Emailing You Some Predictions For 2005

Any wanna-be pundit can produce the perfunctory industry predictions at year-end--even this one. But some of these predictions may surprise you.

Take a moment and measure these prognostications for 2005 against some of your own.

The largest delta in advertising dollars shifting online will be directed toward e-mail - Some industry analysts have predicted that interactive on the whole may rise as much as 25 percent in 2005. While Search Engine Marketing was responsible for the bulk of new money being spent online in 2004, e-mail should represent an increased portion of that larger slice of the pie in the next 12 months.

E-mail is already one of the most cost-efficient ways to acquire new consumers as well as retain and build loyalty with existing consumers. When delivered with the most relevance, e-mail campaigns can become as effective a branding tool as exists online. Therefore...

Much of this e-mail delta will come from branding campaigns - Why? Increasingly, as interactive becomes an integral element in consumer marketing budgets, the branding capabilities of e-mail, already proven as a compelling direct response vehicle, will become more apparent. Our ability to track campaigns' residual effects, with consumers making purchases well after having seen the messages, demonstrates the branding power of contextually delivered e-mail campaigns.



There will be a larger shift toward integration of online, offline, and e-mail campaigns in customer acquisition and CRM - Already, Web actions "trigger" online actions like e-mail and more targeted ad serving with advances in behavioral targeting. What we expect to see is more triggering between interactive actions like e-mail and form conversion online and non-traditional responses such as telemarketing and direct mail.

For example, when a consumer signs up at an automotive site for a new car quote, the following "triggers" can be set into motion:

1. An auto finance offer is delivered through an exit pop-up;
2. An auto-responder e-mail is sent containing an auto warranty offer;
3. A car dealer who receives the consumer's request for a new car quote calls them at the number they have provided;
4. That same car dealer sends the consumer a piece of direct mail containing more info on their dealership as well as additional partner offers from auto parts and services companies.
5. Follow-up CRM e-mails, phone calls, and direct mail pieces may be sent over the course of time to retain, up-sell, and cross-sell that particular consumer.

We are going to see a continued trend toward relevance in advertising--all advertising - All of these tactics and others, executed online and offline, rely on an ability to discern and monetize relevance. This is, perhaps, the most significant of all the predictions here. Discerning relevance in consumer behaviors, especially when these behaviors are initially triggered through relevant content and messaging, creates far more value in any campaign. This is where the Web shines far more brightly than any other medium. Companies in any interactive segment that are able to leverage relevance will be the winners moving forward.

There will be more distinction between legitimate e-mail marketing companies and "spammers" - As threshold levels for what is considered to be strong e-mail marketing continue to rise due to an increased understanding of how to leverage relevance, the demarcation between reputable e-mail delivery tactics and spam will widen.

Therefore, the shake out of spammers will become more thorough, and reputable established companies will continue to thrive, finding new ways to deliver relevance by integrating into advertiser's overall media mix. Happy Holidays - And to all, a fantastic 2005!

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