March 6, 2014, 12:05 PM

Human error can mar e-mail marketing campaigns

The Experian report suggests that online marketers validate e-mails at the time of acquisition.

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Wondering why your e-mail marketing messages aren’t getting to online shoppers? Human error is likely one of the causes, according to a new report from Experian Data Quality.

The provider of data-cleansing software and services to retailers and other organizations says human error (59%) tops the list when companies are asked to cite the top reasons for e-mail data inaccuracy. Other leading causes include lack of internal communication between departments (31%), an inadequate data strategy (24%) and lack of relevant technology (22%). Companies could cite more than one reason.

The report, using data from Forrester Research Inc., says that U.S. companies sent 838 billion e-mail marketing messages in 2013. Experian says that 67% of companies had problems last year in delivering e-mails to consumers, and that 25% of companies “believe their data is inaccurate.” Poor data can lead to more marketing messages being sent to spam folders, the report says. The scope of the survey was not immediately clear.

“E-mail data quality and e-mail database management are key components of e-mail deliverability,” says Thomas Schutz, senior vice president, general manager, of Experian Data Quality. “Without high-quality information, marketers will be left unable to reach consumers and deliver valuable communications.”

Experian says that companies tend to collect e-mail addresses most often through their web sites (26%), call centers (19%) and consumers’ mobile devices via apps (13%). Other popular collection points include mobile web sites and inside physical stores.

Among the most common data-collection errors that harm e-mail marketing campaigns, according to Experian, are:

• Invalid user names, often due to typos.

• Syntax errors, which can mean the “@” symbol being located in the wrong place, and which are often the result of human error.

The Experian report suggests that online marketers validate e-mails at the time of acquisition—that is, make sure they are valid and can be delivered—and request permission from consumers before sending e-mails, which can reduce the amount of faulty e-mail data in marketing databases.

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