It pays to invest in email innovation

There has been much written in these very email missives about the necessity for creativity and innovation in physical direct mail communication, in addition to improved targeting, to build engagement with consumers and drive response rates.  

And of course, those arguments are entirely valid in a channel that is suffering from negative perception and declining volumes. However, fewer polemics are launched about electronic mail – about its relevance, creativity and hit-rates.

But there needs to be, as evidence is growing that consumers are becoming irked by lazy, irrelevant, untargeted emails devoid of creativity.

Research conducted by TNS Omnibus on behalf of Kognitio found that 52% of consumers treat “legitimate” marketing emails the same as spam, ignoring both. Almost three-quarters (73%) of consumers believe that businesses will send them anything, regardless of its relevance and more than half (59%) of consumers believe that tougher legislation is needed to control the spread of unwanted email marketing.

Given that almost £5bn a year is spent on email marketing, such data should not be ignored or a considerable amount of money will be wasted and a lot of consumers alienated.

However, 64% of the 2000+ people polled say they would happily read marketing emails if they felt it was relevant to them and accurately targeted. Seems entirely straightforward, doesn’t it?

One company that seems to have got the message (pun intended) is HMV. I received a rather proud email last week from Experian CheetahMail.

The press release trumpeted the fact it had “integrated streaming video” into HMV’s email campaigns. As technologically impressive as that no doubt is, what perhaps more was interesting to marketers is the fact that Experian claims that said innovation tripled click through rates.

I have absolutely no idea how unique the streaming of video is, but what I do know that such innovation increases the appeal of email, engages consumers and will ultimately increase return on investment.

Of course, such technology costs but other innovative methods will not require the same outlay and more imagination (coupled with better targeting) will pay in the end.     

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