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Email marketing – is it all just junk mail?

by: isev

on: 3rd August, 2011

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Over the last couple of decades direct marketing has transformed dramatically. Although ‘junk’ mail still exists, organisations have come on leaps and bounds from a time not long ago, when a single un-targeted email was sent out to as many people as possible. The vast majority of brands have got to grips with the targeted approach.

Customers prefer not to receive adverts in the post and are becoming much more savvy when it comes to staying off mailing lists. Also organisations are now more meticulous than ever when it comes to targeting the right people. By targeting the right audience, organisations cut waste and increase return on investment.

The BBC show Panorama recently investigated the topic of direct mail and ‘junk’ mail. The show did help to elaborate on why these term’s are no longer interchangeable, however before the show aired there was speculation from Marketing Week’s News Editor, Russell Parsons. He commented that the show was likely to give an ‘un-balanced’ insight that does not reflect direct marketing practices at present.

‘What it will show, I can speculate, is a series of extreme examples of poor unsuspecting souls … that are barely able to breathe under the sheer weight of unsolicited mail. It will also, I wager, throw some pretty numbers to illustrate the cost of recycling discarded mail,’ he said.

Mr Parsons did however confess that there was indeed ‘justifiable criticism’ regarding direct mail and email marketing, especially when it came to ‘blanket bombing’ strategies. However marketing tactics are very different in 2011.

Mr Parsons went on to describe how a long time ago marketers realised the benefits of targeting. Importantly targeting specific audiences saves money, it also stops displeasing any prospective consumers by bombarding them with inappropriate information for their personal needs.

He described how, a long time ago, marketers designing direct mail campaigns began to recognise the importance of targeting. Not only does it save them money, but it also helps firms avoid upsetting prospects by over-mailing them with things irrelevant to their business interests.

Organisations are continuing to research email marketing and using social media, however direct mail is unlikely to be wiped out by digital channels, as long as it keeps bringing in attractive returns that is.

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