European e-mail marketing more complicated than U.S.: e-Dialog UK

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E-mail marketing in Britain involves understanding the cultural differences and characteristics throughout Europe, according to e-Dialog executives.

John Rizzi, CEO of e-Dialog, and Simone Barrat, managing director at e-Dialog UK, told this publication in an interview in the London office that relationships with Internet service providers throughout Europe is much more complicated than in the US.

"It is quite hard to find out who the top ISPs in Russia are, so we have to work with our customers to find out who they are trying to target and what ISPs they are using," Ms. Barrat said.

Mr. Rizzi agreed and said that the market here is much more fragmented.

"There are a handful of ISPs in the U.S., whereas over here there are a lot more to keep track of," he said.

These include the main U.S. players like Hotmail, MSN, Yahoo and Gmail, but also extend to Virgin.net, BT and Wannadoo.

To deal with deliverability in all of the varying ISPs, Ms. Barrat said that it is best to test e-mails across the different providers.

Differences are not just due to the fragmentation with the ISPs. The European market includes a number of countries with different languages, cultural traditions and demographics. HP is one e-Dialog client that sends e-mails to 18 different countries in various languages.

Mr. Rizzi and Ms. Barrat said that while many languages are used, English is a common marketing language that is found throughout Europe.

Aside from language, design can be culturally reflective.

"There are subtleties in design style between a Latin country like France or Spain and a Nordic country like Sweden or Denmark," Mr. Rizzi said.

One thing that is for sure throughout is that personalization and segmentation is growing and e-mail marketing is getting bigger budgets for marketers.

"For retail clients, e-mail marketing is becoming very business critical," Ms. Barrat said. "There is an elevated importance of e-mail because of the fantastic returns that can be seen through tracking."

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