Research Validates Efficacy of “Permission to Email”


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The latest research from GI Insight has found that, in the last six months, 74.4% of UK adults have given ‘permission to email’ to at least one company they buy from regularly. Furthermore, 39.9% have given permission to at least one company they have not yet bought from.

With the advent of huge spam levels, alongside restriction on email marketing from the EU, marketers are looking for evidence about the effectiveness of permission email to customers and prospects.

The results of the research were enlightening and surprising, providing a major validation of the efficacy of collecting permission emails from the customer base. Equally eye-opening was the statistic for email permission with firms from which a consumer has not yet bought. These permission-givers will be people who have made an enquiry through a company’s website – typically to download an e-voucher, or get a quote on a financial services product, or enquire about a holiday, and so on. In other words, they have already indicated that they might be in the market for the company’s products or services, and so may be justifiably labelled and qualified ‘prospect’, rather than merely a ‘suspect’

Andy Wood, Managing Director, GI Insight, comments: “There is evidently a great willingness amongst the UK population to allow firms with which they already do business to use email as a communication channel. However, marketers must not be seduced by the low cost of email, to place over-reliance on this medium to meet their revenue generation targets. Anecdotal evidence from actual practitioners shows that combining email marketing with direct mail produces conversion-to-sale rates seven to ten times higher than when email is used stand-alone”

The study also asked respondents to score different industry sectors as to how well they felt customer relationship management was delivered over e-channels such as email. The results fell into two clear blocks. Retail businesses (Supermarkets, Fashion, e-Commerce, Department Stores, Music/DVD) scored above average in the consumer’s mind, with Supermarkets clearly a long way in the lead. In contrast, financial services (Banks, Building Societies, Insurance and Credit Card) and mobile phone companies were all rated as below average.

Andy Wood, adds: “As well as being a testimony to the success of retail in leading the CRM revolution, the results of this survey also act as a wake-up call for financial services firms, especially banks who, despite investments of millions in CRM systems, still in the UK only have – on average – less than two products-per-customer. Banking, Credit Card, Insurance, Mortgage Finance, and Mobile Phone are all experiencing heightened levels of competition, in part as a result of the credit crunch and an impending recession. Now is the time to re-examine channel strategies, whether for cross-selling or for affinity activity, to stay ahead of the competition in these sectors.”

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