October 11, 2007, 12:00 AM

Despite current glut, European marketers will turn up e-mail volume

European consumers receive an average of 250 e-mails per week, two-thirds of which are marketing e-mails, newsletters and spam. Yet marketers will double their use of e-mail over the next five years, says a Forrester Research report.

European consumers receive an average of 250 e-mails per week, two-thirds of which are marketing e-mails, newsletters and spam. Yet marketers will double their use of e-mail over the next five years as the market’s value increases from €1.5 billion ($2.1 billion US) in 2007 to €2.3 billion ($3.3 billion US), says a Forrester Research Inc report.

Many European recipients delete marketing e-mails out of hand: more than half of United Kingdom consumers who are regularly online delete most promotional e-mails without reading them, the report says, and only 11% sometimes forward promotional e-mails to friends. More than one-third of online Europeans-38%-have spam filters on their home PCs. That figure varies widely by country, from 53% of UK online consumers to just 12% of online Italians, even though all European consumers say they receive similar amounts of spam.

But there’s hope for marketers: almost one-third of European consumers think e-mail is an important way to learn about new products or promotions, the report says. And marketers plan to continue the barrage.

By 2012, marketers in Germany, the UK and France-which account for more than half of all households in Europe with broadband-will spend €1.4 billion ($2 billion US) on e-mail. Spain, Italy and the Netherlands have more than 25% of broadband households and form the next tier. They are projected to spend almost €500 million ($712 million US) on e-mail marketing by 2012. The rest of Europe will contribute €367 million ($522 million US).

Titled “European Email Marketing Spend Hits €2.3 Billion In 2012,” the Forrester report was published in August. The report was drawn from Forrester surveys in the second quarters of 2006 and 2007 that gathered more than 20,000 responses. Forrester also quizzed 24 major European marketing companies about their plans for e-mail.

Three-fourths of those marketers said they planned to increase their use of the e-mail medium citing its effectiveness at targeting consumers, its low cost compared to print advertising and the fact that it’s the latest trend, the report says.

Plowing through the crush of marketing e-mails is the key challenge for marketers through 2012 and they plan to use more sophisticated targeting, messaging and analytics to engage the consumer, Forrester says.

Successfully reaching Europe’s consumers means marketers must invest in analytics-and people who understand them, Forrester says. “Sophisticated marketers will combine preference-based segmentation models with real-time user behavior, such as click-throughs, post-click activities and campaign-based ROI, to continually improve their messaging,” the report says.

Subscribers also need flexibility and control. “Advertisers should allow e-mail subscribers to determine their preferences for e-mail format, frequency and subject; in addition, they shouldn’t place any obstacles to users changing these preferences,” Forrester suggests.

Finally, marketers should design to inspire trust. “To build trust: ensure that messages have a recognizable company name in the “from” field; incorporate clear footers with unsubscribe options; and include direct links to privacy and security policies,” the report says.

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