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Mar 10, 2005
Event Wrap-up

Quick Wrap-Up Notes: Bigfoot Interactive Email Summit Attendees Reveal 5 Frustrations

SUMMARY: What's making major emailers grit their teeth with frustration? Surprise -- deliverability's not on the list. Turns out most problems these days can be summed up as office politics. Discover what marketers at the Summit told us in their own words.
200 emailers, including execs from JP Morgan Chase and Tommy Hilfiger, converged in New York this Tuesday for Bigfoot Interactive's 2nd annual Summit.

MarketingSherpa's Metrics Editor Stefan Tornquist mingled with attendees, asking them, "What's your biggest concern with your email program now?" He expected most would say, "deliverability." However, although the topic was in the air, it wasn't hot, hot, hot the way it was last year.

So what's slowing email marketing's success these days? The answer could be summed up: office politics. Here are the top five frustrations attendees voiced to us.

Frustration #1. Frequency wars

One consumer package goods marketer told us "wars over frequency" raged within his company, with some on the side of leveraging the ease and cost of email to simply hit the list hard and often.

He's on the other side, a true believer in email as the only medium where you have a conversation with the customer. His main 2005 worry is "list burn out and ruining the relationship."

Frustration #2. Database hell

Big company marketers, especially those affected by the recent spate of M&As, are fretted about integration of multiple email platforms/departments.

They've got to figure out who -- across multiple divisions, locations, and companies -- is sending email, what systems they use, and how to bring these together.

This big headache is slowing them down in terms of high impact email. One marketer told us, "We spend all our time bringing the pieces together; all of our resources are going to integration, and when we do want to expand our email marketing, the legal department has a field day."

Frustration #3. Name quantity versus quality education

An airline marketing manager told us, "Our bosses want more names on the list, but we've plateaued. We want to focus on improving our communication with the list we have, but they're still obsessed with the size of the list, and how many new names we get every month. I feel like it takes away from what really matters."

Frustration #4. Content resources

All the speakers agreed high impact email requires highly relevant content. But, producing enough highly-targeted offers and/or newsletter articles to suit each of the different names on your list is more than a full-time job. And, many companies have not budgeted for extra copywriters to churn out a wide array of content on a regular basis.

How do you create one-to-one communications without staffing reinforcements? (Oh, and try convincing a CEO who thinks email is a "super cheap medium" that you need a higher budget.)

Frustration #5. Respect

Best quote of the day: "My CEO just doesn't respect email. Even though our numbers are good -- great even -- he sees email as something you just turn up when you need more sales. It's hard to get the message across that we'll do even better if we treat email with the same respect as our other marketing tools, and cultivate sales instead of hunting and gathering them."

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