E-Mail Append Eyed Amid Anthrax Scare

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The anthrax scare has some direct marketers considering an increase in e-mail append activities, according to Al DiGuido, CEO of Bigfoot Interactive, New York.

"More and more direct marketers are looking at e-mail as a cost-effective means of marketing," he said. "They are looking at getting databases appended with e-mail addresses. This has brought a greater spotlight onto something that already had been in the spotlight."

DiGuido said that while the attacks of Sept. 11 forced many DMers to consider alternative campaign strategies, the weakening economy and rising paper and mailing costs are forcing them to consider cheaper delivery methods, such as e-mail.

"The newer companies will look at their databases and wonder how they can get more out of them," he said. "This will help the e-mail append business to grow."

Though there is no evidence that companies are abandoning traditional DM for e-mail, it's at least being considered for a more prominent role in their campaigns, some e-mail marketers said.

"Direct mail won't go away as a result of this," DiGuido said. "But the more negative attention that's placed on direct mail because of this, the more direct marketers will consider alternative approaches."

Jay Schwedelson, corporate vice president of Worldata/WebConnect, Boca Raton, FL, said some of his company's clients are looking for alternative ways to release upcoming campaigns.

"We have seen mailers discuss various ideas about how they may alter upcoming mailings," he said. "Our clients are contemplating utilizing postcard mailings that require no envelope, and certainly e-mail has become a very strong alternative that marketers keep in mind."

Dave Hendricks, senior vice president of sales for CheetahMail, New York, said the anthrax scare may push catalogers to move to e-mail more quickly.

"Catalogers may hasten their transition to e-mail as they begin to perceive e-mail as providing a 'safer' way to communicate with their customers," he said.

Hendricks also noted that retail traffic at malls has fallen, at a time traffic is traditionally heavy.

"We see that the most impact is in the replacement of shopping mall traffic with e-mail appeals to holiday shoppers," he said. "This could intensify this fall if there are more chain e-mails, anonymous letter attacks, etc. Typically, this is the biggest quarter for companies in our business, anyway."


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