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Study: Catalogers Excel in E-mail

Consumers are responding best to e-mail marketing from catalogers and retailers than from many other industries, according to findings from DoubleClick .

The New York-based company, which studied e-mail campaigns that it distributed for clients, suggests that marketers in the catalog and retail industries on average see greater numbers of click-throughs and e-mails being forwarded to others than do DoubleClick's clients in other major industries.

According to the firm, catalogers' e-mails see average click-throughs of 9.5 percent, while retail marketers' e-mail comes in at slightly less, at 9.1 percent. Retail leads in the percentage of e-mails forwarded, at 0.6 percent, while 0.4 percent of e-mails from catalog marketers were passed along.

Response rates were markedly lower for other segments. Entertainment and financial services marketers produced click-throughs of 6.2 and 6 percent, respectively, and 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent pass-along rates. B2B campaigns and hospitality services posted click-throughs of 4.6 percent and 4.4 percent, and about 0.2 percent of recipients forwarded campaigns.

The data would seem to suggest that retailers and catalog marketers are doing some of the best jobs in using e-mail to deliver messages relevant to recipients, and to their colleagues or friends. Potentially, at least, it's because of the industries' strong background in direct marketing best-practices, which they've brought online.

"I think the reasons you're seen such strong results is they are traditional direct marketers who are doing testing the way they should be and incorporating it with a full-blown multi-channel strategy," said Genevieve Mallgrave, vice president and general manager of direct marketing at DoubleClick. "No cataloger would do a drop of three million catalogs without testing it first, and the same principals apply online as offline."

She added that most clients who opt to not do segmentation or testing do so because of e-mail's relative inexpensiveness, as compared to offline direct channels, where segmentation is more common.

"But what these people miss is the opportunity cost," she said. "You want to make sure you're matching the right offer with the right individual."

DoubleClick's analysis of e-mail campaign data also suggested that customers are more likely to respond to marketers' mailings if they arrive during the middle of the week. On the other hand, publishers' e-mail newsletters (and embedded advertising) seems to receive the most attention during the weekend.

Between Tuesdays and Thursdays, click-through rates for marketers' mailings rise above the average, to 6.5 percent. Publishers' click-through rates hit 9.4 percent during weekends, potentially as a result of the greater amount of leisure time afforded to readers outside of the workweek.

DoubleClick said it intends to release findings from its study of e-mail campaigns quarterly.