Obit: Batch And Blast Is Dead!

Obituary: Mass e-mail advertising is dead. Marketers mourn the early, heady days of e-mail marketing when generic e-mails drove high response rates and consumers thought any e-mail was good, as long as it was addressed to them. But alas, we must bid adieu to the old era--if not for the sake of our own careers, then on behalf of consumers everywhere who are tired of irrelevant and uninteresting e-mail messages. As we say good-bye to 2005, we can also say good-bye to this ineffective marketing method.

Rest in Peace, indeed. Batch and blast is so 1999--it simply no longer works to drive revenue growth. Subscriber inboxes are overflowing with permission-based e-mail that is irrelevant. Our research shows that 60 percent of subscribers just ignore the e-mails, deflating marketer hopes for relationship-building and sales. Worse, half of these subscribers unsubscribe or complain to their ISPs, completely severing the relationship and hurting deliverability across the board. Open, click and conversion response is declining in all sectors--from retail to financial services to travel to B2B. Marketers everywhere wring their hands and frantically seek best practices in hopes of saving their legacy promotion-driven calendar.

Forget it. Mass e-mail won't work because, by its very definition, it is only interesting to a subset of your audience at any given time. So why do we keep doing it?

Truth is, batch and blast still generates some revenue. But that response is neither predictable, nor growing, because the e-mail itself is doing little to drive response. Generic e-mail that isn't targeted or customized to the subscriber relies very heavily on your other marketing and branding efforts to engage with subscribers. It's little more than a reminder service. And, more importantly, it's a huge missed opportunity to connect, build relationships, capture market share and strengthen brands.

What's the alternative? We all know the answer: provide custom, relevant e-mail experiences for each important subscriber segment. Enter our old direct marketing friend, data.

CRM and e-marketing response data provide intelligent and actionable methods for measuring a subscriber's place in your sales and product lifecycle. With that data, marketers can create relevant subscriber experiences--the key to driving revenue and higher ROI.