Marketing exec pedals through e-mail evolution

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The general manager of e-mail marketing for Avenue A, Bruno Gralpois, has an appreciation for cycles-the sales and marketing variety, as well as the kind with two wheels. Gralpois, once a competitive bicyclist, has orchestrated e-mail strategies for powerhouses such as Gateway Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Previously, he was director of database and new-media strategies for DDB Direct. He has published numerous articles on technology and Internet marketing in Europe and the U.S.

Q. What mistakes do marketers commonly make when doing e-mail campaigns?

A. I would say the biggest mistake that companies make is to turn this incredible two-way tool into a broadcast mechanism and not leverage its true two-way communication capabilities. The other mistake is that marketers attempt to run e-mail marketing as an isolated marketing discipline. But by not integrating it with other types of media, they miss out on the opportunity to engage people throughout their life cycle in an important sequence of communication.

Q. What should marketers be doing in their e-mail campaigns?

A. Well, they want to obviously build relationships one person at a time. The interesting thing with b-to-b is you need to understand the sales cycle. The sales cycle requires sometimes multiple points of dialogue with different people who play different roles. You may deal with multiple decision-makers within one account, so the key is to be able to build a relationship one person at a time, but also do it by taking into consideration the fact that the decision might be reached collaboratively with all of the people you are talking to.

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