To Email or not to Email...
Plenty has been written about the efficacy of email marketing. Many debate the effectiveness of utilizing 3rd party content providers to ‘advertise’ offers vs. marketing to those already opted-in to receive promotions from specific brands (i.e. 'house file' email deployments). Let’s blow this up once and for all. NOBODY can argue the effectiveness of incubating their own opt-in list via timely offers based upon preferences expressed or implied by current subscribers/buyers/etc. The challenge there is balancing the frequency of sending such offers vs. the threat of over-saturation and losing the recipients’ interest. I subscribe to the ‘no right answer’ approach espoused by Nina Russo.
The central point here is getting new opt-ins and there is no better way to do just that than with email offers to 3rd party lists characterized by an affinity to the product/service being offered. Many will argue that search, display, etc. provide a more scalable solution - which has merit if volume list building is the goal. But those tactics generate ‘window shoppers’… easy come, easy go. Direct marketing 101 tells us that prospects coming from the same channel as that from which you plan to message them will stay the longest and will bear the most fruit. That is the purpose of 3rd party email; to stock the pond with engaged prospects who have already indicated their contact preference by the channel by which they were acquired.
In summary, house file vs. 3rd party email deployments are not competing tactics but rather complimentary parts. They go to together like beer and nuts (or milk and cookies if that’s your thing).