Collect data when customer signs up on mailing list: Prospectiv's Doyle

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SAN FRANCISCO - Build permission based e-mail lists to increase sales because if a customer raises a hand for information, they are more likely to answer a message and buy, according to Jere Doyle, president/CEO at customer acquisition firm Prospectiv.

His talk this morning at the DMA06 show called "Don't Bombard Consumers with Mass Market Advertising. Woo Them Online!" focused on five best practices for acquiring customers including collecting the right data based on Prospectiv.

"The best time to collect data is when a customer signs up to be on a mailing list," Mr. Doyle said. "But it is important not to overwhelm them with too many questions."

Mr. Doyle, who is based in Woburn, MA, cited some examples of clients like Walmart.com, which only asks for the name and e-mail address. Another example was given of a marketer which asked more questions, but used a free sample offering to keep the consumer interested.

Other best practices included choosing partners carefully and making sure that these firms keep data private, as well as targeting e-mails geographically, demographically and by past behavior.

Also, a key best practice is to analyze behavior.

"Sometimes marketers collect too much data and do not use it, which defeats the point," Mr. Doyle said. "It is important to measure results with analytics."

Finally, it is important to know how to talk to your customer.

The Lunesta sleep medication was mentioned as an example of communicating with the customer base without selling in its e-mail campaign that gave customers information.

"Some of the best test e-mail campaigns are informational," Mr. Doyle said. "A consumer needs to get value out of it and sometimes this is a promotion and sometimes this is information."

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