November 21, 2007

Theoretical Catalog Circulation And E-Mail Question

Catalog circulation is a beautiful blend of art and science.

When you send a catalog that costs $0.80, you must generate a suitable return on investment. In other words, short-term plus long-term profit must exceed this huge cost threshold, or you cannot afford to mail the catalog. Out of necessity, the catalog circulation manager must be scientific, must be rigorous, must focus on every tiny detail.

E-Mail marketers never had to deal with this challenge, given that the discipline, on a variable cost basis, is close to free. The cost structure encourages vastly different behavior. The e-mail marketer can be much less rigorous, and yet be far more successful than the catalog circulation expert.

Take the example of an e-mail opt-in subscriber who failed to interact with any of the past forty weekly e-mail campaigns your company chose to send to this customer.

E-mail marketers, please make a case for whether this customer should or should not receive next week's e-mail campaign (which has essentially no variable cost associated with it), given that the customer chose to ignore the past forty campaigns, and that the customer gave you no inclination that the customer does not want to see future campaigns.