Yesmail Product Offers Three-Pronged Approach to Rescuing Email

The saviors of spam-tainted email marketing just might be its oft-neglected predecessors, direct postal mail and telemarketing.

As marketers begin to understand the value of integrating print, TV and Web advertising, combined usage of email, direct mail and telemarketing also could become prevalent. Yesmail, Inc.’s Email-Postal Networkone product may help to close the multi-channel loop.

The relationship marketing company’s latest offering of more than nine million individual consumer files features postal addresses, phone numbers and email addresses within each file, all derived from the firm’s co-registration network partners. Email-Postal Networkone has been segmented into 15 different demographic and interest categories such as Entertainment, Credit Card Holders, Healthcare, Children and Baby, Investors and Teen.

Lists can be broken down further by interest, behavior, demographic, and lifestyle. For instance, Yesmail’s Home and Garden list subdivisions include Home Owners and Vegetable or Flower Interest. All data have been obtained through opt-in registrations on pages within the company’s affiliate network of around 100 sites including Forbes.com, The New York Times on the Web, winfreestuff.com and GiantRewards.com.

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“We’ll probably test that list,” says Bill Babcock, CEO of direct and interactive marketing firm Babcock & Jenkins. Babcock laments the somewhat unchecked use of email marketing which has “sowed the seeds of its own limitations and destruction.”

He does, however, predict that combining the “complementary” mediums of paper mail, email and telemarketing could “be the salvation of email” which has grown less effective as more and more consumers install spam filters and delete unwanted email in bulk.

The Yesmail product takes the common practice of appending internal email lists to postal addresses, a service provided by a multitude of companies, to a new level by offering marketers pre-matched, pre-segmented lists. Although other firms like Acxiom’s MarketsOnDemand and Custom Offers provide similar pre-combined email/postal/telemarketing database products, there aren’t many others available as of yet.

“Frankly, most email appending has been less than satisfactory,” comments Babcock. “Email addresses are very dynamic; people change them often.”

In addition to email address obsolescence which can lead to high bounce-back rates, there’s that pesky problem of consumer privacy. Marketers are walking on e-eggshells when it comes to communicating with consumers, especially via email. Combining direct postal mail with email could help to alleviate privacy concerns. Marketers take great pains to target consumers carefully when using direct postal mail because of its relatively high cost. By following up a direct mail piece with an email campaign component (and perhaps even a telemarketing call) marketers can help to legitimize the overall communication effort, and “in a way, generate its own permission,” Babcock believes.

The direct mail piece establishes the brand message, and the subsequent email facilitates consumer response through the more actionable digital medium, while reiterating the brand. In testing Email-Postal Networkone, Yesmail coordinated direct mail and email messaging for a mortgage company client offering home equity financing. According to David Linhardt, SVP data services at Yesmail, as compared to email or postal marketing alone, the combined media campaign “dramatically increased response and conversion.”

Although the immaturity of initiatives like these necessitates further testing, Babcock affirms that correlating direct postal marketing with email “works extraordinarily well.”

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