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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  21 May 2013

MARKETING: Why An Updated E-mail Database is Still Important


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British Airways (BA) is renowned for its brilliant advertising campaigns. Its ‘winking face’ television spot charmed viewers during the 1990’s. It depicted a group of people from all around the world moving together to form a smiley, winking face in the airline’s colours (red, white and blue) to the sound of Malcolm McLaren’s upbeat classical song, Aria on Air. To this day, that commercial is regarded as being one of the most iconic ads of all time.

Of course, not many companies are globally recognised brands fortunate enough to have millions at their disposal to make television ads that can be aired during primetime slots in various countries. However, sometimes even a major airline with a soaring marketing budget resorts to a form of marketing that is affordable to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well: database marketing.

Those who think that e-mail is dead, consider these statistics: digital marketing research firm Radicati Group forecasts that the number of worldwide e-mail accounts is expected to increase from an installed base of 3.1 billion in 2011 to almost 4.1 billion by year-end 2015. While consumer e-mail accounts make up the majority of the e-mail accounts in the world – representing 75% of all mailboxes – Radicati expects corporate e-mail accounts, which right now amounts to 25%, to increase at a faster pace than consumer e-mail accounts in the next four years.

The increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets are also contributing to the ongoing popularity of e-mail as a medium, says Louise Robinson, Managing Director of CG Consulting, a Cape Town-based strategic marketing consultancy specialising in up-to-date database creation. “These days no one needs to be tethered to a desktop to receive e-mail. Everyone wielding a smartphone or a tablet can be reached via e-mail wherever they are, even when they are on the go,” Robinson says. “This is why the databases we create for our clients always include accurate and current direct e-mail addresses for their prospective clients.”

Even BA resorted to an e-mail database recently. In order to promote one of its new mobile apps, the airline developed a highly targeted e-mail campaign – aimed at both smartphone and desktop users – which was sent out to all the contacts listed on its customer e-mail database. The campaign was highly effective, and the app was downloaded more than 250 000 times, which was more than double the target amount.

Robinson believes that databased-based marketing campaigns are so successful, because they are a targeted approach. Her opinion is backed up by statistics. A survey conducted by ExtraTarget revealed that online consumers prefer receiving permission-based marketing messages by 77%, as opposed to direct mail, which came in second at 9%, followed by text messaging at 5%. MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report disclosed that e-mail marketing is still the most used lead generation tactic, with 81% of respondents. According to the report, social media accounts for 72%, direct mail for 40% and mobile marketing for 15%.

“These statistics show that getting to the right prospects is an effective and affordable tool, and how essential it is to possess an up-to-date, accurate database of your potential and existing clients,” Robinson says. “This marketing list is a potential goldmine, and can provide your company with a leg up on the competition. Even in large, established companies with extensive customer lists, huge opportunities are often missed due to inaccurate and outdated databases.”

Robinson acknowledges that compiling and maintaining accurate databases is a time consuming effort. “That is why we have has a dedicated division that specialises in compiling corporate database lists. We have years of B2B (business-to-business) telemarketing and database profiling experience. We can assist any company by helping to profile their target market and update their databases.”

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