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Relevance. It is the key to success for email marketing, but still it continues to be a sore spot. Two separate but synchronous email studies shed new light on relevance, and the lack of it, in email marketing. One addresses the desires of the hyperconnected 18-24 year old generation. The other recognizes said relevance problem and identifies some solutions for online retailers.
The Gen Y study comes from the Participatory Marketing Network and Pace University's Interactive and Direct Marketing Lab. It shows that the majority of Gen Y consumers welcome direct brand interactions through email, but they want more ability to control, organize and manage the interactions. Only 28 percent of those surveyed believe the email they get from companies is relevant. But they are eager to see “innovative services” that increase that relevance. Specifically, 62 percent would communicate directly with retailers about their favorite products in exchange for getting preferential pricing. 44 percent would subscribe to an email service that collected and summarized multiple offers of interest to them. And in direct opposition to the Nielsen social media report issued on Tuesday, which painted a bleak picture for advertising within social networks, 32 percent would share promotional email offers with members inside a social network.
Customer engagement has been re-introduced into the internet marketing discussion, this time via an excellent report from Forrester Research.
Exactly what "engagement" means has been a murky proposition since it was introduced into the internet marketing lexicon in 2005. But Forrester has put forth a clear and concise take on it. It says: "customer engagement is the level of involvement, interaction, intimacy, and influence that an individual has with a brand over time."
Even search engines get the blues. In a report that has not been officially released yet, the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, (SEMPO), says North American search marketing spending will increase only 9 percent to $14.7 billion in 2009 from $13.5 billion a year ago. Estimates made in early 2008 projected that the industry would grow at more than twice that rate this year, from $15.7 billion in 2008 to $18.8 billion in 2009. The new SEMPO forecasts call for the industry to reach $19.8 billion in 2011, down from a previous estimate of $25.2 billion for that year.
What happened? The simple answer is the economy, which Google CEO Eric Schmidt called "pretty dire" last week. But the report raises some very important issues that cannot be explained away by a simple economic downturn. Among them:
This social networking thing is gonna be big, man. Really big. Bigger than email.
A confirmation of the absolute "big bang" expansion theory of social networks came from Nielsen Online today. Its "Global Faces and Networked Places" report shows that by the end of 2008, 66.8 percent of internet users across the globe accessed “member communities” last year, compared to 65.1 percent for email.
Digital marketing will get a few disruptions in the near future, according to this version of Razorfish's Digital Outlook Report.
While most of the press attention has gone to the agency's bullish outlook on social media (surprise, surprise), the warm fuzzies stopped there. Consider the following predictions from Razorfish analysts and executives:
A study into the returns processes of 100 online retailers in the UK has found that returning goods bought online is becoming more difficult for customers.
When it comes to allowing customers to return goods without hassle, some retailers have a lot to learn, with five making it virtually impossible for shoppers to return goods.
Having looked at the use of Twitter by charities in the UK, and being impressed by number of organisations that have used it to promote their causes, I've decided to take a look at how many retailers are using the service.
There are some great examples of companies using Twitter in the US; Zappos has used it to communicate with customers and for marketing purposes, while Dell says it has made $1m in sales from using Twitter.
So how many UK retailers have signed up for a Twitter account?
Apple's iPhone is responsible for the vast majority of mobile internet browsing, but Google's Android, and Blackberry are beginning to pick up their share of the market.
Mobile web browsing as a percentage of total web browsing is also growing, and currently stands at 0.72%. Sales of smartphones accounted for a quarter of US mobile sales in Q4, while O2 recently announced that it had sold 1m iPhones in the UK, so this trend looks set to continue.
Maybe consumers really do want to read about toothpaste, paper towels, and soda. A new study from ROI Research and Epsilon claims that 62 percent of customers that receive permission- based emails are influenced by those emails, and 75 percent have read company or brand content as a direct result.
The survey was conducted in mid-October and measured 1,517 people. Not exactly a statistically projectable dynamo, (and it is, after all, sponsored) but even if half the numbers are on the money they are significant. They support the continued effectiveness of permission-based email, and they support the concept that content will attract consumer attention, which will increase engagement and then purchase intent.
Shop online and help end global warming? In this era of acute environmental awareness, that could be a powerful value proposition for etailers. Particularly with data to back up the claim.
Buy that gizmo online rather than drive to the all and you'll burn 35 percent less energy, finds a just-released Carnegie Mellon University Green Design Institute study.
The economy may be pushing prices lower, but when it comes to brand loyalty consumers still aspire to lofty expectations. That's the conclusion of the latest BrandKeys customer loyalty survey and it could portend a strategy change in internet marketing for brands that are trying to hold the high ground.
Brand value, according to BrandKeys CEO Robert Passikoff, means a lot more than brand pricing. The just-released index says that consumer expectations regarding brand value went up 20% this year versus last.
Is 90 percent of your online ad campaign invisible to your target audience? Nonsense.
Online advertising is all about razor-sharp targeting. Responsible advertisers and agencies stake their reputations and livliehoods on their ability to send the right message to the right person at the right time.
Except when they don't.