Whitbread tries permission tack

In a sign that e-mail permission marketing (EPM) is going mainstream, Whitbread is to use the technique across its entire leisure and retail brand portfolio.

It has hired Emailbureau, a specialist in opt-in e-mail (e-volve, August 31), to carry out the work.

The initial campaign will involve a dedicated TGI Friday data questionnaire on Emailbureau’s free-to-enter prize website, MyOffers.co.uk. Consumers will be driven to the site with promotional activity by Whitbread, including national door-to-door mailings. High value incentive premiums are likely to be used.

TGI Friday will be the first Whitbread brand to be selected as part of the company’s long-term move into EPM. Other Whitbread brands likely to use EPM data soon include Café Rouge, Bella Pasta and David Lloyd Leisure.

The consumer data captured through the MyOffers.co.uk website will be used chiefly for electronic customer relationship management.

Emailbureau’s chief executive, Lionel Thain, says: “Whitbread is the UK’s first blue chip consumer company to establish a strategic plan for EPM across all its brands.”

EPM has been known to achieve response rates of more than 15 per cent. Emailbureau claims it produces up to ten times the response rates of conventional DM at a twentieth of the cost. Consumers are asked if they want to receive direct e-mails, usually on specific subjects.

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