Editorial: Coming Soon to Your Local TV or PC

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It's clear that the direct and interactive marketing community faces many challenges, but none are as problematic as e-mail marketing, given the prevalence of spam. This is why DM News chose it to be the first in a series of videotaped discussions and interview programs that will deal with the most pressing issues in the industry.

The video, "E-Mail Marketing Under the Gun," is arranged in three parts (and hosted by yours truly). Participants include Elaine Rubin, senior vice president of strategic development at 1-800-Flowers.com and chairwoman of Shop.org, the online arm of the National Retail Federation. Her fellow panelist is Angela Kapp, a consultant to Estee Lauder Cos. and other major marketers. Rubin and Kapp agreed that despite the threats to e-mail marketing posed by spam and a hodgepodge of legal issues, e-mail is gaining in popularity and response rates are holding up. Based on their experiences within the industry, they offered tips on how retailers and practitioners should act and react.

On the agency side, Grey Direct chairman/CEO Larry Kimmel and Alan Osetek, senior vice president of Carat Interactive, agreed that e-mail marketing is a young medium with prospects for a bright future and that legitimate practitioners have the wherewithal to overcome the problems posed by disreputable marketers who are abusing e-mail. Michael Mayor, president and chief operating officer of NetCreations, and Irene Pedraza, CEO of e-mail service firm CheetahMail, identified techniques and strategies for using e-mail marketing effectively and responsibly to provide maximum benefit to marketers and consumers alike.

As moderator, I found all of the panelists to have a strong stage presence and, more importantly, they were responsible and cognizant of the need for legitimate marketers to agree on best practices that respect consumers and maintain the viability of this promising medium. If you're involved in e-mail marketing, this video will be of great interest to you. Once post-production is completed later this month, DM News will offer the program for sale, at $49 a copy, in DVD, CD or VHS format. Readers interested in reserving a copy may contact Charlton Cham at 212/925-7300, ext. 238, or by e-mail at Charlton@DMNews.com .


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