Electronic Commerce

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Chapter 4

E3—You have been employed by HGTV to sell space on its site to advertisers. Create a memo

of approximately 300 words in which you describe the advantages of advertising on HGTV

in a form that the HGTV sales team can use as a resource when they are making presentations to potential advertisers. You may choose to promote space on the main page, other

specific pages, or all pages. You may also choose to include the advantages of HGTV’s

permission-based e-mail marketing system as part of the promotional package. Be

prepared to explain why your promotional strategy should work.


C1. Oxfam

Oxfam’s success and growth was due to many dedicated volunteers and donors who

continued and expanded their financial support of the organization. In the 1960s, Oxfam began

to generate significant revenues from its retail stores. These shops, located throughout Great

Britain, accept donations of goods and handcrafted items from overseas for resale. Today, those

stores number more than 800 and are staffed by more than 20,000 volunteers.

Oxfam often deals with humanitarian disasters that are beyond the scope of its resources.

In these cases, the organization provides aid by mobilizing an international lobbying staff that has

contacts with key aid agencies based in other countries, governments in the affected area, and the

United Nations.

In 1996, Oxfam opened a Web site to provide information about its efforts to supporters and

potential donors. The Web site included detailed reports on Oxfam’s work, past and present, and

allows site visitors to make donations to the organization. Although Oxfam gladly accepts any

donations, it encourages supporters to commit to a continuing relationship by making regular

donations. In exchange, it provides regular updates about its activities on the Web site and

through an e-mailed monthly newsletter. The Web site includes a sign-up page for the e-mail

newsletter, which goes out to several hundred thousand supporters.

Oxfam has been involved in relief work in Sudan since the 1970s, when it provided help to

Ugandan refugees in the southern part of the country. More recently, Oxfam was an early

responder to the 2004 crisis in that country. Oxfam set up sanitary facilities and provided clean

drinking water in camps set up for thousands of displaced people fleeing pro-government Arab

militias. The need in Sudan rapidly exceeded Oxfam’s capacity and it decided to use e-mail to

mobilize support for the project.

Oxfam planned an e-mail campaign that would send three e-mails in HTML format to

supporters on its existing e-mail list over a six-week period. The first e-mail included a photo of

children in one of the camps. The text of the e-mail message described Oxfam’s efforts to provide

clean water to the displaced people living in the Sudanese camps. The e-mail included links in two

places that took recipients to a Web page that had been created specifically to receive visitors

responding to that e-mail message. The Web page allowed visitors to make a donation and asked

them to provide their e-mail addresses, which would be used to send updates on the Sudan project. A second e-mail was sent two weeks later to addresses on the list that had not yet responded.

This second e-mail included a video file that played automatically when the e-mail was opened.

The video conveyed the message that Oxfam had delivered $300,000 in aid to the camps but that

more help was urgently needed in the region. This second e-mail included three links that led to

the Web page created for the first e-mail. Two weeks later, a final e-mail was sent to addresses

on the list that had not responded to either of the first two e-mails. This third e-mail included an

audio recording in which Oxfam’s executive director made a plea for the cause. The e-mail also

included text that provided examples of which aid items could be provided for specific donation


Oxfam’s three-part e-mail campaign was considered a success by direct marketing

standards. The first e-mail was opened by 32 percent of recipients and had a click-through rate

of 8 percent. The second e-mail had similar, but somewhat higher, results (33 percent opened,

10 percent clicked-through). Ninety percent of those who opened the e-mail watched the video.

The third e-mail continued the slightly increasing trends for opening and attention (34 percent

opened, and 94 percent listened to the audio), but the click-through rate was much higher than the previous two e-mails (14 percent). Also, the dollar amount of donations increased with each

subsequent e-mailing. The e-mail campaign raised more than $450,000 in its six-week period.

Oxfam coordinated this e-mail effort with other awareness activities it was conducting in the

same time period. The organization sent letters to supporters who had not provided e-mail

addresses and ran ads in two newspapers (The Independent and The Guardian) that carried

messages similar to those in the e-mails.


needs answering

2. Oxfam used only its existing e-mail list for this campaign; it did not purchase (or borrow

from other charitable organizations) any additional e-mail addresses. Evaluate this decision.

In about 300 words explain the advantages and disadvantages of acquiring other e-mail

addresses for a campaign of this nature.

5. A manager at Oxfam might be tempted to conclude that the sequence of formats used in

the e-mail messages was related to the increase in donations over the six weeks of the

campaign. In about 100 words, present at least two reasons why this would be an incorrect



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