Making fillet steak out of spam

The marketeers of this world would have everyone believe that marketing is an exact science

The marketeers of this world would have everyone believe that marketing is an exact science

But it's hard to see their point of view when you can't push open your front door for all the pizza delivery brochures stacked up on the doormat, and when every episode of Coronation Street is interrupted by a phone call from some or other salesperson.

The advent of Internet-related business at last offers marketing departments the capability to develop well-targeted, organic campaigns that can be fine-tuned by the very customer feedback they generate.

But there is a balancing act involved in online marketing. Do it properly and you'll be getting the right message to the right audience, at a fraction of the cost of offline campaigns. Get it wrong and you'll quickly get a stark reminder of the fact that customer loyalty has never been so fickle as it is in the online world. Bear in mind, too, that there's a fine line between useful information and spam.

Computer Weekly's E-Business Marketing Award was created to highlight the best examples of online marketing by UK businesses.

The award will be presented for the best use of e-business technology to market products or services, whether by means of an innovatively designed Web
sites that deliver key messages particularly effectively, or a well-targeted e-mail-based marketing operation.

Virgin Atlantic Airways won last year's E-Business Marketing Award for its Global Miles Million Air campaign. This worldwide online membership acquisition drive attracted more than 13,000 new members to the airline's frequent flyer loyalty scheme, Flying Club, in just three weeks.

The marketing campaign allowed Virgin to collect e-mail addresses from existing and prospective Flying Club members, migrate more of its offline members to online accounts, and clean up the company's existing e-mail database.

Perhaps the clearest measure of the success of the campaign was the fact that the per-person cost of acquisition was a negligible £2.74.

This year, Computer Weekly is looking forward to receiving even more innovative uses of e-business technology in marketing campaigns.

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