As one of its goals, this blog site explores trends in the direct marketing discipline. One such trend is the fast growing importance of the email media channel.
This phenomenon affects every industry, but at different speeds.
The growth of spam, unfortunately, has grown even more rapidly than email marketing. Spam has severely constrained the growth and effectiveness of the channel. In fact, email marketing has not delivered on its original promise as the low cost and most efficient acquisition channel for many marketers.
Opt in and double opt in as well as the growth of registration schemes reflect the industry’s effort to legitimize email marketing both as a an acquisition and retention tool.
Spammers will ultimately prompt more restrictive government regulation as a way to control the abuse. But it is unlikely that future regulations or even technology will control the spam curse.
In spite of these challenges, marketers have given email a significant role in their retention programs. Once a relationship is established, companies successfully build that relationship with ongoing email contact. No other medium offers better cost efficiencies, speed and personalization as the email medium for this specific application.
On the other hand, the low cost of entry into email marketing combined with the abuse of spam have increased the allure and pulling power of its older cousin --- direct mail.
In a November 1, 2007 FundRaising Magazine article entitled “What Does Your Board Need to Know About Direct Mail?” the writer, Willis Turner drew this conclusion.
“Even in this e-mail age, direct mail remains the foundation of a strong fundraising program. The surprising industry study shows Generation Y, the youngest generation of donors — those who theoretically are the most computer-savvy — actually is the fastest growing group of direct mail readers.
Direct mail is even the preferred choice of e-mail donors. A study by McPherson Associates showed that of people who first contributed online, 70 percent renewed. But of that 70 percent who renewed, 80 percent renewed by mail. And, according to an InfoTrends, Research Group study, nearly 70 percent of people prefer direct mail to e-mail or phone-based marketing.”
Traditional media continues to contribute significantly in the multichannel strategy. The wise marketer will remain media agnostic responding to the needs of his target audiences and drawing conclusions only after rigorous testing.