December 5, 2002, 12:00 AM

E-mail marketers need to ask: What’s the frequency?

Consumers have become more resistant to e-mail marketing, as the volume of messages has gone up. One way to break through that resistance is to control the frequency of messages and to ask consumers what they want, analysts say.

 

Consumers have become more resistant to e-mail marketing, as the volume of messages has gone up. One way to break through that resistance is to control the frequency of messages and to ask consumers what they want, analysts say.

“People aren’t going to open e-mail that comes from a source that blasts them with messages, no matter how relevant the offer,” says John Rizzi, president and CEO of e-Dialog, a Lexington, Mass.-based e-mail marketing firm. “You want to send relevant messages at a frequency which the customer wants to hear from you.”

Determining that frequency is simple, he says: Just ask customers how often they want to receive e-mail and be sure to ask again down the road in case preferences change. “We ask customers for their preferences all the time,” Rizzi says. “The hard part is segmenting your list to manage the splits in frequency requested by the individual. It requires a real commitment.”

Says Adam Sarner, a CRM analyst, for Stamford, Conn.-based researchers Gartner Group Inc. “If retailers are more willing to make a mistake than to control frequency and content, they will never rise above the noise.”

 

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