Rabu, 01 Mei 2013

Marketing – Snail Mail Vs E-mail

It was not too long ago that most people had no internet leave alone e-mail address. But internet brought in a new era that is full of unlimited information. Internet gave birth to electronic mail popularly known as e-mail. E-mail opened new avenues to the world of communication. In the beginning e-mail was only used as another means of communicating with other people for personal or business related matters. Now people of every age group have an e-mail address. But, since past few years its potential for marketing has been exploited to its maximum both in good and as well as bad manner. At the same time who can disregard the services of direct mail which has been operating since nearly two centuries? It is still the preferred method of communication for many people.

E-mail is the cheapest method of communicating available as of this date. The advantage with email is that you can send email to many people at the same time just with the click of a mouse where as in the case of direct mails one has to go through putting letters in envelopes for each and every person, make different address labels, mail it and also have to bear the cost of mailing. Time is money and e-mail marketing saves a lot of time.

While e-mail marketing might look easy but if you compare the net result the story is totally different. When you are marketing through e-mail you go to make sure that you are e-mailing the right person otherwise the e-mail would end up going to junk folder. Also you got to be careful that you don't miss the subject or the body of the e-mail otherwise the net result would be same. In this age of spamming, spammers use variety of subjects, so you have to put the subject keeping in mind that it wouldn't send your e-mail to the spam folder again. In contract the direct mail gets a better treatment. Studies show that direct mail is more efficient and has better success than e-mail. First, it is not as easy to block direct mail as junk e-mail and secondly the process of blocking mails itself is not automated like e-mail. The other reason why people hate e-mail marketing is due to constant bombarding of e-mails from spammers and illegal marketers from Nigerian money scams to porn to online prescription drugs to stock quotes to what not. In addition to that, you also get promotional offers from big companies and who can ignore phishing these days. Due to all these people have developed a negative perception about e-mail marketing and they simply delete or spam the e-mail if they do not identify it as their regular e-mail. In contrast direct mail is seen with respect and people pick their mail as a daily routine and open them with a priority.

Direct mail has a personal feel attached to it, one of the reasons why people prefer mail greetings over an electronic greeting. It takes time to personalize a direct mail where as an e-mail is instant and the fate of e-mail is also instant i.e. immediate deletion. Researchers are constantly puzzled by the mystery surrounding why people are so enthusiastic about direct mail. But no worries this only good news for the marketers that they have something in their tool kit that works. So marketers have the mailing list of potential customers handy and send some nicely composed letters to them about your company and its products.

Snail mail has a potential of going through the hands of gatekeepers and administrative assistants before actually going to their boss which can end up being thrown in trash. The survival chances are rare unless its subject is business oriented and has some important information. But e-mail wins in this regard, as it reaches directly the person to which it is intended to go, after that its fate is left to the person whether to read or send it to spam folder.

A more scientific explanation of why direct mail is dearer to people than e-mail is the sensory perception of people. A direct mail uses three of the four senses of a person i.e. visual, verbal, listening and touching where as e-mail does not use sense of listening and touching. But this can be achieved by adding appealing graphics, text reading ability and streaming audio to the e-mail.

The statistics show that direct mail has not died and in fact the volume has grown by leaps and bounds in past few decades. A typical example is the fact that we receive more magazines, journals, mails from universities, DVDs etc. than we used to receive few years ago. This leaves the marketers with a dilemma about which method to use. The answer is simple, use email to contact only those people who you know and use direct mail for the people who don't know you.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing is a derivative of Internet marketing where the advertisement publisher gets paid for every customer or sales provided by him. Affiliate marketing is the basic for all other Internet marketing strategies. 

In this type of marketing, affiliate management companies, in-house affiliate managers and third party vendors are effectively utilized to use E-mail Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, RRS Capturing and Display Advertising for the success of the product. The web traffic can be traced with the help of a third party or own affiliate programs. A lot of work is involved in this process. At first marketing by this method involved lots of spamming, false advertising, trademark infringement, etc. But, after the invention of complex algorithms and advance security this has been regularized to make it safer for doing business and shopping online. This even led to the better scrutinizing of the terms and conditions by the merchants. Affiliate marketing became more profiting with the opening of more opportunities but at the same time it also increased the competition in marketing.

Due to this pressure in house affiliate programs for merchants became a thing of the past and were replaced by out-sourced programs. The companies that offered this service have expert affiliate and network program managers who have various affiliate program management techniques.  These affiliate networks have publishers associated with them who help them with the advertising part.

Affiliate marketing was started by cdnow.com who had music oriented websites. They placed list of music albums on their site and they paid others if they put those links in their websites when a visitor bought their album through their site. The first company to link with cdnow.com was Geffen Records. Two months later, Amazon was offered by a woman that she would sell Amazon's books on her website and she should be paid a certain percentage in return if she sold Amazon's books through her site. They liked the idea and started the Amazon associates program. It was more of a commission program where they received a commission if a visitor clicked their links and banners on other's site and bought anything through it.

Since its invention, the affiliate network has been adopted by various businesses like travel, education, telecom, mobile, gaming, personal finance, retail, and subscription sites, the most common being adult and gambling sectors. In UK alone, affiliate marketing produced £ 2.16 billion.

The compensation methods used are Cost per sale (CPS), Cost per action (CPA), Cost per mile (CPM) and Cost per click (CPC). The first two are the more famous methods today. This is because in CPM and CPC, the visitor which turns up on a particular website might not be the targeted audience and a click would be enough to generate commission. CPS and CPA have a compulsion that the visitor not only clicks on the link but also buys something or signs up for some service after it which proves that he is among the targeted audience. Only in the above case the affiliate gets paid. So the affiliate should try to send as much targeted traffic as possible to the advertiser in order to increase his/her returns and for this reason affiliate marketing is also known as performance marketing because it totally depends on the performance of the affiliate. The affiliate team can be differentiated from a sales team from the nature of their jobs. The job of the affiliate team is to drag targeted traffic to a point and from that point it's the job of the sales team to influence the visitor to buy the product or the service.

This is a very effective kind of method because the money is being paid only when results have been achieved. The publisher incurs all the cost except that of initial setup and development of the program, which is incurred by the merchant. Many businesses give credit to this method of marketing for their success.