Retailers are shifting away from price-based promotions towards relationship marketing initiatives such as email marketing and search engine marketing in order to understand their customers, according to new research.

WebTrends’ 2006 Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report found that retailers ranked email marketing as the most important demand-generation activity for holiday success, with Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) ranking second and third respectively.

As such, the biggest increases in marketing spending for the holidays will be in email marketing (52 per cent), SEM (46 per cent) and SEO (38 percent).

The biggest decreases in spending will be in online banner ads (17 per cent), print advertising (16 per cent) and broadcast advertising (14 per cent).

WebTrends concludes that retailers are clearly choosing marketing strategies that enable them to target prospects at the moment of intent and reach customers with cost-effective, highly relevant campaigns.

“As retailers focus on online marketing initiatives to reach qualified prospects and convert them into loyal customers, they need to utilise integrated, visitor-centric performance metrics to provide the basis for accurate campaign evaluation and optimization, as well as the insight necessary for relationship marketing initiatives,” said Greg Drew, CEO and president of WebTrends.

“We will continue to make significant investments in WebTrends solutions, services and best practice education efforts to ensure businesses have the solid foundation they need in order to optimise marketing performance and build stronger, more profitable customer relationships.”

The report includes data collected from 300 survey responses from June 26th to July 1st, promoted through two outsourced, opt-in mailing lists.

Related Topics: Email Marketing