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You are here: Home » The Marketing Diary » Column: Direct-to-Desktop Marketing » The Truth About E-mail Marketing?

October 24, 2004

The Truth About E-mail Marketing?

Whenever someone posts an article with a title like this I get just a little suspicious. There are far too many people out here claiming to have "the Truth" ... "the One Truth".

But there really never is "one" truth ... and as always, it's in the eye of the beholder.

It's the same with the article titled "The Truth About E-mail Marketing", published in the latest DEMC e-zine issue.

While Abbie Drew, the editor, lists some very sensible advice for e-mail marketers, there are two paragraphs that are questionable from the viewpoint of "the truth":

"Thus despite the spam, permission based email favorability as a promotional medium is on the rise. Two recent surveys highlight this phenomena. The first study conducted by IPT asked 3,378 consumers their preferred marketing communication channel. The results showed TV at 39% and email only 7% behind at 32%. Email is clearly challenging TV as a dominant marketing medium.

The second study, DoubleClick's annual consumer email study, found that consumers would like email to replace other forms of marketing. 54% said they would like email to replace telemarketing. 45% said they would like it to replace in-person sales calls. 40% said it should replace direct postal mail promotions and 33% said it should replace retail offers and coupons."

Do these findings really say that e-mail is becoming increasingly effective or at least maintaining its power?

Let's take a look at the first statement: E-mail is challenging TV as a dominant marketing medium.

Yes, e-mail is getting increased "advertising popularity" from consumers, but does that really mean that it's working better?

We have to admit TV advertising is less obtrusive. With the number of channels available to us, we simply switch when it's commercial time. But when we do that, we don't see the ads. They don't bother us all that much because we've grown to ignore them ... the "switching away process" has become so natural to us that we don't even mind it any more.

And it's also quite easy to do that with e-mail --> if we even detect a commercial message with low relevancy we simply delete it without giving it a second thought.

Does that make e-mail an effective marketing channel?

And quite naturally, taking a look at the DoubleClick study, people want e-mail to replace some other direct marketing tools. Isn't it eaiser to delete some unwanted e-mail than to have to answer the phone and then hang-up?

In spite of the spam problem, it seems that people still have more power over their activities when using e-mail than with many other marketing tools ... more power to quickly and easily delete unwanted messages.

But does that translate in to e-mail being a more effective marketing channel?

To put more perspective in to this, take a look at an article published here quite some time ago, about what the American public feels about marketing.

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