I'm doing some research for a project and I came across this excellent article. What struck me was how timely it was....and that it was written by Jonathan Jackson way back in 2001. I don't know what happened to Jonathan. I can't find anything he has written in the past few years...I guess he said all that needed to be said.
eMail marketing: it's not just for the big players anymore. According to a new study, small businesses in the US are turning to e-mail marketing in droves. And the results are impressive.
The study found that 11% of small businesses used e-mail marketing in 2000. By the end of this year, 16% of small businesses will be using e-mail marketing, and that figure will ramp up to 42% by 2005. Spending by those small businesses on e-mail marketing was $211 million last year but that will balloon to $2.2 billion by the year 2005.
These are encouraging numbers. While much attention has been focused on huge brick-and-mortar companies using e-mail as a marketing tool, we now see that the smaller players are getting in on the act.
In the past, small companies could never hope to compete with the Fortune 100 in terms of direct marketing dollars. But compared to other forms of direct marketing (e.g. direct mail and telemarketing), e-mail is extremely inexpensive. In other words, the mom and pop convenience store now has a potent marketing tool to compete with the huge conglomerate at the strip mall.
The key to e-mail's power, particularly at the local level, is that it is targeted and personal. Indeed, no marketing communications medium exists that is more targetable, customizable and flexible than e-mail. That is why e-mail is revolutionizing direct marketing. eMail direct marketing, when done correctly, can overcome the limitations of traditional direct marketing by offering limitless targeting ability at pennies per e-mail and allowing marketers to have a one-to-one conversation with each of their customers.
With proper targeting, tracking tools and a carefully built opt-in list, e-mail can be highly personalized to the needs of individual customers. Communications sent on behalf of companies from messaging solution providers can be targeted and customized using sophisticated database marketing techniques. The technology can capture and track individual responses throughout the campaign, "learn" more about customers from response and purchase behavior, and refine customer profiles for future communications.
Packaged e-mail-marketing software and outsourced e-mail-marketing services leverage customer and CRM databases, allowing companies to create and send highly targeted and customized e-mail campaigns for maximum response. For personalizing messages, these programs not only use standard mail merge operations, but can also make all or part of the entire content of marketing messages conditional on one or some database attributes, such as the interests, transactional behavior or personal characteristics of list members. Dynamically assembled e-mail based on past purchase and response profiles promises to bring marketers closer than ever before to one-on-one marketing capability.
It seems that with e-mail marketing, we may finally be approaching that heralded goal of one-to-one marketing. This has been bruited about in marketing circles for some time but, as with many great ideas, it was more talk than reality. But now the technology is in place to bring this to fruition. And it appears that small businesses will be leading the way.