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Holiday Marketing: Think Now, Think Email

empty-mall-at-christmas.jpgIt's not too early to start thinking about holiday marketing -- in fact, according to Brandweek, retailers and manufacturers who don't start thinking now may not make their Christmas 2007 numbers. The Consumer Confidence Index indicated a sharp decline in confidence this season, thanks in part to the housing market/credit crisis and increasing fuel costs. Store traffic is down, and smart retailers are decreasing inventory to avoid markdowns later. Reuters recommends you "temper your projections", like Target and Talbots are doing.

The good news? The season will be great for online shopping, with 84 percent of consumers spending as much or more online as they did during the 2006 holiday season. According to a recent Message Systems press release:

According to Doug Berger, director of Member Communications for the Direct Marketing Association, "For every dollar spent on email marketing in 2007, marketers can expect an estimated $48.29 ROI. Without a doubt, email marketing achieves the greatest ROI of all marketing channels we look at."

With the DMA's lucrative projected ROI on email marketing for 2007, marketers are expected to increasingly rely on email for critical sales promotions to attract the growing number of online shoppers, particularly for the upcoming holiday season. A sharp increase in outbound messages over normal activity can put a strain on a marketer's email system, resulting in slower delivery. Further, a marketer's inability to comply with ISP deliverability requirements can result in undelivered messages and strained relationships.

There are several things retailers can do to prepare their email delivery system for the holiday season. Whether email campaigns are handled in-house or outsourced to an email service provider (ESP), a high-performance email solution with virtual IP capability, bounce automation, real-time reporting, and tools to match ISP sending requirements are key considerations for achieving high email delivery rates and maintaining a good reputation with ISPs.

(Empty Mall at Christmas Image by Paul Keleher)