Q&A: Paul Kemshell, cofounder, WRM Media

Paul Kemshell, cofounder of WRM Media, a global email vendor and list broker based in the UK, discusses current trends in email marketing in Britain and how it compares to the US. Kemshell has worked for Internet companies since the late 1990s, having held a management position at Who-Remembers-Me.com and founding online business directory Wakefield.co.uk.

Direct Marketing News (DMN): What are marketers in the UK doing with email these days?

Paul Kemshell (WRM): We see a lot more high street brands using email for brand building and incorporating it with other channels. So the major advertising agencies may book TV, print and email as a part of one effort to build the brand. Also, email volumes are still a lot lower over here than in the US, so marketers are not as focused on ROI, as they are at being evolved in the sector. America, as I see it, tends to be more about offers, competitive emails and ROI, and we aren’t there yet.

DMN: In the US, we are seeing a lot of integration of email with social media and mobile. Is this happening in the UK as well?

Kemshell: It is starting to happen a bit. We are seeing an upturn with email and postal as well, albeit that sounds backwards. During the financial downtown postal dropped off, but surprisingly, now we are seeing it come back.

DMN: What differences are you are seeing in approaches to email marketing in the UK versus the US?

Kemshell: In the UK, we are following the trends of the US market, but we are about two to three years behind. There is still a CPM market in the UK for list rental, and marketers are still buying email lists based on impressions versus on performance.

Also, there are fundamental regulatory differences in the two countries. It is unusual in the UK to have big suppression lists because our unsubscribes go against our master list versus the specific brand sending the email. So if somebody unsubscribes to an email in the UK, they unsubscribe from every type of mailing that the company does including all third-party emails, whereas in the US, you only need to unsubscribe from the specific brand sending the email.

Also, in the UK there is less of a tendency for consumers to have multiple email addresses. People usually just have one email address or one work email and one personal email address, versus in the US where people have multiple email addresses. Abandonment of email addresses is not as prolific over here.

DMN: What new trends do you expect to see this year?

Kemshell: I think this whole integration of email with other channels will grow more, especially with both mobile and postal. I also think there will be a bigger increase in behavioral targeting. Marketers are seeing that people that have responded to one type of offer in the past and then sending them new offers based on this information.

Email deliverability is also getting harder, because volume is going up. So marketers are getting better about their data to get their email delivered. Costs to send are coming down but volume is going up. We are still making the same amount of money in the industry, but we have to send more emails to do so, which is making it more difficult on the ISPs and therefore it is harder to get delivered. Databases struggle to support too many offers and still get delivered, but it is about getting the right balance.

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