Specialists Marketing Services, Inc.
1200 Harbor Blvd.
Weehawken, NJ 07086
Executive Vice President, B2B DivisionSpecialists Marketing Services, Inc.
For 2007, Peter Candito, executive VP, BtoB Division at Specialists Marketing Services, forecasts consistent overall growth in e-marketing, affecting both list brokers and list management. "We’re seeing b-to-b marketers embracing email as a prospecting medium," he says "and the reason is pretty simple. A lot of b-to-b email lists have come on the market from known entities with good brand names, both trade publications and events, that mailers trust."
For consumer lists, the landscape is different. Consumer list owners are much slower bringing email lists to the market and are definitely tentative about third-party emailing across their lists, according to Candito. Privacy concerns are much greater in the consumer market, so very few brand-name consumer lists have become available. "What there is in the consumer marketplace," he says, "are a lot of huge, multi-source databases where portals have collected email addresses from various partner sites. That’s a much more difficult scene to work through as a broker and as a mailer."
That said, consumer marketers are extensively emailing their own customers, using email as a customer relationship tool. And that’s an integral part of e-marketing today. Companies are increasingly concentrating on integrating multi-channel marketing, email, direct mail, and (especially in the b-to-b market) telemarketing, into both their prospecting and their customer relationship functions. "The right mix depends on your business, the strength of your email file compared to your postal file, timing issues and other considerations," says Candito. An application might not be appropriate for email today, for example, but it may be six months from now.
"You don’t want to overload your customer and prospect base with emails," he says. "Nor do you want to do email exclusively, because direct mail is extremely important as both a prospecting tool and a customer relationship tool. Some people simply respond better to direct mail." The challenge, Candito suggests, is to determine the right mix. Earlier this year, Specialists Marketing Services created its Specialists MultiChannel Solutions Division, which includes modeling and data analytics that apply to email as well as to postal campaigns.
Candito sees a lot of companies doing the right things in terms of communicating consistently with their own customers and prospects. "Many companies started doing email because it was easy, cost-effective and quick," he says, "and the response rates and click-through rates in the early days were very high. Companies could decide one day that they wanted to be in the email the following week;and they could be. That would be very difficult to do in print. As a result, we saw a dip in direct mail volume in favor of email."
Email response rates have since leveled off. "Obviously," Candito explains, "they have gone down because there’s a lot more activity and more recipient awareness. That’s why the multi-channel mix is so important. Most email lists are 30 percent of the list owner’s postal universe. So if you just do email, you’re probably reaching only 30 percent of the market."
Again, because of list availability, b-to-b companies have a lot more opportunity to apply a multi-channel mix. "Most of our b-to-b mailers and list owners who are applying a good integration of the three mediums;and it doesn’t necessarily have to include all three;are very successful at it. As data brokers and data managers, we hope that consumer marketers will bring more of their brand-name email lists to the market;but it just isn’t happening very quickly."
Specialists Marketing Services email clients include Primedia, Earthlink, Quiznos, Oracle, WebX, Intuit, Salesforce.com.