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You can’t trickle market a trickle (and make money)

The latest in email hype has been “trickle marketing.”  The allure of this methodology is apparent in an era of shrinking budgets and decreased staffing levels.  In theory it sounds great.  You develop a lead from any marketing channel and then create an automated series of communications to reach out and touch that prospect without any ongoing effort.  In a previous post we discussed the challenges associated with developing cost effective email campaigns and discovered that the time and cost of content creation must be factored in for the accurate determination of ROI.  The conclusion was that small email lists are often as expensive to market to electronically as by any other means.


The same logic is easily applied to trickle email marketing.  Unless the firm has a lead generation system that creates numerous opt-in email addresses, such as an online shopping cart that specifically asks the client to join the marketing email list, then getting enough new leads to email is the first challenge.  Remember, just because you have a prospect’s email, that does not mean you can send them an unsolicited commercial message.  They must specifically opt-in.  The second challenge is the time and effort, therefore hard cost and expense, of creating meaningful, timely, and relevant content for the potential recipients of the trickle campaign.  The last post on email showed that creation of one email blast for the entire file can be cost prohibitive, now do the same calculations on an even smaller number of prospects.


When considering the average size of business email lists and the pace at which new opted-in emails are added, the appeal of trickle email marketing decreases dramatically.  The cost required to develop a campaign for a few people every month precludes most businesses from pursuing this strategy, no matter the appeal.  At low volumes calling is more effective.  For those firms that have the ability to generate the necessary flow of new leads, trickle marketing can be a powerful tool in the arsenal. 


For most of us, it’s software vendor hype.


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