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Five Questions: Jeff Cloud of General Growth Properties

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by: Karen Marchione (@kmarchione)
04 January 2011

Beginning in 2011, we are starting a regular interview series that allows our readers to get to know some of our most successful Silverpop clients.  It is called “5 questions” and it is a  great way to get a quick overview of aspects of our clients’ email programs as well as some sage advice from the pros!

Today, we are getting to know Jeff Cloud, who is the Director of Customer Relationship & Mobile Marketing at General Growth Properties (GGP). GGP owns 160 shopping centers in 43 states, so chances are that you have been in a mall owned by GGP if you live in the United States.

[caption id="attachment_1008" align="alignright" width="136" caption="Jeff Cloud, Director of Customer Relationship & Mobile Marketing, General Growth Properties"]Jeff Cloud, Director of Customer Relationship & Mobile Marketing, General Growth Properties[/caption]

1) Jeff, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions today. Can you tell us a little bit more about your role at GGP and what your team does?

My role focuses on the database-driven programs we develop within the CRM department designed to acquire, engage, and grow customers through incentives and interaction.

On the consumer side, my team leverages email and mobile channels of an affinity marketing program, branded The Club, to drive traffic and sales to the thousands of retail and restaurant partners located within our network of 160 shopping centers nationwide.  In any given month our team receives hundreds of requests from corporate, field marketing, and tenants to distribute marketing messages to our database.  In an effort to hold true to our brand promise to deliver exclusive promotions, the best discounts, and mall event announcements, our team must review each request and determine the best way to deliver the right message, to the right audience, at the right time, and on the right platform.

Dovetailing off of the successes with our consumer efforts, our department will also be launching three exciting B2B initiatives in 2011.

2) How does your team make my shopping center experience even better through email/mobile? What can I expect if I join a shopping center-specific loyalty program?

With email, we are working to deliver only the most relevant content in an easy-to-read format no matter what platform you’re using to view it.  We're also providing immediate and tangible benefits from day one with an exclusive offer in our welcome email, and we're surprising members down the road with a special birthday present from their preferred shopping center.

[caption id="attachment_1011" align="alignleft" width="146" caption="The Club is General Growth Properties loyalty program "]GGP's affinity progtam [/caption]

Mobile has allowed us to add two very exciting enhancements for members of The Club.  First, our In-Mall Mobile Activation program installs promotional collateral in high traffic areas of the center asking shoppers to text a keyword to our shortcode for a special offer good for that day only.  For example, Stir Crazy worked with us at a Chicago area mall and offered shoppers a free appetizer with entree purchase when they sent STIR to a specific shortcode.

We also launched The Club's Mobile App this year and made it available for iPhone and Android-based phones.  We created this app to be fun and highly functional.  The app delivers a consistent experience a member would have with our email program by delivering the best discounts and mall event announcements.  We also added a store directory and detailed map of the mall with GPS capabilities to help customers navigate the mall and shop more efficiently.  On the fun side, we added The Club's Play-A-Day, which is a game users can play for a chance to win prizes every day.

3) You are very focused on mobile technologies in your role at GGP. How do you think mobile technologies will affect email marketing in the next several years?

Mobile will have a very positive affect on email, and maybe not even over the next several years but probably over just the next couple years.  Mobile will allow brands to seamlessly integrate into the hectic lifestyles of our customers, force us to think through every step of the consumer experience, and improve the overall relationship with our customers.  With Smartphone market share exceeding 50% in 2011, email will be accessed on mobile devices just as frequently as SMS.  The two, email and mobile, will continue to intertwine with email providing great pre- and post-sale messaging while SMS or APPs will provide superb in-store experience and opportunities for brands at the moment of truth.

4) Jeff,  you recently attended the Email Insider Summit in Park City, UT. Besides honing your skiing and/or snowboarding skills, how was the event?  Is there anything new learned that you could share with us?

The Email Insiders Summit was great!  While not improving my mad skiing skills, I was sharing thoughts with some of the best in the industry. There were several pages of notes from the event that I will reference as we look to continuously improve our email program in 2011, but there were two areas that are top-of-mind.  One, I want to incorporate an opt-down strategy which will proactively request members to set their preferences for things such as content categories and frequency.  Why wait until someone is hitting unsubscribe to ask if they would like to receive fewer messages or different content?

And the second item was what I heard during the ISP panel.  ISPs aren't solely looking at your IP reputation, but at the engagement levels you have with your list of subscribers.  With this piece of information, I want to make sure we are doing everything we can to improve engagement with our subscribers.

5) Last question for you…what are your top three favorite things about email marketing?

1.       The ability to dynamically customize and personalize a message for millions of unique consumers.

2.       The numbers don't lie.

3.       Your subscribers aren't afraid to tell you how they really feel (i.e., unsubscribe, spam button).


Thanks to Jeff for sharing details on GGP’s initiatives and plans for 2011. For those of you interested in keeping in touch with Jeff, you can follow him on Twitter: @jeffreycloud


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