@d:tech Highlight - The Truth About Email
Tchong charged the room with his empassioned presentation on the state of email. He presented a case study of prosumer.tv, iconocast's showcase site delivered in html only. "We did the unthinkable - we bundled content, consumer, and product."
Referring to the trend to time compression, as if we're in a sci-fi film, he asked, "When did we replace 'I'm doing well,' with 'I'm so busy' as an answer to the daily question, 'How are you?'" This leading to the question, "What is the future of information consumption as time continues to compress?"
"The declining response rate on the Net is a symptom of a general trend," says Tchong. "I asked the IAB to study this more to show rates are down in ALL media. But the Internet should reposition all media. Alan Greenspan won't even mention the word Internet, he talks around it!"
Tchong's major point is that the net has yet to be leveraged to his full capacity.
"Our superior device of marketing has become our device of destruction!" claimed Tchong. Businesses are reacting far faster than ever and the Internet helps that. The rumor biz on the Internet makes it difficult to disseminate layoff notices.
"We have the tool to leverage the strengths," claims Tchong. "Yet, like teenage sex, everybody's talking about it and nobody does it. Very few people target. No one is using the full extent of the Net, so it's too early to say it doesn't work."
He says one of the biggest issues is that marketers need to move at time-compressed speeds. IT does not, it takes time. He cautioned about over-promising. "We told everybody that a teller transaction costs $1 or $2, and the Internet costs less than 10 cents. That advantage is lots if the site is extravagant and expensive."
He said for success, get the consumer involved in the design of the product. And one key to success is to make the web valuable to consumers. "Have a two-way dialog with consumer to get the customer data you need."
Jason McNamara stressed the effectiveness of rich media email and showed three campaigns, all done in April. With the claim that rich media improves response rates, he cited an American Express site, Offer Zone. With a half-million emails, 6.5% clicked through. More importantly, 45% of those who opened the email clicked through. So part of the issue is to get the consumer to open the email.
With the movie Blow, a teaser was delivered via email on opening weekend to drive ticket sales. Click-through wasn't an objective, but 25% did so and ticket sales were good, but no numbers were provided.
With MediaPost's own Rich Media Road Show, a blimp appeared on the screen with its marquee promoting the show. The objective was to drive registration and out of 22,000 media buyers, 78% opened the email and 9 % clicked through. Totals showed that 50% of registration came through the campaign.
But McNamara admits, "we haven't delivered yet [on rich media promises]. But now, with the technology we have, we're in a position to jump on this. Rich media is the light in dismal times."
As to how often to email consumers, practice "email control," says Tchong. McNamara got in a humorous corner by using the analogy of touching. "People don't want to be touched too often. They want to be touched at the right time and for it to be relevant." Gluck said giving people the option of how often to receive email is an effective solution and "you know you're emailing too often when your opt-out rate rises above 1%." Tchong says a good yardstick is about two a month. But everyone has to catch up to this speeding train. Tchong says ad agencies aren't yet ready for all the tech, citing an advertiser on his site who couldn't figure out how to embed a URL in flash animation. And both agreed that there's no need to spend enormous amounts of money on creative. "It throws off your ROI and doesn't necessarily move more click-throughs," says McNamara.
"I don't think agencies want to be measured on the effectiveness of their creative," says Tchong. "There's a gruesome change to come."
One of those changes, says Tchong, may be R-rated email, coming directly to your inbox.
- Debbi Swanson may be reached at WriterDeb@aol.com