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Dec 12, 2005

Media Industry Shamed: Whose Email Lists Are Growing Fastest (and Whose Are Not)

SUMMARY: No summary available.
by Publisher Anne Holland

Last week MarketingSherpa's Research Director was interviewed by the folks over at Ad:Tech for their 'best speakers' newsletter. (You can see the interview below - they gave us permission to reprint it for you.)

The interview focused on new email data, with the biggest new factoid being that lists are growing on average at 40% per year.

I asked Stefan for more background info on this data he dug up with help from ESP ExactTarget -- which lists precisely are doing the best? And which aren't?

The winners:

- Social and professional organizations are adding the most names with 7.7% total monthly names added, minus 2.2% monthly unsubs and hard bounces. So in total those lists are growing by 5.4% per month on average.

My suggestion? Get involved with your trade association -- maybe run ads in their newsletters -- as well as explore social networking sites. Perhaps even private-label social networking software to use for your own online networking initiative (for example, a user group or brand fan-group.)

- Manufacturing companies' lists are the second-highest growers - with 6% total names added per month, .9% losses per month, equaling 5.1% overall monthly growth.

This should be good news to marketing consultants and agencies who've been trying to move often recalcitrant manufacturers into adding more email to their marketing mix for years now. The losers:

- Media and publishing companies' numbers are embarrassingly bad. Although the industry is second-best (or you could say second-most aggressive) at adding new names to file per month with a monthly add rate of 6.9%, it has a shockingly high 4.7% loss rate.

So media companies' lists are only growing at 2.2% per month on average.

Why? We don't have specific data (yet) on the underlying causes, but I can guess it's due partly to frequency of mailing. Media companies are more likely than other mailers to be sending daily or weekly. And 57% of consumers surveyed by Pew studies say 'high frequency' is a reason they'd consider a mailer a spammer -- yes, even if they give permission.

However, I also worry about the aggression of media companies' list growth. If you push too hard for more names, you may ignore common precautions that make the names ones you can count on for the long haul.

If you're evaluating list reports for your organization -- be sure to look at a variety of metrics instead of just "names added" or "list size total". You'll also need to know:

- Unsubscribes (If you see any unexpected bumps in this rate, watch out. Also, consider segmenting your list by less-than-90-days-new-names versus everyone else and watching unsub rates.)

- Inactives (names that have not clicked on anything in longer than a predetermined time period)

- Hard bounces/bad addresses (this should be fairly steady.)

Now I have to go ask our own list department these questions. Lucky them. P.S. Here's a link to that Ad:Tech interview with Stefan Tornquist our Research Director that I mentioned above:

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