The Grinch may have captured the minds of holiday shoppers and marketers last year, but this holiday season holds great promise for those smart companies that see the power in email databases and communications strategies.
As we sweat through the dog days of summer, it's hard to believe that the 2001 holiday season is just around the corner. In fact, the big bell that denotes the start of the holly-jolly shopping season will ring in fewer than 140 days. And although Old Saint Nick and his crew have been making this trip for hundreds of years, many people still choose not to emulate Santa's ways, waiting instead until the last possible minute to make their lists and check them twice. In turn, these poor souls typically find themselves with the post-holiday blues, in a funk due to lost sales opportunities that last through a dateless New Year's Eve.
Like many of you, I read the research reports that show significant year-over-year increases in acceptance of the Internet as a powerful shopping and buying channel during this peak season. Online retailers, according to a new study from The Boston Consulting Group, have been focusing their marketing efforts on targeted campaigns and have moved almost entirely away from offline mass media. As a result, spending on print advertising decreased almost 22 percent during 2000, resting at just 13 percent of overall budgets in the first quarter of 2001. The bulk of retailer dollars went to support email campaigns through banner ads, affiliate deals, catalogs, direct mail, and other programs.
So here's a tip for the folks who have spent the first half of the summer catching up on trashy romance novels while dabbing sunscreen on their noses: Spend some time this month planning your strategy for leveraging the most cost-efficient and effective customer acquisition and retention tool in your marketing arsenal. Put down that paperback, and pick up that yellow pad. Here are some sparks to get the flame going:
Long recognized as one of the direct response industry's premier innovators and a pioneer in e-mail communications, Al DiGuido brings over 20 years of marketing, sales, management, and operations expertise to his role as CEO of full-service digital marketing company Zeta Interactive. Formerly Epsilon Interactive's CEO, DiGuido also served as CEO of Bigfoot Interactive, CEO of Expression Engines, EVP at Ziff Davis, and publisher of Computer Shopper, where he launched ComputerShopper.com, a groundbreaking direct-to-consumer e-commerce engine. Prior to Ziff Davis, he was VP/advertising director for Sports Inc. DiGuido also serves on the Direct Marketing Association's Ethics Policy Committee.
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