E-mail Marketing Myth #4: E-mail Requires Innovation Independence

Jul 01, 2006 2:56 AM  By

For many years e-mail marketers were an organization’s designated renegades. While corporate marketing built the brand, these small groups of interactive pioneers did their “e-mail thing” – building innovative marketing, service, and lifecycle communications around customer needs. They were often silent about their efforts but deadly with their results, growing customer relationships and driving marketing ROI at an incredible rate.

Over time word spread, and the power of e-mail was increasingly recognized as a key component of the marketing mix. As a result, these organizations are undergoing a significant shift in how they organize, plan, and execute their marketing programs; e-mail is no longer a silo.

According to a survey by Epsilon and Gfk NOP of 175 marketers, more than 70% of marketing decision-makers and influencers indicated that the same person controls their interactive and traditional budgets. Integrated marketing is now practiced by an integrated marketing organization. (In addition more than 70% of marketers surveyed indicated that their organizations currently practice cross-channel integrated marketing.)

Like many of you, I have had the distinct pleasure of witnessing the rise of new technologies and media such as the Web and e-mail. I have also seen my share of organizations that failed to embrace, nourish, and properly recognize key inflection points in the growth of these media and their place within the organization. For the 70% of you who have made e-mail an integral part of your marketing organizations, bravo – but there is still much work to be done. For the rest of you who still view e-mail as a silo, the clock is ticking.

I remain an advocate of fostering the development of emerging media to grow innovation, but e-mail is no longer an emerging medium: Consumer usage is at an all-time high, the knowledge gained is too valuable, and the sales and efficiency of the medium are too strong. E-mail has earned its right to a larger percentage of the overall marketing budget and share of the marketing mix, as well as to an integrated role in the marketing organizational structure.

Viewing e-mail as a silo for marketing mavericks is a recipe for a marketing department’s slow and silent death. Never before has customer insight and integration been so critical to the future success of marketing, and e-mail used properly is one of your most powerful tools. Perhaps the best e-mail innovation to come will be how leading brands will truly and seamlessly integrate timely, relevant e-mail communications into the marketing mix around specific customer needs, behaviors, and interests across all touch points.

Epsilon Interactive chief marketing officer Michael Della Penna outlined the four myths of e-mail marketing in a series for MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT.