Blog

An example of showing respect in data card video

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Last week, I posted a tutorial on what to include in your data card video. In that tutorial, I recommended

"Your list owners and everyone else will appreciate it when you treat the people on the list with great respect. You should honor them – don’t treat them like data."

Here's a good example from RMI where they honor the Car and Driver subscribers.

See the full data card here: http://lists.nextmark.com/market?page=order/online/datacard&id=198033

Don’t drive with your eyes shut

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Do you drive your car with your eyes shut? Of course not!  That would surely end in a disaster.

But when advertising their mailing lists, many list managers effectively drive with their eyes shut.  They spend a lot of money with the hopes of getting their advertisement in front of the decision-makers.  But they don’t follow the results of those programs to see if they work.  There’s no feedback.  It’s like planning your route then stepping on the gas with your eyes shut hoping you will reach your destination.

That’s crazy, isn’t it?  But that’s the way it’s always been so everyone is accustomed to it.

There is a better way! NextMark has just introduced an eye-opening new tool that gives you real-time feedback on the performance of your list advertising program:

List Advertising Results

You now get a real-time snapshot of your advertising performance displayed in an easy-to-understand graphical format. The report displays daily impressions, clicks, click-through rates, cost-per-click (CPC), and cost per thousand impressions (CPMI). It reveals trends through a superimposed trend line that highlights changes over time. NextMark’s is the only list advertising solution that provides you with up-to-the-minute results.

Now you can finally drive your advertising results with your eyes wide open.  Learn more.

NextMark & mIn Coming Together For You

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Have you ever heard the expression "breaking up is hard to do"?  Coming together can be even harder — especially in business. In fact, studies have shown that 80% of all mergers fail. 

It takes a shared vision, synergy, co-operation, and diligence for a merger to succeed.

I’m pleased to report that in only a couple of months NextMark and mIn List Industry Solutions have made good progress with the integration of our policies, products and services. Our goal from the beginning has been to provide all of our customers with "the best DATA, the best TECHNOLOGY, and the best SERVICE for the best VALUE!"

Minnextmarkcombohome

Anyone who has gone through a merger knows that there is a seemingly endless progression of internal issues and details to work out regarding payroll, insurance, benefits, office space, accounting, banking, and most of all – culture. We’ve been hammering away at these and they seem to be dwindling.

That’s good news for you, because our focus is and will be on continuing to increase the value of the products and services we offer. We are constantly reminding ourselves to keep focused on YOUR needs, and here’s one result of that effort.

I am also happy to report that you can now access the mIn data through the NextMark interface to be equipped with the most comprehensive list research database in the world!

You’ll have access to fresh lists, modeling programs, insert media programs, and master databases that deliver stellar results – there’s nothing else like it. And that’s not all – we are working on the integration of mailer usage data, and other list marketing & lead generation programs.

Now that we are bringing the "best of the best" together and building more on top of that, you will have the most powerful solutions to reach your market!

Coming together is a new beginning for mIn List Industry Solutions and for NextMark – and we look forward to serving you for many years to come!

No time to learn about the system? Check this out….

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

As part of our program to improve customer service we have created an online video training offering.

Dubbed NextMark Video Tutorials or "NVT’s" these videos are geared to help users learn moreClipboard01 about the system at their own pace.  In the past we have offered bulk trainings with mixed success due to the varied skill sets and levels of experience of the attendees.  These video tutorials provide each user a self-service training capability.  Users can scroll forward and backward through the tutorials, skip uneccesary sections or even pause the tutorial and come back to it later when it is more convenient for them.

So far we have produced 5 video tutorials(well 6 if you included the tutorial on the tutorials)  ranging from searching for lists to managing your leads generated by public data card sites.  Please take a look, we hope you find them helpful.

In the coming months we will be rolling out more of these tutorials for different parts of the system so stay tuned!

We are always looking for ways to improve our service to our customers and would love to hear from you.  If you have a login, simply click on the "Help" link in the top right corner of the screen.  If you don’t have a login, feel free to send an email to us at support@nextmark.com.

Curmudgeon of data cards?

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

NextMark Top 50 Data Card QualityWe recently announced NextMark Reveals Top 50 List Managers, which describes a new Data Card Quality Report that we just started publishing.  In the February 22, 2008 edition of Direct ListLine, it was reported:

"NextMark Inc. has appointed itself as curmudgeon to take list management companies to task for poorly written data cards.

"Nextmark has released a report ranking the top 50 list management companies based on its analysis of quality of their data cards. It plans to release more quarterly reports to monitor signs of improvement, with its next report due out in April."

Curmudgeon?  According to the Wiktionary, a curmudgeon is "an ill-tempered (and frequently old) person full of stubborn ideas or opinions."  I am not sure that I like that descriptor.

