E-mail marketers must work even harder to differentiate their campaigns from 'spam' (unwanted e-mail), both in the mind of the consumer and on a technological level. New research from industry analyst, Gartner Inc., suggests that up to 80% of marketing e-mails will be 'blacklisted' by 2005 thanks to content control and anti-spam systems.
Approximately 50% of e-mail traffic in 2003 is considered to be 'spam' and, by mid-2004, it will grow to 60%, according to Gartner. Consequently, by 2005, the firm predicts that content managers, rule-based software, and ISPs (internet service providers) will effectively block or blacklist 80% of all e-mail marketing campaigns, even including permission-based e-mail.
"Most marketers today find that the pressure to achieve cost benefits far outweighs consideration for the e-mail's usefulness to customers," said Adam Sarner, industry analyst for Gartner. "Before customers ignore this valuable medium, marketers must start again by clearly identifying their customer base, surveying their customers as to the types of e-mail they would like to receive, and then delivering on that feedback and giving customers a way to update their preferences frequently."
E-mail gets results
When used efficiently, e-mail marketing is an effective communication tool. According to Gartner analysts, a well-crafted e-mail can get as much as a 15% response rate, compared with less than 1% for banner ads on web sites. And, using e-mail campaigns, a company can collect real-time information about its customers and use that data to anticipate customer needs.
"Because e-mail can be effective and is less expensive than traditional marketing methods, by the end of 2004 more than 80% of companies engaged in direct marketing will conduct at least one e-mail marketing campaign," said Sarner. "It is therefore imperative that marketers start now to differentiate their e-mail campaigns from spam by focusing on communication, personalisation and delivery expertise."
The recent Gartner research note, Marketers Can Differentiate E-Mail From Spam, provides more information and analysis on how marketers can distribute effective, targeted e-mail campaigns that customers will be able to read. The document is available from Gartner's web site.