Is Lack of Control an Issue?
If done correctly email marketing is very profitable. But does a lack of control with performance-based email marketing compromise business success?
Email marketing is without doubt a hugely successful approach for both retention and acquisition marketing. Techniques have now become very sophisticated, and integration with other marketing channels has maximised the potential returns from email marketing campaigns. In addition, the relatively low cost of testing what works (in terms of message, creative, target audience etc.) makes email marketing a very flexible way to refine your marketing activities and improve results. With its popularity continuing to increase, it is therefore not surprising that there are now several different models that are used to price email marketing – such as buying a managed service, or buying an email list or paying on a cost per lead basis. So, which one should you choose? On the surface, the cost per lead model seems a “no-brainer” – because you only pay for each lead generated, rather than for every prospect the email is sent to. However this increase in performance based marketing (lead generation on a cost per lead basis) does have some downsides. For example, a client will brief an agency on what is needed, and the agency will then source different providers to obtain the relevant email data needed for the campaigns. So far so good – but there are only a very limited number of data sources, although there are many email data providers to work with. In the end, working with multiple performance-based marketing agencies can lead to target customers receiving multiple examples of the same email, as each company is working in isolation from each other. This is about as far removed from good target marketing as you can get – and a total waste of money! Here is a real life example: At Market Location, we work directly with a blue chip client on customer acquisition email marketing campaigns. We provide email data for them to manage their own email sends, as well as direct mail and telemarketing data for their call centre. This is a tightly controlled environment; they only work with one data provider, so are able to ensure that any duplicate customers are removed and the recipient communication is fully managed. This seems straight forward enough, but then performance marketing is introduced – i.e. where the company pays other agencies on a cost per lead basis. What could be better for a client? Well, surprisingly perhaps, we also work with that same payment provider through a performance based agency. Although unusual, their different creative treatments are broadcast, and we are able to manage the number of emails a recipient receives. However, this is where it gets complicated: The client also works with two companies who licence our data on an ad hoc basis, and we have received the same performance brief through another two agencies that are offering the identical creative to what we are already sending. In other words, in the client’s eyes they are sending one or two emails a month to an individual, when in reality they could be sending as many as seven. These are, of course, just the ones that come across our desk – yet an email address is related to an individual, which means as well as it appearing on our database it could be on numerous others. How many emails could one person receive in a month?! Fighting a lack of control This lack of control is worrying. Clearly, the client wastes a lot of money. But in addition to that, the recipient who is receiving multiple emails is going to get annoyed. This ensures the message becomes diluted at the same time as making your business or brand look very unprofessional. Furthermore, a lack of management in regard to performance marketing also means that the client’s customers get a lot of prospecting emails. Ask yourself: is this okay? Of course it isn’t. Why on earth would you need to send multiple emails to the same recipient? Naturally this is a situation that could be easily rectified, but no one seems to want to. All a client would need to do is ask all their data suppliers to upload data to match and de-dupe against others and output the net records. This may cost the client extra money, but which client wouldn’t want to protect their brand?