Email Debate Over Frequency Continues (Probably Always Will)

Email marketers constantly debate how often to send email to potential or current customers. Business interests are different across categories, but it’s clear that discussion is not going away, even in a world of in-box bombardment.

LivingSocial.com’s Adam Lovallo, head of user acquisition, said if his company sent out 50% less email, revenues would decline 50%.

Speaking at the MediaPost Email Insider Summit, Lovallo said he's “100% on the frequency band wagon” and his company might still have runway to send out more messages. “I think it's primarily a frequency game and I think we've actually been too conservative on that front over the last year or two,” he said.

He did point out that LivingSocial has different customer relationships than others, having established a “premise that we will email you frequently and people are accepting of that and so that may be very different than if I were working at Amazon and I maybe don’t want to send 30 to 40 emails a month.”

Lovallo said third-party data and “algorithmic work we’re doing to infer preferences” will “improve that, it’ll make it marginally more efficient,” but heavy email loads will likely continue.

Joining Lovallo on a panel was Dell’s Adrian Olvera, global consumer & SMB CRM business development manager, who suggested more mail doesn’t necessarily lead to more conversions.

“What we’ve seen overall is if we send five emails a month to a single customer, it’s just as much revenue, it’s just as much engagement, from eight or nine,” he said.   

Nicole Delma, who works with Huffington Post, said: “There is something that’s not necessarily being measured that comes down to brand value … if you mail more, there can be a detrimental effect.”

Hewlett-Packard's Daryl Nielson, worldwide email manager, offered a "more mail" stance. He said recently a European office was focusing heavily on reaching an audience that was “active,” but that accounted for only about 20% of the audience that should have been receiving mail.

“Frequency sometimes turns people off, but I think you’ve got to have somewhat of a frequency there or you lose your audience,” he said. “It’s just like we’ve wasted millions of contacts out there by those decisions on just focusing on those engaged or active.”

 
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