Live from the Annual Catalog Conference: Split Opinions on E-mail Append

(Direct Newsline) Chicago–Is e-mail append a great way to build your list, or a disaster waiting to happen?

It depends on who you ask. Panelists at a session on e-mail marketing here yesterday were split on the topic.

Phyliss Mosca, vice president of marketing for plus-size women’s apparel cataloger Ulla Popken USA, said her company used append as a way to build its e-mail file. Web sales account for 40% of the catalog’s business.

The results were disappointing at first but slowly improved. After about six months, the append initiative paid for itself in net sales.

Jere Doyle, president/CEO of e-mail firm Prospectiv Direct, said he’s against e-mail append, because you can’t assume you have the permission to e-mail someone just because he’s purchased through another channel. The recipient could perceive the communication as spam and report it to his ISP, leading to all future e-mails from your company on its servers getting blocked.

Mosca noted that the first e-mail to each appended address was always an immediate chance to opt out. Append, she said, is a technique that “takes time but it works.”

Append is a “gray area,” said Jane Kaiser, president of Eclipse Direct Marketing. “It depends on your source of append. If you do it properly, it can work, but it’s tough.”