ATLANTA, April 21, 2006 - Email is a double-edged sword for business-to-business marketers. The marketing channel is tremendously powerful and at the same time demandingly complicated, Elaine O'Gorman told attendees at DMA's Direct Marketing to Business (DMB) Conference held in Orlando, Fla. this week.
"It's easy to see why those new to email marketing, or their bosses, fail to recognize the complexity of email," said O'Gorman, who is vice president of strategy for Silverpop, a leading email service provider. "A common misconception is that if you just sent a note to your Mom, you know how to email. Oh, if it was only that easy."
She noted that commercial email is significantly different than interpersonal electronic communication in that messages generally hit Inbox providers in sufficient volumes to trigger a multitude of consequences. For example, email campaigns sent at volumes as low as 100 messages can trip filters at Inbox providers. Additionally, Inbox providers can have connection limits as low as 20 messages per hour, requiring email marketers to throttle sends on a per-IP basis.
"It doesn't take a lot of emails to get noticed by the big boys in the world of email providers," O'Gorman said. "At volumes as low as 1,000 messages a day, the terms of service of many Inbox providers classify you as a bulk emailer, and you must register as such or they will block your messages from reaching your customers."
Despite the complexities, email marketing has grown into a staple of most B-to-B marketing programs. Email is extraordinarily cost effective and offers highly personalized messaging options. It is easy to test and easy to measure, and is increasingly used to grow, augment and gain value from company databases.
O'Gorman said that B-to-B marketers who are maximizing the value of email in the marketing mix are looking at the channel in new ways. For example, they use email to pre-announce and reinforce other media channels just as has been done with print and broadcast advertising, when, for example, radio commercials end with a message to "see our ad in this Sunday's newspaper." Email campaigns are used to "re-direct eyeballs" to take advantage of distressed inventory situations and to extend reach into the marketplace through viral initiatives.
"Sophisticated marketers are implementing email campaigns that drive incremental action in the buying process, getting prospects to click, call or download information and move forward in the sales process," O'Gorman said. "Marketers now use email not only to stay in front of customers and maintain top-of-mind awareness, but also to up-sell, cross-sell and prevent drop-off of activity."
She said that increasing numbers of companies are now implementing the more advanced elements of email marketing such as dynamic content, behavioral targeting based on Web analytics, and the automation of triggered, lifecycle messaging. The growth and sophistication of campaigns are making email the backbone of successful B-to-B marketing programs.
Silverpop is a leading provider of permission-based email marketing solutions, strategy and services, with offices throughout the United States and in the United Kingdom. For the second year in a row, in 2005 JupiterResearch ranked Silverpop as the email service provider with the highest overall value for emailers with lists of over 150,000 recipients. Best practices and white papers are available at www.silverpop.com.