However, I will admit we are certainly stubborn and opinionated about one thing: data card quality.  Without good data cards, you can’t make good mailing list purchasing decisions.  Without good mailing lists, your direct marketing campaigns will fail.  When your programs fail, you miss your revenue goals and waste time and money. So, yes, it’s our stubborn opinion that data cards should be top quality.

The purpose of the Data Card Quality Report is to identify and reward those list managers who are doing a great job for their clients — mailers, list brokers, and list owners.  They get to show a NextMark "seal of approval" (see graphic above) on their website and in marketing promotions.  It’s a nice reward for those putting in a solid effort.

For those not on the Top 50 List who want to be… you get all the tools and resources you need through our free data card publishing tool.  Yes, the tools are completely free (this report is not a roundabout way of selling products).  If you are not already using it, sign up today and get started with your "data card makeover."

We’ll be publishing quarterly updates to the Data Card Quality Report.  In future updates, we’ll indicate "most improved" companies.  So, now is your opportunity to both break into the top 50 and be the most improved.

The bottom line goal of this report and other initiatives is to improve data card quality. I hope you agree that’s a worthwhile pursuit!

NextMark v6.7 released – electronic exchange of mailing list orders

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Whew! We’ve been as busy as little elves here at NextMark.  On December 20th (last week), we successfully launched version 6.7 of our direct marketing software platform.  The highlight of this release was the completion of software to enable the electronic exchange of mailing list orders through the DMAX specification.  News of this innovation was covered by DM News and BtoB Magazine.

Dmax200x200_2What’s DMAX? It’s short for "Direct Marketing Exchange" and is a set of standards for exchanging electronic documents as part of the direct marketing process.  The DMAX protocol is expressed through a Web Service Description Language (WSDL) that specifies the structure of electronic documents in Extensible Markup Language (XML) that are transmitted from one party to another via Web Services protocols.

Yes, very technical.  But the good news is you won’t have to get involved with any of the technical stuff.  If done right, it’s as easy as using email.  In fact, email is built on a bunch of technical standards like SMTP and POP3, but you don’t have to know about any of that to use email.  DMAX works similarly to email in that way.

Version 6.7 is also notable because it completes a year long project for infoUSA.  In this project, we made 210 software improvements to support the needs of the various business units within infoUSA: Walter Karl, Edith Roman, Millard Group, and others.  This is the biggest project we’ve ever done for any single client and I am happy to report it was delivered on time and under budget.  This would not have been possible without a lot of cooperation.  And that would not have been possible without the superb project management by Dan German and Sue Harrison at infoUSA and John Swindell here at NextMark.  Great work!

All of these changes were implemented in 7 software releases over the last 13 months, with version 6.7 culminating that effort.  That said, this is more of a beginning than an end.  In 2008, we’ll be forging ahead with our initiative to connect the data cards to the data and using our infrastructure to connect other marketing services.

2008 is going to be an exciting year!

NextMark server upgrade completed successfully

Monday, November 19th, 2007

Recently, our customers have been experiencing periodic latency problems during peak times during the day (late morning and early afternoon).  The system would be chugging along just fine and then it would "go out to lunch" for 15-20 seconds.  The system would eventually come back and process the request, but that lag is frustrating  when you are trying to get an answer for a client or just trying to get the job done.  This was happening a couple of times every day.

We’ve been monitoring this problem for a while and pinpointed the source as a constraint in the amount of physical memory on the web servers, which were maxed out at 8 GB.  What would happen (for you geeks out there) is the system would cache frequently accessed items in memory to avoid having to go to the database every time.  Over time, the size of this cache builds up.  Eventually, those items in the cache that are not accessed get evicted from the cache.  Those evicted items and other disposable items are marked as deleted.  However, they still remain in memory until the garbage collector comes along to reclaim the memory.  The garbage collector runs frequently throughout the day and users rarely would notice it.  However, when physical memory available becomes very low, the garbage collector throw up a red flag and takes over with a "full GC" which takes some time to complete.  Meanwhile, the users are locked out from getting any work done.

So, the solution is to either (1) use less memory or (2) to add more memory.  We are doing both.  Option #2 is more expensive but is quicker to implement.

Bigbox2_3So, last week, we upgraded our key web servers to a new box (HP DL380 G5) that allows up to 32 GB and filled it up with 14 GB of RAM.  The 14 GB should provide plenty of headroom for the foreseeable future and we always have the option to upgrade to 32 if we need to.  Early tests show this has virtually eliminated that latency problem because the system can be much more efficient with memory management.

As an added bonus, these machines are far more powerful than their predecessors.  It has twice the number of core processors, faster throughput, faster disk access.  Although sheer processing power was not a problem before (we were running at low CPU utilization), we have seen some nice performance improvements on computationally heavy tasks.

As a result of these upgrades, current users will notice a quicker system with no periodic lags and we have plenty of room to grow.