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The Net Takeaway: No Big News: ExactTarget observes the same way the others did...


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No Big News: ExactTarget observes the same way the others did... · 02/09/2005 12:25 AM, Marketing

I get worried for our industry when even the smarter companies report “research” which repeats the flaws of the past.

(Note: I work for a competing email company. We like and admire ExactTarget (and have clients who use us both). But, yes, we do compete, and so my comments should be taken in that light, though I try to be fair… fairly abrasive, but fair.)

First off, read my post on “Day of the Week” mailings: There is no perfect day to email: an experimental study. Then ask yourself: after reading this, who would write yet another study which is purely observational?

ExactTarget, which has some smart folks and great tools, has fallen into the same trap as the previous companies of trying to prove something… without actually doing the work necessary to actually prove it.

Chris Baggott has his own blog where he “broke” the news, and I know that from his other posts, he is usually sharper than this. Instead, we have almost every flaw present from my comments on the previous work:

Now, to be fair, they do wind up at the right answer, and knowing those guys, I know they knew this all along (emph added by me):

“The results of our study indicate that marketers need to rethink the best times for sending email. There is no simple answer to which day is best for sending email. The results vary each month, by industry and by target audience. The notion of a universal “best day to send email” is, at best, a moving target, and at worst a myth. Instead of following industry trends (including the results outlined in this article), marketers should continue to construct logical hypotheses and validate them by testing the results.”

I am almost chagrined to point out that its hard to read this last with a straight face given that they just supported it with paragraph after paragraph of non-tested observation.

But the answer remains the same; our experimental work shows that across industries, if one sends the same message on different days, the difference on almost every metric is minimal in most cases.

ExactTarget and the others have their heart in the right place: they want you to focus on good marketing, not a silly hope of a silver bullet. I completely agree with them. But I also suggest that the research to support this finding is not that hard (we did it for 3 months to get a long term perspective, but it could be done in a week or two if you wanted to rush it) and I encourage other email companies to follow my example: Run the experiment to prove, once and for all, that day of week, for most cases, is one of the least important variables to worry about. Then, I will gladly link to each of your articles, and say “it is done. Let’s move on to the real impact of custom dynamic publishing and other relevance-creating instantiations.”

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  1. I am doing some research on the topic - I agree with your observation in general. But this is PR, it’s not science, so I wouldn’t pay too much attention to any of this stuff. Have you run across any decent study in the last few months?
    Xavier Casanova    Apr 7, 03:29 AM    #

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