I would like to clarify a statement I made in the Feb. 23 online issue of iMarketing News. I was quoted as saying that offline direct marketing had no place in the MyPoints Program. I was referring to our own prospecting for members, not to our long-term business strategy, which might indeed incorporate offline list services.
In fact, there is a natural affinity between the two. It is more cost-effective to build and manage relationships with consumers online. But once that relationship is in place, it makes perfect sense to extend the marketing channel to include offline communications. This will become even clearer as offline brands turn to the Internet to drive sales not to their Internet sites but to their brick-and-mortar stores — an arena known as “clicks and mortar.” Some industry analysts see this sector accounting for more then four-fifths of all Internet-related commerce by 2005.
Even if we do extend the MyPoints Program — which currently focuses on delivering targeted ads by e-mail — to include offline DM, it is worth noting that returns on investment in the offline setting will probably never rival the ROI we can generate for our clients through MyPoints online.
This is because of a few simple facts:
• It costs much less to deliver a MyPoints e-mail message than it does a piece of ink-and-paper postal mail.
• By targeting each e-mail and adding a tangible incentive to respond (a feature unique among e-mail marketers), we motivate our members to do more than just click — they actually make purchases online.
Our e-mail campaigns have enjoyed response rates at least comparable to those found in the offline space, but at much lower cost to the marketer, which translates into higher ROI. This is indeed the promise of the Internet — to reduce the transaction cost without losing volume. And MyPoints has proved it can deliver on this promise.
John H. Fullmer