Customer acquisition via email is a tricky business. In the (B2C) business-to-consumer segment positive ROI is particularly difficult to achieve. (B2B) business-to-business marketers have considerably more success for a myriad of reasons that include higher price points for products and better targeting capabilities since consumer marketing is so broad-based.
Email marketing is always worth testing since it offers a low-cost channel that if viable can be a primary business driver. Most marketers are aware that building a data-leverage-able house file (internal customer and prospect databases), is a critical part of CRM. However too many companies miss the opportunity to leverage (make money) by not marketing and trading their customer data. Hampered by their own draconian privacy policies, marketers are ignoring list rental revenue as well as reciprocal opportunities with non-competitive partners. And it all stems from trying to protect customers/users from receiving supposedly unwanted emails.
You read it correctly. I am advocating that companies consider renting their customer names (more valuable) and even prospect names (less valuable but still some value), to curated third party marketers whose products and services would match up well with the house file.
The list rental business has been undergoing major changes in recent years as business and consumer mailing lists have dwindled in popularity and email lists have taken hold. Back in the 1980’s and 1990’s there were extremely few companies that were created simply to acquire and resell customer names. At the time birthday names were especially valuable. People would send a dollar (they would mail it as this was the 1980’s after all) to receive within a week their personal horoscope for the day on which they were born. A computer algorithm would spit out the horoscope and off it would go. In the process the marketer now had personal data – birthday, name, address, gender etc. Those names could then be rented to other marketers (permission marketing was still a long way away) and the real value was the multiple rentals of (list rentals are one-time use only), customer data to a wide variety of third party marketers. Cheesy – oh yes for sure. Successful? At times, wildly so.
To be clear, I am not suggesting a return to cheesiness. However I strongly feel that businesses that are struggling to make ends meet (there are more than a few) are not leveraging what is a valuable asset. We’ve all seen enough digital display advertising and retargeting ads to understand that people who looked at sites, bought things etc. have affinities for ancillary products. The right offer from the right third party marketer at the right time is of benefit to the recipient. People tend to not like to admit that. It’s as if they’d prefer drowning in a sea of irrelevant email and display offers.
For marketers remember you have gold contained in your customer data. I know many companies that would love to trade data (in a reciprocal arrangement your customer data to them their customer data to you), or rent that data.