The Sea of Change in Web-based Marketing (749 words)
Today's hybrid lists can combine
a prospect's postal and e-mail address,
thus actualizing the commercial
potential of the Internet (749 words)
By Jeremy Barbera
The long-heralded potential of the Internet finally is being realized due to the most basic element of the direct marketing process: the mailing list.
Up until only a few months ago, e-marketing was relegated to astronomically high-CPM banner ads. That's because marketers suffered from a dearth of Web-user data, which made segmented targeting—and ROI-measurable direct marketing campaigns —virtually impossible.
This practical problem was compounded by a political one. Specifically, broad-based e-mail campaigns created the potential for a negative backlash by Web users. There were two reasons: Either prospects received solicitations that were annoyingly off-mark, or they had a philosophical problem with commercializing the Web.
Both groups let their feelings be known in no uncertain terms. Consequently, few marketers were willing to risk alienating customers and prospects, given the prevailing sentiments and targeting-related shortcomings.
Oh, how times have changed … and in relatively short order.
Numerous organizations now offer the next generation of mailing lists—hybrid lists that combine a prospect's postal address and e-mail address. Surprisingly, the simple process (conceptually, not logistically) of linking the two contact points on a single list is actualizing the commercial potential of the Internet.
With hybrid e-mail/postal address mailing lists, today's marketers are now benefiting in the following ways.
The ability to overlay data
The vast repositories of demographic, behavioral and lifestyle information resident in list owners' databases now can be overlaid onto lists containing e-mail addresses. This was extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, before the new-generation lists were introduced.
The hybrid lists offer qualified Internet users who've purchased products, ordered a subscription, entered a sweepstakes or contest, or opted-in for promotional information about specific products and services.