Plan for the Fourth Quarter (783 words)
Fourth quarter numbers can make or break most direct marketers. Indeed, performance in this last stretch may well determine the outcome of their year-end profitability.
Done properly, e-mail marketing can be a low-cost prospecting tool that can boost sales. E-mail lists have come a long way in a short period of time and now are of better quality, more plentiful and less expensive than a few years ago. Now is the time to test this medium so you can reap the economic reward during the fourth quarter, holiday-shopping season.
Too often, e-mail acquisition is done only on an as-needed basis, with little time to test, says Tony Priore, CEO, MarketsOnDemand, a Chicago-based provider of Internet-derived, permission-based, direct marketing data solutions. "Plan now so you can take advantage of that knowledge in quarter four," he advises.
For marketers interested in adding e-mail marketing to their acquisition efforts, "the summer months are the best time to get a toe in the water," says Priore. This gives you several months to test acquisition lists and creative. "By September you are in a good position to know what works," he reasons.
Previously dominated by dot-coms, e-mail marketing is now getting strong use by catalogers and financial services marketers for prospecting.
The benefits of prospecting via e-mail are many, including the ability to determine detailed analytics and conduct considerable testing—quickly and efficiently. "You can use e-mail for everything you would in postal mail acquisition," asserts Priore.
Many permission-based consumer and business-to-business (b-to-b) e-mail lists currently are available from a variety of sources, including traditional publishers and Web sites. And they offer plenty of attributes and selects.
"Typically, consumers sign up for a product, service or newsletter at a registration page and grant permission to receive third-party offers," explains Al DiGuido, CEO of Bigfoot Interactive, a New York-based e-mail communications solutions provider.