Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Free iPod Marketing Offers
Give Way to Brighter Ideas

Last Wednesday, I offered up that marketing must come up with a new magical sword -- at least periodically -- to keep itself fresh and inviting.

Today The EMail Insider gave proof positive of what I was saying:

While it is certain that improved spam filtering has had a significant impact, I think the real culprit is the incentive marketing industry itself. It has gone to the well too many times with creative that is boring, repetitive, and out of date. Zero money has been spent in increasing consumer confidence in the programs. In the end, the industry has suffered from a lack of vision, leadership, or imagination.

A review of subject lines and creative over the last few years reveals an industry that has coasted for too long, letting its offers, programs, and incentives to
grow stale. A lack of self-policing has also taken its toll. In 2004, we reported on incentive offer opt-ins from companies such as the now defunct Synergy Six, from which we began to receive pornography offers. And we demonstrated that a single signup on American-Giveaways generated thousands of spam e-mails from hundreds of companies. Rather than face these problems head-on and clean house, many incentive marketers have gone on with business as usual until the golden goose was dead.

What prompted this was The eMail Insider's tracking of Experian's outbound promotional email versus site visits for MetaRewards ... the two curves went in opposite directions somewhere around the start of the year and were not returning to a positive reading.

So can we learn from someone else's mistakes or do we have to burn our own fingers before we learn?

I know where I work, we've relied on whitepapers and free iPods for at least a year, and the ROI has been diminishing. So we are now exploring totally different strategies and offers. It's hard work, but as "they" say, someone has to do it.

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