Let's Review

How many times have we heard this from a college professor or a speaker at the end of a presentation? The approach of a new year is the perfect time to ask ourselves, "Where do we go from here?,"as the Email Experience Council's Ali Swerdlow asked in last week's column. It is also helpful to review the past year's efforts. What were our successes in the email channel and what were the failures? Why did they succeed or fail?

What I often find in performing these reviews for clients is that they often avoid looking at how their email marketing and "traditional" marketing efforts can work together. I came across the perfect example this week while visiting the Web site of a major supermarket chain. The site was encouraging visitors to sign up to receive the chain's weekly circular via email, which would give them a chance to win an MP3 player. I receive this company's circular in the mail each week and I have not seen this offer mentioned in its print version. What a missed opportunity to reach an audience that includes so many loyal customers. The email sign-up asked for the loyalty card number of the new subscriber. With this information there is the potential for a weekly email that is so much more personal and relevant to shoppers than the weekly generic mailed circular. Wouldn't you want to reach your best customers through a weekly circular they have come to rely upon? Beyond that, I also have witnessed a missed opportunity to encourage email circular registrations at the store level.

Direct mail, FSIs, print advertising and in-store promotions are all effective ways of building your email subscriber base. In return, the information you gain about your prospects and customers from enewsletter registrations will help your "traditional" marketing to be more targeted and relevant. As your database of loyal email subscribers grows, you have the opportunity to reduce the amount of "print contact" with that audience. Meanwhile, the additional information you have about this audience allows you to offer a much more personal direct-mail piece than was possible in the past.

The possibilities for email marketing are endless and campaigns can be easily tweaked, expanded and improved to adapt to changing business conditions. This is why it is so important to review projects periodically and not simply put them on cruise control.

Please share what you learn from your "review" with the membership of the EEC, either by participating in one of its Roundtables or by submitting a white paper or case study. Our shared knowledge helps expand the power and impact email has on everyone's lives.