A view from the in-box

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E-mail marketers, can we have a chat? I'm up late, trying to meet a deadline, and I'm distracted by the incessant ping ping ping of e-mails arriving in the in-box, one after another. Over the past seven days, I've received 782 e-mail messages – not counting more than 80 e-mails captured by my trusty spam filter. Marketing promotions of one sort or another make up the vast majority of this steady influx of e-mail and the volume is challenging both the storage capacity of my inbox and my patience.

Sure, I signed on to receive “offers from time to time,” but I didn't think you could possibly have this much to say to me nor did I understand you'd want to talk at me so frequently. You probably didn't figure on having to compete for my attention. But if you'd done your homework, you'd know I get a lot of e-mail every day.

As a former marketer turned journalist who covers the marketing industry, I'm sometimes amazed by the sheer volume of e-mail messages individual companies send out daily to consumers like me. But sometimes it seems few e-mail marketers make use of all the fantastic tools available today that enable them to create personalized communications, the kind that ultimately build loyalty, long-term value, and ongoing revenue.  

Today, the tools, knowledge, and customer insights that enable one-to-one communications are readily available. Marketers can do better than repetitiously pestering consumers with subject lines that read, “Ends Saturday! 25% OFF + Great gifts for Mom in store!” and “Sale ends soon.” Talk like that cheapens your brand and messaging because consumers hear that chatter all the time.

If you truly value customers and want to build a relationship that lasts, put some effort into creating a meaningful dialog. Understand the needs and desires of your customers on an individual basis. Get to know them and then craft communications that resonate. Be judicious in what and how much you send. Regardless of delivery method – on or off-line, nobody likes receiving junk mail.  

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