Commoditisation will kill e-mail marketing

In the news article “E-Marketing set for major revenue hike” (MW May 19), you quote a study by E-Consultancy, which estimates that e-mail marketing revenue is set to grow by at least 25 per cent in 2005.

While this is good news for the online industry, the devil is in the small print, namely that, “there has been some pressure on prices in the industry as a result of the commoditisation of basic e-mail services such as delivery”.

Commoditisation in any industry is a dangerous trend, but for e-mail marketers it could prove to be lethal. Whereas traditional direct marketing rewards practitioners for accurate targeting in the form of lower wastage, e-mail marketing effectively punishes the same practice.

How? Once an e-mail has been produced, clients often perceive the only remaining cost to be list data, and this encourages a broad scatter-gun approach – an opt-in form of spamming. After all, why e-mail 10,000 highly segmented consumers when for a few thousand pounds more you can e-mail 1 million?

If e-mail marketing is not to go the way of the telemarketing cold-call industry, then a concerted effort needs to be made by leading industry figures to de-commoditise e-mail marketing and ensure only the best practice survives. Are you listening, DMA E-mail Council?

Louis Halpern

Chief executive

Halpern Cowan Advertising

London NW6

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