The Email Quotidien Choice of Horror

Every one of us as email marketers have to make the same daily decision that Stephen Geer, director of new media/email for the Barack Obama campaign, made every day with the campaign: knowing that high frequency has risks and reduces the long term opportunity, how much email can I send out without decreasing the ROI of my program.

Geer was the opening keynote for the Email Insider Summit here in Utah and was very generous in sharing so much insight with us. No question the Obama campaign reinvented campaigning in the US. A game changer. Email was a critical component of both communicating the message as well as driving action. Email was heavily used (and effectively). Very heavily. Hundreds of messages per subscriber every quarter.

Geer talked about how at that high frequency, deliverability was an ongoing challenge. This would be true for any marketer with a large list and high frequency (at least daily). There are issues of warming up new servers, growth of the file, data management, spam-free content and list churn. For Geer, frequency and complaints went hand in hand. He says, “We knew that we could survive a certain amount of churn because of our list growth.”

Same for all of us. How much frequency is too much? Send out that extra blast this week and earn hundreds of thousands in revenue. Lose 100+ subscrcibers. Lost not just today, but forever. Is that worth it?

What a fearsome choice we make every day. And what pressure on the channel that these are the decisions we are forced to make. It's hard to be an advocate for our subscribers.

As I type this, a panel of Moms has taken the stage and they are talking about how they really hate it when we marketers are even remotely dishonest about the deal or the sender. They don't use words like from line, permission, irrelevance, customization, one-step registration, secondary offer or hidden purchase barrier. But they know what it means to have their time wasted and they know why they are loyal to brands that treat them well.

No question: our subscribers will catch us. They will know. And we will pay for it by losing their loyalty.

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications