DMA·05: Few E-Mailers Are Relevant

ATLANTA — Many Web sites and e-mail marketers still do not send relevant e-mails to customers, executives with Amazon Services and Epsilon Interactive said at a session during DMA·05 yesterday.

“The bulk of marketers continue to think of it as a broadcast medium,” said Al DiGuido, CEO of Epsilon Interactive, New York. “To use it just like every other broadcast medium out there is to dilute it. Customers are demanding, with their delete and spam buttons, that you as a marketer become more relevant.”

Marketers need to start targeting customers at the right times in the customer lifecycle and send them relevant offers, said Petra Schindler-Carter, senior manager, Technology Alliance, Amazon Services, a division of

However, DiGuido and Schindler-Carter also gave examples of marketers who do e-mail relevant offers — and see results.

“When Charles Schwab's online customers fill out forms to receive financial information, then stop filling out those forms, they are sent an e-mail asking why they left and how the company can help them,” DiGuido said. “They generated an additional $635 per subscriber when they did that. They understand how much money they spent to drive people to their financial services.”

In the past 18 months, Amazon has “gotten much smarter” about observing what customers do on its site, then e-mailing them targeted, relevant offers, Schindler-Carter said.

And Wells Fargo has benefited from sending customers e-mails at the right time in the customer lifecycle, including reminding customers who received a credit card that they have not activated it yet.

“It's a little more money for that level of segmentation, but it is treating a customer as if you know where they are in the lifecycle,” DiGuido said.

DiGuido and Schindler-Carter gave basic tips for more relevant e-mail marketing.

· Web sites should have a Preference Center, where customers can choose which offers and e-mails they want to see and when, DiGuido said.

· E-mail customers after a first-time transaction. “It is staggering to me the number of companies that do not say 'thank you' and 'welcome,' ” DiGuido said.

· Look for e-mail marketing partners, Schindler-Carter said, at both the front and back end of data capture. “On the front end of data capture, look for a partner so you can act on them immediately. A weekly or monthly update of batch e-mail addresses will not work if you're trying to produce this type of data and relevant e-mail strategy.”

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