E-Mail and Text Us, Consumers Say: eMarketer

Just send something.

NOVEMBER 16, 2007 � When US consumers say they are interested in a company, more than one-half of them are open to getting an interactive follow-up such as a personalized or generic e-mail, or text message, according to Vertis’ “2007 Customer Focus Tech Savvy” study.

Vertis found that 40% of men 65 and older said that an interactive follow-up was acceptable, compared with 23% of female consumers that age.

“Adding an Internet component to direct mail campaigns targeting the older population may greatly increase the overall effectiveness of marketers� spending,” said Jim Litwin, vice president of market insights for Vertis, in a statement.

For many US retailers, the problem is that even when they have an e-mail sign-up program, many do not follow up with consumers. Two-thirds of personal care companies surveyed sent neither a welcoming e-mail nor a sales offer, according to the October 2006 E-Mail Data Source’s �2006 Retail White Paper� report.

Even in the hardware industry, where only 16.67% of respondents sent no e-mail, that is 16.67% too much.

Such behavior might be seen as similar to unsolicited commercial e-mails, the �better� quality of spam. In both cases, the consumer gets confused and frustrated, and the whole e-mail marketing environment is degraded.

Even those respondents who sent only a welcome message in the first month�such as about 18% of apparel retailers and 14% of department stores�might be considered tardy if they fail to send the e-mail within a few days.

“Just as the CAN-SPAM Act makes it illegal for marketers to take longer than 10 business days to unsubscribe someone from their e-mail program, perhaps it is unwise (if not illegal) to take longer than 10 days to respond to a customer who has subscribed on a company site,” said David Hallerman, senior analyst at eMarketer.

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