Oprah Revolutionizes E-Mail

I’m not the world’s biggest Oprah fan. I’ve never even watched her program. But when you look at the facts, she’s nothing less than unstoppable. Just when you accept something as status quo, Oprah somehow takes it to the next level. And now she’s playing in the world of e-mail.

What did she do?

Inside the October edition of her “O” magazine is a full-page print add from Sephora. The ads looks like every other full-page print ad. But this ad actually has a direct marketing call to action in it that encourages people to sign up for e-mail from Sephora.

That’s right: an opt-in e-mail effort led by the branding team!

(I spoke about this at ClickZ’s E-Mail Marketing Conference last week. The presentation is available here.)

This is a truly revolutionary move in the e-mail space. Finally, the lines between advertising and marketing have been diminished. E-mail has evolved into the digital backbone of our customer media consumption and digital dialogue. In the next six to nine months, e-mail marketing will become more prevalent and redefine the way we leverage this channel.

Don’t believe this is the right way to go? Take a look at some recent statistics about the ROI (define) e-mail offers:

  • E-mail delivers the highest ROI by an eye-popping margin, according to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA): a whopping $57.25 for every dollar spent on it in 2005, $7.08 for every dollar spent on print catalogs, and $22.52 for every dollar spent on non-e-mail Internet marketing.

  • E-mail driven sales in the U.S. will show a compound annual growth of 14.9 percent from 2006 to 2011, according to the DMA.
  • Commercial e-mail generated $16.5 billion in U.S. sales in 2005, according to the DMA: $7.7 billion in consumer sales and $8.8 billion in business-to-business. The organization projects e-mail sales to grow to $18.5 billion in 2006 and $37 billion by 2011.
  • U.S. marketers spent $300 million on e-mail in 2005. They’re expected to spend $400 million on e-mail in 2006, an increase of 24.4 percent.

This is truly an exciting time for e-mail! If you’re an e-mail marketers, stay tuned for more revolutionary news. And if you run into Oprah or anyone at Sephora, thank them for taking this amazing step forward.

Vote for your favorite product or campaign for the 2006 ClickZ Marketing Excellence Awards, October 30 through close of business (5 pm EST) on November 8. Winners will be announced on November 13.

Want more e-mail marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our e-mail columns, organized by topic.

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