch, Shari Ilsen notes the holidays are “a great opportunity to remind your board members why what you do is so special and exciting” and offers several ideas for keeping them engaged. Personally invite them to your holiday party, Ilsen suggests. Other ideas includes sending them a gift during the season to recognize their commitment and effort, asking them to volunteer, and updating them on the year-end status of the organization.

What steps do you take to keep your board members involved and active? Tell us in the comments.

Corey Murray

Corey Murray is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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