March 26, 2009

Modern Catalog Marketing: E-Mail Marketing

Many catalogers spend way too little time thinking about e-mail marketing.

The modern catalog marketer views the world in a different way.

The modern catalog marketer actively tests varying combinations of catalog mailings and e-mail campaigns to comparable audiences. These folks (those who execute the tests) frequently learn a secret --- e-mail marketing is a much stronger marketing channel when catalogs don't exist.

In the rapid segmentation process, the modern catalog marketer wants to quickly assign customers into the "digital marketing" path. These customers see a reduced diet of catalogs, with the cataloger attempting to make up some of the volume with inexpensive e-mail marketing campaigns. It doesn't always work out this way, but you have to run the tests, don't you?

The modern catalog marketer uses tools like e-mail to introduce new items without having to spend money on expensive paper to subsidize awareness.

The modern catalog marketer realizes that a lack of an e-mail address results in a more likely assignment into the "traditional marketing" segment.

The modern catalog marketer has between five and twenty different versions of an e-mail campaign, assigning different customers to different versions.

The modern catalog marketer uses clickstream data (i.e. what the customer looked at), merchandise purchased, recency/frequency/monetary, and customer preferences to determine which version of an e-mail campaign the customer receives.

The modern catalog marketer does not measure e-mail campaign success by open rates, click through rates, or conversion rates. The modern catalog marketer evaluates e-mail performance based on the change in annual retention rate, and change in annual customer profitability, caused by e-mail marketing.

The modern catalog marketer is very willing to deliver a month's worth of e-mail campaigns that do not sell a single item.

Conversely, the modern catalog marketer actively plans the sales per e-mail at a customer segment level, planning these metrics months in advance.

The modern catalog marketer is willing to accept $0.05 per e-mail delivered without a promotion, and is willing to forgo $0.15 per e-mail delivered with a free shipping or %-off offer.

The modern catalog marketer lets the customer determine contact frequency.

The modern catalog marketer gives the e-mail department a seat at the leadership table.

The modern catalog marketer knows exactly how much of paid search expense is caused by e-mail marketing, and blends that aspect of paid search expense (and conversion) into the e-mail profit and loss statement.

The modern catalog marketer runs matchback analytics with e-mail getting more priority than catalog marketing, just to understand what the results imply/suggest.

The modern catalog marketer executes a post-mortem of every single e-mail marketing campaign, analyzing every item offered in every version of the campaign. Every link in every e-mail campaign is analyzed. The merchandising, inventory, creative, web production team, online marketing team, catalog circulation team, and e-mail marketing teams are all present. The CEO participates on a quarterly basis, if not more often.

The modern catalog marketer tests every possible creative treatment, blatantly disregarding established best practices in an endless thirst to discover new and exciting ways to present merchandise.

The modern catalog marketer realizes that e-mail marketing is about merchandising and service, not about geeky metrics and tactics.

The modern catalog marketer instinctively knows how every single item will perform if offered in an e-mail campaign, and actively shares that information with every employee in the company.

The modern catalog marketer "households" e-mail addresses. In other words, the modern catalog marketer will combine and, and evaluates the performance of the all e-mail marketing activities at the "household" level.

As you can see, the modern catalog marketer views e-mail very differently than the way the average catalog marketer views e-mail marketing.


  1. Anonymous4:20 AM

    Another excellent post. Thanks, Kevin!

  2. Hopefully people will find the series of articles useful, thank you!


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