• October 1, 2003
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Marketing Automation Under Attack

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Traditional marketing automation methods are under attack. From email to direct mail and even telemarketing calls, marketers are finding it increasingly more difficult to reach out to customers. The excessive use of generic marketing blasts has brought consumers to the brink of frustration, as evidenced by the overwhelming response rate to the Do-Not-Call legislation. By Labor Day weekend more than 48 million phone numbers were registered with the Do-Not-Call registry, of which 6 million registered over the holiday weekend to beat the August 31 deadline that requires telemarketers to stop calling after October 1. But consumer frustration does not end there. Consumers are conditioned to instantly discard junk mail. And, on the email side, more consumers are blocking unwanted marketing emails with spam filters, according to Ian Jacobs, enterprise software analyst at analysis firm the451. So discouraged by these intrusions are consumers that some analysts say the success of the Do-Not-Call registry will likely spawn additional Do-Not-Contact legislation. Chris Selland, managing director and founder of Reservoir Partners, suggests that a Do-Not-Email bill will be enacted within the next 12 to 18 months. "It's a political issue. There is almost 100 percent consumer support for Do-Not-Email legislation, because consumers are tired of getting Viagra and [related] emails in their email box every morning," Selland says. Selland's time line for Do-Not-Email legislation comes with a high level of confidence, especially considering legislation sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer (D.-NY) is already on the congressional table. Sen. Schumer's Stop Pornography and Abusive Marketing Act--the SPAM Act--aims to crack down on pornographic email sent to children. With pushback from both consumers and legislators, it is growing painfully clear that marketers can no longer merely cast their marketing nets to see what they can catch. Marketing campaigns have to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. Instead of sending out a blanket marketing campaign, organizations must now segment campaigns by such criteria as age, sex, location, interest, and buying patterns. For this reason marketers stand to benefit from marketing automation solutions. "[Marketers] can't just throw money into a black hole. They need to see a return," Jacobs says. According to Jacobs, marketing automation combined with analytics saves money: Companies send fewer messages that annoy fewer people, because the messages are targeted. Marketers can prepare for the pending Do-Not-Contact legislation, Selland says, by digitally communicating with customers using opt-in solutions that automate such outbound communications as account renewals, schedule changes, or marketing programs via email, wireless handheld device, or mobile phone. Jacobs suggests instead of bombarding consumers with messages, get them to come to you through such customer touch points as an inbound call center. Once customers call in, he says, try to cross-sell or upsell products or services to them. Just 1 Question CRM
magazine: Is the recent emergence of more CRM players in the ASP space a validation of the model, or a sign that competition will shift the balance of power? Mike Doyle, chairman and CEO, Salesnet: We welcome the competition, since it further justifies the business model. The delivery model is effective and is proving its worth, and others are on the right path to get into the game. It's important to differentiate to keep winning customers, but this is a huge market, so of course there will be competition.
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