When the economy was growing you could add revenues by chasing new customers; now it makes more sense to build on existing loyalty. "The economics of monetising your current customer base are so strong that everyone will start taking a hard look at it," says Lazar Dzamic, joint head of planning at integrated agency Kitcatt Nohr, which manages an email newsletter programme for Waitrose. "There aren't a lot of new customers on the market so you need to steal market share from competitors. That's probably going to define the approach of many of our clients for the coming year".

Lastminute.com is also finding that loyalty pays and is taking advantage of email for a new promotional concept called WIGIG, which stands for 'when it's gone it's gone'. This is a sale that starts at a set time and with a finite amount of inventory. "We tend to sell out in less than seven minutes," says Simon Thompson, Lastminute's European MD. "We let our customers know of the sale in advance of the general public and find that the percentage of existing customers who take advantage of the offer is nearly four times our normal repeat purchase."

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