DM News' Essential Guide to E-Mail Marketing: Kodak E-Mail Influences Online, Offline Behavior

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Eastman Kodak is the world's largest manufacturer of photographic film and a leading maker of digital imaging media and film, paper and processing. But despite it being a world-renowned brand, few might associate Kodak with direct marketing or customer relationship management.


Still, since late 2000, the digital unit of Kodak's consumer photography division has communicated by e-mail with a large and growing database of digital camera owners and other registrants.


This program, developed and managed by Kodak staff, is called "Quick Takes," and it has two main audiences. One group is new digital camera owners who register their cameras with Kodak. These customers are sent a series of messages during the first few months to help them get the most out of their new cameras.


The other group is consumers who simply registered at www.kodak.com, many of whom are interested in becoming a digital camera owner for the first time. After taking precautions to exclude opt outs, Kodak sends these consumers a series of e-newsletters once or twice a month, providing photo-taking and sharing tips, information on new products and special offers available at Kodak's online store or through retail partners.


From the outset, Kodak has evaluated this program by tracking the behavior of customers online. Of course, another key aspect is whether the program influences behavior offline. To ascertain this, Kodak turned to iKnowtion, which analyzed the program's effect on online activity, customer satisfaction, brand perception and, for the first time, offline purchasing.


As a start, data were examined on e-mail readership, click-throughs and online purchases. This information was supplemented by online surveys sent to separate samples of customers. The surveys asked customers to report on their e-mail readership, their impressions of the e-mails and Web site, and their resulting online and offline purchases.


We found positive correlations between e-mail readership and brand loyalty, customer satisfaction and both online and offline purchasing. Importantly, Kodak learned that more than half of its e-mail readers were influenced to buy additional Kodak products either online or offline. Some key findings:


· Kodak's e-mail program produced $8 in offline spending for every $1 spent at the online store.


· 70 percent of Kodak customers found the e-mails either highly or somewhat valuable. Customers cited specific aspects and features of the e-mails that they valued most, underscoring the importance of ongoing customer communications and relationship building.


· 65 percent of customers reported being driven to retail stores or other non-Kodak channels as a result of the e-mails. These customers used the Kodak site to research products and compare features before buying. They also reported spending more on Kodak products as a result of the e-mails.


· Among Kodak's online buyers, 50 percent also purchased offline and typically spent up to three times more than they would online.


· 50 percent to 70 percent of customers felt more loyal to the Kodak brand, and half reported switching purchases to the Kodak brand as a result of the e-mails. Seventy-five percent indicated they were more likely to recommend Kodak to a friend.


Through our analysis and research, Kodak recognized that its e-mail program was responsible for a sizable share of division revenue. Now that Kodak is a leading provider of digital cameras, this program is likely to be that much more important to the company.


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