March 21, 2003, 12:00 AM

Retailers are cutting back on frequency of e-mail marketing

In The E-Tailing Group’s recent survey of 200 major retailers, 34% said they are e-mailing marketing messages twice a month; 27% said weekly; 17%, monthly, and 5%, quarterly.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

As e-mail marketing contends with spam and over-saturation of messages, retailers are favoring twice-monthly as opposed to weekly e-mail campaigns, a study by consultants The E-Tailing Group Inc. reports. "You`ll see more retailers go to twice a month, where we might have seen them on a weekly schedule a year ago," E-Tailing president Lauren Freedman predicts.

In The E-Tailing Group’s recent survey of 200 major retailers, 34% said they are e-mailing marketing messages twice a month; 27% said weekly; 17%, monthly, and 5%, quarterly.

As retailers cut back on the frequency of e-mail marketing messages, they`re also sharpening the focus and increasing the range of content in messages, Freedman says. "We see more retailers focus on branding aspects of the marketing and more multi-purpose e-mail--more content on fewer messages," she says. She notes that Amazon.com Inc. and Toys R Us Inc. have recently sent e-mail messages with a combination of full-price and discounted offers.

She notes that some retailers, such as Crate & Barrel, are deploying particularly creative e-mail promotions that coordinate strong marketing messages--including attractive photos embedded in the e-mail message--with the content on their web sites. "You have to engage the customer," she says.

In other e-mail trends, Freedman says retailers will concentrate more on product newsletters to build relationships with customers--a strategy cited by 26% of survey respondents.

Despite the challenges facing e-mail marketing, e-mail is still considered the best channel for moving overstock merchandise. "E-mail is still the most cost-effective way to liquidate," Freedman says.

 

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