April 30, 2007, 12:00 AM

Internet Retailer survey: A missed message

(Page 2 of 2)

“E-mail is one of our bread-and-butter marketing tools, but we need to do a better job analyzing the messages we are sending out and the responses. We continue to escalate our search for answers,” DeCaprio says. “When it comes to e-mail marketing, we were constantly looking at ways to minimize list fatigue.”

To help them do a better job of e-mail marketing, 63.3% of survey respondents use a third-party service provider vs. 36.7% that do the job in-house. Most retailers also aren’t cross referencing their e-mail lists against lists compiled from outside agencies. The survey finds that only 29.8% of merchants cross match their e-mail list with other internal lists or lists supplied by an outside third party.

Campaign trail
The majority of retailers in the survey-60%-conduct between one and three campaigns each month, followed by 32.8% that coordinate four to 15 campaigns and 7.2% that conduct more than 15.

In spite of the areas where they could see improvement, merchants rate their present e-mail tactics as effective. For example, 16.2% and 33.4% of merchants maintain that e-mail marketing performs much better or better, respectively, than other forms of marketing, including paid search, search engine optimization, direct mail and affiliate marketing. 15.9% say e-mail produces the same results while 18.3% maintain that e-mail marketing performs much worse or worse than other forms of marketing and 16.2% that don’t know.

When retailers began using e-mail marketing many merchants saw e-mail as a lower cost way to build sales and customer awareness. Today e-mail generates 1% to 2.5% of sales for 18.7% of all retailers in the survey and between 2.51% to 15% of revenue for 37.4%. But 20.4% of chain retailers, catalogers, virtual merchants and consumer brand manufacturers also cite e-mail as generating more than 15.1% of their total revenue, including 11.1% that count on e-mail messages and campaigns to drive more than 25% of total sales.

“E-mail will continue to grow as a marketing vehicle, particularly as direct marketers look at even higher postage rates,” says Ayan. “But a bigger program won’t necessarily deliver better results if a retailer just takes a one-size-fits-all approach. If only 60% of a campaign is being delivered, the other 40% is a huge missed opportunity.”


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