E-Mail Works for Direct Marketing

E-mail can drive purchases in other channels — including offline stores — according to research funded by Web ad technology player DoubleClick. The study, conducted by Beyond Interactive and Greenfield Online for DoubleClick, surveyed 1,000 consumers and found that 68 percent of the respondents said they have made purchases online after receiving e-mail. More surprising, however, is the finding that 59 percent of those polled said they had received e-mail marketing and then made purchases in retail stores. Additionally, 39 percent said they bought something through a catalog after e-mail marketing, 34 percent through call centers, and 20 percent through postal mail. According to the study, 78 percent of online shoppers have made a purchase after clicking on an e-mail. About 33 percent said they clicked an e-mail and made an immediate purchase, while 35 percent said they clicked through and made a later online buy. Another 9 percent said they clicked through and purchased later offline. The upshot is that e-mail has an impact on consumers who receive an e-mail and don’t click, according to the findings. However, few multi-channel marketers take advantage of tools to track post-delivery or post-click conversions, or to reconcile offline purchasing activity with online marketing efforts. The DoubleClick study also found that the majority — 60 percent — of consumers open e-mails based on the “from” field. Already, the industry recognizes that the sender has an important impact on consumers’ willingness to open e-mails — hence the number of marketers and vendors who employ “forward to a friend” buttons for their campaigns. But such mechanisms might become far more commonplace, as DoubleClick found a growing number of impediments to typical e-mail marketing efforts. Respondents said they receive 60 percent more e-mail per year than they did in 2001 — 254 e-mails in their in-box weekly, on average. About half of the respondents also said they have their e-mail sorted into a “bulk” or separate e-mail folder, into which they rarely look. Three-quarters of the respondents who use a bulk folder rarely or never read mails directed to the folder. “When executed effectively, and with respect for consumer preferences, e-mail has a dramatic impact on purchasing behavior, not only online but also in stores, catalogs and through call centers,” said Court Cunningham, senior vice president at New York-based DoubleClick. “The results highlight the importance of measuring the impact of marketing activities over time and across multiple channels.” (segue)

By Christopher Saunders

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