After three months' work, we previewed key findings from the first phase of our retail email marketing study last week at the Direct Marketing Association's Annual Catalog Conference in Orlando.
The study, which focuses on retail marketer registration procedures, and marketing and opt-out practices, yielded some big surprises. It also sparked quite a bit of discussion and caught the interest of the press.
We learned, for instance, that only 68 percent of the more than 250 retailers we studied even have email programs (wow!). And, except for the biggest retailers, very few offer preferences, or use any type of personalization in their email. In addition, the confirmation process was either absent or woefully lacking at the vast majority of sites we visited.
The good news is, every retailer we looked at had in place a solid permission process and overall good compliance with CAN-SPAM.
While we did encounter many great examples of best practices, most retailers are still at a stage I refer to in my book as email marketing level one. But this isn't necessarily bad news; it signifies great opportunities for growth. For retailers with so much upside yet to achieve (levels two and three), email holds tremendous untapped promise.
We'll be releasing the first phase of the study in June. If you'd like a copy, please email me at http://www.quietrevolutioninemail.com/contact.sp, and I'll send it along when it's published. (And no, I won't add, rent or sell your email address to any brokers <grin>.)