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Email is Not A Viable Acquisition Tool in the Way Direct Mail is

In this article, Chris Marriott says that email is not a viable acquisition tool in the way direct mail is for a couple of reasons:

  • anti-spam legislation
  • it's not as easy to get your email address as it is your postal address.
  • even if a business has your email address, you can opt-out of that first prospecting email and be free forever from further offers.

According to Chris:

"email is the most cost-effective retention, cross-sell and loyalty tactic in the universe, but it is not a viable acquisition tool in the way that direct mail is."

So how do you generate demand through digital channels, and at the same time incorporate the targeting of direct mail?

"The real workhorse of demand generation on the web is targeted display advertising. For the time being, this is the digital successor to targeted direct mail. And in today's world there are many different approaches being applied to targeted display ads -- behavioral and contextual being the two with the most promise. In both instances, marketers deliver ads based on knowledge gleaned from either the actions of the user -- a visit to one website can be the basis for serving ads to that person on another site -- or the content consumed at that particular moment -- an article on the latest tech gadgets brings up an ad for a new smart phone."

There's lots more to say about the many improvements in display ad targeting, but the point I'm making is that the next time you hear someone at your company suggest replacing direct mail demand generation with an email program, make sure he or she understands that targeted display advertising is the better road to travel for demand generation on the web.

Once your display ads have hooked that new customer, and you get him or her into your email database, then enjoy the universe-dominating cost-effectiveness of email for retention, loyalty and cross-sell. And if you work with a digital agency that is proficient in both email and targeted display advertising, you're already off to a great start in "going green!"

Read the full article on iMedia Connection.

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