In My Opinion: Is E-mail Finally Growing Up?

Is e-mail marketing on the cusp of growing up? Many organizations view their e-mail marketing program as having a single purpose. It can be seen as a mechanism for providing content to customers, generating a repurchase from an existing customer through promotional mailings, or creating value through list rentals. Surprisingly, for legitimate marketers these do not need to be mutually exclusive objectives. As the value and the usage of e-mail continue to mature in all areas of an organization this will become a commonplace perspective.

And indeed, certain industry practices suggest that e-mail marketing is maturing. For one, e-mail marketers are displaying an ever-increasing direct marketing mentality. Sure, sending e-mail to a house list is inexpensive, so why not send the same creative to the entire list? Thankfully for all concerned, the growing response to that question is it simply does not work. Segmented mailings with targeted messages are being used by an increasing number of organizations. In other words, marketers are applying the direct marketing principles of targeting to achieve the greatest response.

The second example to be cited of the fledging maturation of e-mail marketing is the increasing quality of e-mail lists on the market. Gone are the days when a marketer would test any e-mail list on the market and when any list would fetch a bloated CPM. Marketers now recognize that only high-quality and appropriately priced opt-in files hold the promise that e-mail originally pledged: the ability to reach and generate response from online customers.

What’s more, top publishers and catalogers are bringing their e-mail lists to market. The recognition that e-mail files, just like postal buyer files, have a value that can be leveraged to generate revenue outside of internal usage is developing among legitimate marketers. With Can-Spam and best-practice guidelines becoming fully imbedded in the culture of reputable marketers and creating a higher level of comfort with how a rented e-mail file will be used, this is a logical progression.

Consider again the statement that legitimate marketers can use e-mail programs to deliver content, generate sales, and represent a revenue source from lists. Take a moment to think about this statement in a historical context against the introduction of the telephone, the fax machine, and computers into the business environment. All of these went through varying stages of maturation before businesses were able to benefit fully from them. Is e-mail in the process of taking the next step on this same continuum? If so, it may be time to take a fresh look at your own program and determine if there are opportunities to achieve even greater value from it.

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