Sales and Marketing

Marketers Investing Resources In E-Marketing, Database Development In 2005

A survey report underwritten by Harte-Hanks, Inc. (NYSE:HHS) and prepared by CSO Insights, Inc., reveals that more than one in five organizations spend more than 45 percent of their entire marketing budgets on 'target marketing,' and an additional two in five spend between 15 percent and 45 percent on such activity.

Hotel News Resource According to 2005 Executive Report: Target Marketing Priorities Analysis, nearly three of four companies plan higher investments in database management this year; three in five companies are planning to spend more on e-mail, Web design and data quality initiatives; and more than one in two on search marketing.

A total of 281 companies participated in the survey, reflecting a cross-section of vertical markets among them retail, manufacturing, high-tech and services, among other categories. The survey, conducted via the Web in April and May 2005, was distributed to senior marketing executives from a combination of proprietary and commercially available sources. One in four responses represent firms of more than $1 billion in revenues, and nearly 70 percent of firms are located in the United States. Confidence interval is 6 percent (for 95-percent confidence level).

The report was co-authored by Jim Dickie and Barry Trailer, both partners of CSO Insights, based in Boulder, CO (, with additional analysis provided by market researchers at Harte-Hanks.

"Database and interactive marketing lead all categories in new marketing investments," said Richard Hochhauser, president and chief executive officer, Harte-Hanks, Inc., in announcing the availability of the full study report. "Web sites and e-mail, in particular, really show strength. Yet struggles with data quality and data management remain pervasive. There is more work to do."

According to the study, 43 percent of respondents have a regular or constant program to support personalization and one-to-one marketing; 33 percent feel they are "good" or "very good" at calculating customer profitability; but more than a third rate their database management as "poor" or "very poor" (just 12 percent rate themselves "very good"). Further, 53 percent of respondents believe that their own customer data are at least 75 percent accurate - and 40 percent of respondents believe that less than half their prospect data are correct.

"Disciplined planning still eludes many marketing organizations," said Hochhauser, who noted that 58 percent of firms have an informal or no process at all for direct marketing planning, while 42 percent do.

Other observations from the report findings:

'Mission Critical' Web Sites, Search and E-mail: Among respondents, Web sites and micro-sites, search optimization and e-mail marketing are described as "mission critical" by 53 percent, 43 percent and 41 percent, respectively. Wireless messaging and blogs still have not "broken through" - just 7 percent and 5 percent, respectively, rate these interactive media as "mission critical."

Market Research and Analytics are Priorities: Businesses want more customer insight in the way of understanding perception of product and services (49 percent), knowing reasons why customers buy and respond (49 percent), and knowing the impact of marketing on awareness, attitudes and intentions (49 percent).

Lists and Segmentation Challenge Direct Mail: The availability of the right "lists" (66 percent) and the ability to mail the right segments (65 percent) are top cited challenges for postal mail.

Telemarketing Stays the Course: Fifty-six percent of respondents indicated that they have not shifted marketing from outbound telemarketing, despite added government regulation.

Information Concerns for an Interactive Age: Security (60 percent), privacy (59 percent), spam (56 percent), and data accuracy (56 percent) are among top levels of concern for digital marketing.

Source: 2005 Executive Report: Target Marketing Priorities Analysis, Harte-Hanks