An automated marketing industry professional said Tuesday that he believed email was the best method to contact potential customers.
Loren McDonald of Internet marketing company Silverpop said email generated the best response rate of all Internet advertising and would get even better with the evolution of mobile devices.
"Email marketing is the sexiest channel there is because it has the highest ROI (return on investment)," McDonald said.
McDonald spoke Tuesday at the second of two panel sessions on the future -- and present -- of email marketing at the ad:tech conference in San Francisco.
He said he understood that many advertisers did not agree with his approach to email but said a well-known retailer that he did a campaign for had a 64 percent higher click-through rate than from its previous online advertising.
Nick Metcalfe, a senior manager at Sony Playstation, said email advertisers should employ the 70-20-10 rule for what should go into a successful campaign. 70 percent of the campaign should be finding the right people to advertise to based on their behavior on the Web, while 20 percent should be offer quality and 10 percent should be compelling ads.
"The more data you receive, the higher your return," he said. "If you just have an email address, that's going to make it difficult to find the right people."
Michelle Brown, director of loyalty marketing services for United Airlines' MileagePlus program, said her company was still merging its frequent-flyer program with that of Continental Airlines. She said the two airlines, which merged in 2010, had 90 million people in their loyalty programs.
MileagePlus sent emails to members of the merged programs after sorting them into groups based on how often they flew, where they usually flew and whether they flew in coach or paid for premium tickets. "Knowledge of member value enables rich targeted offers," Brown said. "Images they saw related to where they were most likely to go."
She said members responded "very well" to the campaign.
Sean Shoffstall of the Ozone marketing agency said companies should be looking at their loyal customers to find out what makes them buy and not concentrate strictly on clicks.
"First-in or last-in attribution doesn't work," he said. "Complete attribution gives better insight of marketing spend."
This article is part of Allvoices’ series on ad:tech, the largest digital marketing and technology conferences and expositions. Check out allvoices.com/adtech for more of Allvoices’ ad:tech San Francisco event coverage. This series is supported by ad:tech.