Does Database Marketing Work With Email?
In the direct mail days, companies typically sent one maybe two letters a month to each customer. If you had four segments, for example, there was plenty of time for your staff to create and write copy for each of those segments. You had two weeks or more to do it.
With email, marketers quickly learned that frequent emails are very profitable. Going from contacting customers once a month to once a week saw revenues shoot up. From once a week to twice a week, revenue still rises. From twice a week to once a day, still more revenue. Of course, by doing this you're risking losing your most valuable customers. Opt-outs subsequently rise with increased frequency of emails as consumers feel bombarded, but management seldom looks beyond that quarter’s sales. “Send more” is the mantra, so almost every email marketer obliges.
It's almost impossible to write different copy for every segment of your database if you're sending emails on a weekly or daily basis. Creative segment managers are hard to find — and expensive. Even more expensive is appending demographic data and building a database (rather than a mailing list) that's needed to support dynamic segmentation.
Arthur Middleton Hughes is vice president of the Database Marketing Institute. His new book from McGraw Hill, "Strategic Database Marketing, 4th edition" is due out this summer. Reach Arthur at Arthur.Hughes@dbmarketing.com.