E.piphany Mourns Death of Traditional DM at Fall Show

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NEW ORLEANS -- The widow wailed, a band played and mourners followed a closed casket in a funeral procession to mark the passing of traditional direct marketing.

E.piphany Inc., a CRM solutions provider, pronounced traditional DM dead Oct. 18 at a New Orleans-style funeral procession through the French Quarter during the Direct Marketing Association's fall conference. A flier handed out at the show said, "Traditional marketing will be best remembered for intrusive phone calls during dinner, countless spam clogging inboxes and trying to sell ice to Eskimos."

"There really has been a backlash against traditional direct marketing for several years," said Jon Miller, senior director of marketing and analytic applications at E.piphany, San Mateo, CA.

Legislation like the year-old national no-call registry and CAN-SPAM Act contributes to a growing consumer resistance to traditional marketing, he said. Also, DM offers -- especially from credit card companies -- have increased lately, "and, as a result, consumers are just fed up."

But companies still must reach these consumers, so they are shifting from traditional DM channels toward inbound marketing channels, where they can communicate marketing messages through contact centers, IVR, point-of-sale and ATMs, Miller said.

"Inbound interactions have the customer's time, attention and permission," he said. "And inbound marketing techniques regularly get higher response rates than outbound or traditional marketing techniques."

The funeral procession essentially promoted E.piphany Interaction Advisor, an inbound marketing solution that is part of the E.piphany E.6 customer relationship management suite. Miller said the system helps contact center representatives increase cross-sell revenue from each customer by looking across all possible offers and selecting the one that will drive the highest expected value for the individual and the business.

At the show, E.piphany said ING Direct generated more than $5 million in incremental profit using the system this past year to provide personalized, targeted offers on its Web site and in its call centers.

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