Europeans still want opt-in e-mail marketing

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on August 8, 2008

More than 70% of adults in the United Kingdom have given their permission for at least one company they have dealt with to use their e-mail address for marketing purposes, according to a research report from data marketing specialists GI Insight.

The study found that, during the previous six months, 74.4% of UK adults had given permission for marketing emails to at least one company they buy from regularly, while 39.9% said they had given email marketing permission to at least one company from which they had not yet made a purchase.

A brighter e-marketing future
With the advent of huge levels of spam, along with increasing restrictions on email marketing within the European Union, many marketers are now looking for hard evidence about the effectiveness of permission-based email marketing.

The results of the study were both enlightening and surprising, providing validation of the efficiency of collecting customer permissions for email marketing.

E-qualified prospects
But equally impressive was the statistic for email permission with firms from which a consumer has not yet bought anything (39.9%). According to GI Insight, these permission-givers are usually people who have made an enquiry through a company's web site (typically to download an e-voucher or to ask for a quote, etc.), thus indicating that they might already be in the market for the company's products or services.

According to Andy Wood, managing director for GI Insight, "There is evidently a great willingness among UK consumers to allow firms with which they already do business to use email as a communication channel. However, marketers must not be seduced by the low cost of email, and place too much reliance on this medium to meet their revenue generation targets."

In fact, anecdotal evidence from actual practitioners shows that combining email marketing with direct mail produces conversion-to-sale rates ten times higher than when email is used stand-alone.

Best and worst at e-relationships
The study also asked respondents to score different industry sectors as to how well customer relationship management was delivered through e-channels (such as email). The results fell into two clear blocks:

  • Retail businesses (i.e. supermarkets, fashion, e-commerce, department stores, music & DVD) scored above average in the consumer's mind, with supermarkets being clearly a long way in the lead;
  • Financial services (i.e. banks, building societies, insurance companies, credit card, and mobile phone companies) were all rated as being below average.

"As well as being a testimony to the success of retail in leading the CRM revolution, this survey is also a wake-up call for financial services firms, especially the UK's banks who (despite investments of millions of pounds in CRM systems) still report an average of less than two products per customer. Now is the time to re-examine channel strategies, whether for cross-selling or for affinity activity, to stay ahead of the competition," concluded Wood.

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