Loren McDonald

The 2012 presidential election is important to direct marketers for reasons that have nothing to do with who wins or loses. It has been shaped by the tools of direct marketers—and many that marketers are only just starting to explore. It's not just politics imitating marketing, but perhaps also a glimpse into direct marketing's future.

What was on the mind of Neil Berman when he wrote about "Our Love Affair With Apology Emails" for a November Email Insider post? Apparently, emailers are forgetting attachments, posting the wrong links, fudging numbers and statistics, sending to the "wrong Nancy," delaying their response, suffering "server" issues, and generally embarrassing themselves. The preferred solution appears to be sending a blushing follow-up that only serves to draw unwanted attention to the initial error.

I often call list growth "The Holy Grail" of e-mail marketing—it's one of the most desired, yet elusive, goals of any e-mail marketer. According to a recent study by Forrester Research, "finding new e-mail subscribers" (44 percent) and "retaining existing" ones (29 percent) rank among the top five challenges e-mail marketers say they'll face during the next two years, consistent with survey results from many years prior.

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