To Send More E-mail or Not to Send More E-mail — Return Path Event Panel Debates
Many e-mail marketers are in the midst of changing their mail campaign plans for the upcoming holiday season in light of the tanking economy. This and other developments were discussed during a panel discussion at Thursday's IN: The Email Reputation Conference in New York City, presented by e-mail deliverability services provider Return Path.
The conference focused on best practices for e-mail reputation, deliverability and ROI.
During the discussion, Herschel Thompson, director of interactive marketing at Bensalem, Pa.-based multichannel apparel retailer Charming Shoppes, said the solution to this holiday season's steep challenges is to use more e-mail.
But more e-mail was not the answer for fellow panelist Jenny Ahuja, panel operations manager at comScore, a Reston, Va.-based market research firm that provides clients with the ability to conduct survey research studies using comScore panelists. "More e-mails is not the answer for us," Ahuja said. "We are actually eliminating some of our program update e-mails and any messages that don't have to do with a survey that would result in a client sale."
In addition, comScore maintains the same level of frequency. "We are just becoming more selective in terms of what needs to go out," Ahuja said, noting the company's survey business picks up when there are changes in the marketplace, including during the holiday season.
For financial services provider Fidelity Investments, the challenge this year is to find the right balance between promotional e-mail messages and messages that discuss the current turmoil facing the financial services industry — and what it means to customers.
"The turmoil e-mails are getting 50 percent open rates," said David Maher, Fidelity's vice president of fulfillment and technology management, who's responsible for developing and managing print and electronic fulfillment channels for several of the Boston-based firm's operating companies.
More e-mail is also not the answer for Michael Cleary, another panelist who oversees Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble's global e-mail marketing service, focusing on service operations, deliverability, reputation and functionality.
"It all comes down to watching our marketing dollars," Cleary said. "The key for us is more relevance. Luckily for us, though, we don't have ramp-up during the holiday season like some other companies."
Cleary also offered attendees four best practice tips for successful e-mail marketing, reputation and relevancy.
- Invest in a relationship with your customers up front through e-mail communication.
- Use real-time welcome messages that link to something, such as a landing page.
- Get personal with images and offers in your welcome messages.
- Have processes and procedures in place to control and manage the e-mail marketing channel.