Against a backdrop of headlines such as ‘Email Is Crushing Twitter, Facebook for Selling Stuff Online’* that can recently be found across the marketing press the DMA has just published the latest National Email Benchmarking Report for H2 2012. The positive coverage for the channel is not only very welcome after many years of “email is dead” reporting but highlights what regular Benchmark report readers already realise, that far from becoming an obsolete channel compared to its cooler digital cousin social media, the returns from email for generating measurable direct sales are unrivalled. This success would certainly seem reflected by the increasing numbers of email being sent,with a rise of more than 25% over the same period in 2011
The report does question if the direct sales focus is going to hinder development in the use of email to fulfil wider marketing objectives and harm the adoption of integration across channels, both trends seen in the last couple of years’ benchmarking reports. I believe if organisations can implement an effective planning, testing and agile deployment environment then the benefits of direct response revenue can be realised while developing email as a key component of broader consumer engagement. How is this starting to play out in the benchmark data? Take a look at the report to see!
Beyond the increase in emails sent some of the other report highlights for me included:-
- The number of campaigns managed and customer contact frequency both increasing in H2 over H1 2012, somewhat expected given the success in direct response but also greater interest in more targeted and behavioural driven email helps in explaining the 35% rise of monthly campaigns managed.
- The increase in the use of segmentation, especially in the mid level (4-6 segments) and while individualised communication remains challenging for many companies, due to lack of timely and complete data, it does again highlight the generally increasing sophistication of email campaigns
- The increasing use of social media to collect email addresses. This is a simple, practical but effective example of ‘integration’ across channels, and helping contribute to the 36% increase in the number of email addresses that ESPs maintained from Q1 to Q4 2012
- Deliverability continues to be a challenge and that’s before the effects of new smarter mailboxes, such as the Google tabbed system, really come into play. From Q2 2012 to Q4 2012, average delivery rates fell by some 3% for retention emails to about 94%. Over the same period, and despite contentions from the ESPs that Inbox delivery was becoming easier, the average inbox delivery rate fell to 90% in Q4 down 4% on Q2).
So just some of the highlights, but with email marketing continuing to be such an essential aspect of a company’s successful marketing its worth checking out the full H2 2012 Report, and see how your programs and plans compare. Happy reading and please take the time to comment, it is always great to receive feedback and share opinions across the wider email marketing community!
*Wired.com July 2013