Email marketing at tech companies

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Technology companies use email in distinctive ways when compared with nontech organizations, according to Email Marketing: A Legacy Channel Continues to Deliver,a new email marketing study from BtoB. BtoB's online survey, distributed in December and January, garnered 332 responses. Among the verticals surveyed, marketers from technology companies made up the largest single group—31% of the entire sample. Technology companies favor lead nurturing to a much greater extent than do nontech companies: 47% of marketers from tech companies favor lead nurturing as a top use for email compared with 33% of nontech companies, BtoB's survey found. Tech marketers are also more concerned about email frequency. Forty-five percent of tech companies have an official policy about sending out no more than a certain number of emails a month, while just 36% of nontech companies have a frequency cap. Greg Donahue, marketing program manager-key accounts at Mercury Computer Systems, a supplier of digital image, signal and sensor processing solutions for the defense and intelligence industries, is sensitive to email frequency. “I just had a conversation this morning about spacing out our emails for the next couple of months,” Donahue said. “We have a couple of new products coming out, but I'm not going to spam these guys with ineffective emails with various calls to action. “You have to realize you're not the only one emailing these people, even within your own company,” he said. “There's also customer support, contract people, sales, etc. We try to limit what marketing sends out to two or three mails a month, and a maximum of once a week.” BtoB's study also found that triggered emails—messages sent automatically when certain Web activities are logged—are generally more common among tech companies. In particular, 51% of tech companies automatically send emails in response to requests for product demonstrations, compared with just 30% of nontech companies. Tech companies also are more likely to program triggered messages when a website visitor fills out a form or registers for an event. “We have automated follow-ups linked to whatever is going on with our site,” said Rachel Rodenborg, marketing manager at Insite Software. “If someone searches for us or our products and winds up on one of our landing pages, we'll generate an automated response.” Rodenborg carefully customizes her email messages to recipient segments. Her target audience for Insite's main products—integrated b-to-b e-commerce platforms and shipping software—isn't always within the IT department. “It could be IT, but probably not,” she said. “It's often driven by an executive or marketing initiative searching for opportunities. With email you have to be very smart and refined about your target audience and relevant messages.” Donahue also uses triggers for his target markets. “We market to defense contractors, and we're all under the gun about cyber security in particular,” Donahue said. “Their servers are getting very touchy. I use a marketing automation system, and sometimes those triggered emails can get blocked.”
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