E-Mail with other channels needs work

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E-mail marketing is the most popular form of online marketing today. Forrester Research reports that 83 percent of all marketers have implemented programs to date and estimates that another 10 percent will begin using the channel by the end of 2006.

But while e-mail use is growing, the integration of e-mail into multichannel campaigns is still a struggle for marketers and the service providers that support them.

Alterian recently gathered more 70 executives from leading marketing service providers to spotlight the challenges of integrating e-mail with other marketing efforts. Here is what they had to say.

First, the good news. A whopping 90 percent said their clients use e-mail for customer retention and cross selling, and 72 percent stated their clients do so for customer acquisition. Not far off the Forrester mark.

Also, 48 percent reported their clients use e-mail for transactional communications. About 50 percent confirmed that e-mail is part of a combined online and offline tactical mix. And only 14 percent of marketers said they use e-mail as a standalone effort.

Challenges Still Loom

But now the bad news. Nearly half of marketing service providers polled said their clients face significant e-mail challenges.

These include making online channels targeted and addressable at the individual level, integrating online marketing together with the customer database and offline channels, complying with privacy and regulatory concerns and managing individual communication preferences.

Here's the problem. Too often, separate teams still manage e-mail and database marketing programs and don't coordinate these direct programs under one strategy. They also use multiple technology applications that don't integrate workflow and share data between them.

That's got to end.

Organizations that consolidate these applications across departments and programs will have a competitive advantage over others who don't.

That's the next lesson in e-mail marketing.

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