SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

July 10, 2008 10:00 ET

Research Reveals the Role Email Personalization Plays in Top Performing Organizations

Research Reveals That Leveraging Email Personalization Techniques Increased Average Order Values by 57%

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - July 10, 2008) - Email marketing is one of the most profitable marketing channels because it is simple, affordable, and measurable. Consequently, email is also one of the most widely used marketing channels. With increased competition for the customers' time, wallet, and mindshare, top performing organizations are maximizing the effectiveness of their email campaigns by personalizing outbound marketing messages. Heavy personalization techniques allow organizations to develop highly personalized relevant marketing campaigns by incorporating customer profile information, segmentation or demographic behavior, channel behavior, purchase history, personalized product or service recommendations, online activity, and other attributes from customer databases. A recent study, "Email Marketing: Get Personal with Your Customers," conducted by the Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), reveals that 96% of organizations surveyed believe that email personalization can improve email marketing performance. Furthermore, organizations that leverage email personalization techniques increased average order values by 57% as a result of their efforts.

While the pressure to improve return on marketing investments (ROMI) and increase online revenue were identified as the top two factors causing organizations to focus resources on an email personalization initiative, the research reveals the businesses are challenged by an inability to create personalized marketing content and a lack of data for use in personalized emails. Best-in-Class companies indicated that they currently utilize landing pages (78%), forms and survey tools (57%), and segmentation tools (49%) to supplement accessible data and improve the effectiveness of email campaigns. These enabling technologies allow Best-in-Class companies to improve customer retention rates and opt-in rates by an average of 5% as a result of segmenting customers with email campaigns.

"Companies are still struggling with more advanced email marketing techniques (beyond the simple mail-merge of a name in the salutation). The research unequivocally demonstrates that email personalization plays a critical role in delivering superior email marketing campaign performance," explains Ian Michiels, Senior Research Analyst in Aberdeen's Customer Management Group. "All organizations surveyed recognize the value of personalization. They also realize the essential role customer data plays in attaining Best-in-Class performance. As a result, all respondents have initiatives in place to both consolidate and cleanse customer data before implementing more advanced personalization techniques. Best-in-Class are still early adopters of highly personalized techniques and technologies; however, their performance is a clear indication that we will continue to see increased adoption of more advanced automated personalization features like dynamic message assembly within top performing organizations," concluded Michiels.

The report demonstrates the value of collectively leveraging organizational practices in process, performance measurement, knowledge management, and technology to provide a foundation for marketing success. By combining published rules and regulations governing who in the organization is allowed to communicate with customers and prospects via email (67%) and processes for segmenting email lists for improved message relevancy (53%), Best-in-Class companies are able to maximize the effectiveness of their outbound email campaigns by personalizing each message with key information specific to the intended recipient.

The research educates readers about the value of email marketing and personalization techniques. The report also identifies Best-in-Class performance as a result of email personalization compared to the Industry Average and Laggards and the difference in capabilities and technology use among maturity classes. A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part by the following underwriters: Campaigner (www.campaigner.com) and Emma (www.myemma.com). Furthermore, this research is being disseminated to the market through the support of various media outlets, such as the ECT News network and ITO America. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=4904.

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen http://www.aberdeen.com or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to http://www.harte-hanks.com.

© 2008 Aberdeen Group, Inc., a Harte-Hanks Company
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