Why Aren’t More Industrial Companies Using Email for Direct Marketing?

Posted on Jun 23, 2009 by Kerry O'Malley

I just read the results of a direct marketing survey that revealed that  80% of the B2Bcompanies surveyed said they maintain a sales lead or  inquiry database; but only 50% use it regularly for direct marketing.  To  the other 50%, I ask – what’s the point of maintaining the database?

A successful marketing communications plan should incorporate as  many forms of media as possible.  People don’t just go to one or two sources for business solutions and information any more.  It’s not time to throw out all traditional marketing methods yet – but industrial marketers could make their marketing efforts more effective if they combined the Internet’s technology with the intelligent use of customer and prospect databases.

I have to admit, I just recently embraced Web 2.0 technologies and began marketing my own company through e-newsletters, blog streams, and email ads.  I don’t consider myself an Internet marketing specialist, but rather an industrial marketing communications generalist.  That being said, the cost-effective benefits that targeted direct marketing offer are simply too compelling to ignore.

Targeted Email vs. Mass Marketing

1.  While traditional marketing techniques (mailings, print advertising, trade show exhibits) typically yield response rates ranging from 0.5 to 2 percent, targeted direct marketing technologies are considerably more effective.

2.  With segmented e-mail marketing and e-newsletter campaigns, industrial marketers can realize 40 percent open rates, 10-20 percent click rates and opt-out rates of less than 1 percent.

3.  Targeted direct marketing allows marketers to build and refine an in-house database of customers and prospects, then deliver relevant, focused messages to segmented markets.

4.  Targeted e-mail remains the most efficient direct marketing tool. Compared to printed direct mail, e-mail significantly reduces distribution costs (printing, handling, postage) and, because it’s online, fulfillment is as easy as a click of the mouse.

I’m also more likely to hear negative comments from the industrial customers I work with when I propose a direct marketing strategy through email.  There seems to be a bias, a feeling that the companies who are using this approach are an annoyance to people and simply flood email inboxes with useless information.  This is obviously key.  If you’re going to use email as a channel for direct marketing, make sure what you’re sending is USEFUL and relevant to that target audience.

Clearly, a more advanced and sophisticated strategy is required in marketing these days, even industrial marketing – ideally a multi channel approach that incorporates both online and offline communication while capitalizing on the “touch points” offered by Web technologies.

Author: Kerry O'Malley


Marketects was founded in 1999 by Kerry O’Malley, a proven marketing communications professional in international, manufacturing companies. Working on the “other side of the desk,” she hired ad agencies to manage her employers’ advertising and P/R programs. Frustrated over the lack of attention and level of enthusiasm she was looking for in the marketing agencies she worked with, Kerry realized that there was a definite need for a full-service marketing firm that specialized in working with industrial companies. She resolved that her clients would always receive the highest level of service possible and never feel like the last kid chosen for the team.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *