Longtime drummer Travis McNabb left Better Than Ezra in February 2009 and their last performance together was Family Gras in Metairie, Louisiana .  The primary reason given for his departure was the demand on his time by country and bluegrass group, Sugarland , with whom McNabb had previously been touring for some time. The split was amicable, with bassist Tom Drummond saying, "It's bittersweet. He's fantastic. We're still good friends, and there are no hard feelings. We'll miss him. But this is an opportunity he needed to take." Announced at the same time was McNabb's replacement, New Orleans-based drummer Michael Jerome , formerly of the band Pleasure Club. In addition, Better Than Ezra announced the May 12, 2009 release date for their seventh studio album, entitled Paper Empire , which is produced by Warren Huart and singer Kevin Griffin. The first single, " Absolutely Still " was released for iTunes purchase on March 17.
Standing out certainly has become more difficult. While e-mail usage has declined, the volume of messages continues to rise: the number of marketing e-mails was forecast to reach a record 838 billion in the United States in 2013, according to Forrester. It’s no wonder relevancy should be a priority for every marketer. The best e-mails feel personal—and they are. Flash-sale site Gilt Groupe sends more than 3,000 variations of its daily e-mail, for example, each tailored based on past user click-throughs, browsing history, and purchase history. Of course, building true customization and targeting abilities is a transformative process that requires specific capabilities and supporting infrastructure. Customer information often lives in different parts of the organization and must be aggregated to create a single view of each consumer. A targeting engine must be built to guide the right message to the right person. And operations need to be ready for the change; creating and sending 3,000 e-mails a day is very different from sending one mass e-mail blast. Although it’s a lot of work, it drives real returns: one financial institution increased revenue from target segments by 20 percent by using life-cycle events to trigger personalized e-mails to existing customers; home-goods retailer Williams-Sonoma reported a tenfold improvement in response rates by adopting personalized e-mail offerings based on individuals’ on-site and catalog shopping behavior.