Speaker: Co-Marketing via E-Mail Brings BTB Profits

ORLANDO, FL — E-mail co-marketing in business to business is a largely untapped tool, and potentially a very profitable one, Elaine O’Gorman, vice president of strategy for e-mail marketing firm Silverpop, told attendees at the Direct Marketing Association’s Direct Marketing to Business conference yesterday.

“With the notable exception of [BTB] publishers, the market is somewhat immature … so there is a wealth of untapped partners out there,” she said.

When e-mail co-marketing is done right, with the right partners, marketers can get response rates two to three times higher than with traditional list rentals, O’Gorman said. Co-marketing e-mail campaigns can be very effective because of the transfer of trust in the consumer’s mind from one company to the other.

“Working with co-branded list rental is like working with a trusted friend,” she said. “I trust this business publication, for example, and they’re recommending this product. They’re more likely to open the message simply because they have a relationship with the company the e-mail is from.”

The more closely associated the product or service is with the first brand, the more likely the marketer will achieve the consumer’s transfer of trust.

“If American Airlines is going to pitch a car rental company, it makes a lot more sense than them pitching a dishwasher,” she said.

However, co-marketing via e-mail carries risks of liabilities, including violating one or both brands’ privacy policies, not getting opt in on the co-marketer’s e-mails and erosion of the brand if the e-mail is considered spam.

When trading lists with business partners, ensure that the partner does not violate the list agreement with its subscribers or users.

“If they haven’t asked [their subscribers] for permission, you may need to re-solicit [and ask for permission],” she said. “If it’s the right partner, it’s probably worth going through that process.”

Also, in list trades, sending opt-out and opt-in lists to partners often violates each company’s privacy policy, so many hire a third-party company to scrub the lists.

Co-marketers should follow strict rules in e-mail fields, including the “to,” “from” and “subject” fields. The co-marketer must ensure the receiver of the e-mail knows the company it is from.

“The upper-left-hand corner should reflect the list owner’s branding, to maximize the chances of recognition and trust transfer by the recipient,” O’Gorman said.

Also include a statement at the top of the e-mail reminding recipients why they are getting the e-mail so they remember that they did opt in for the co-marketer’s offers, she suggested.

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