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Key findings from the latest DMA Marketer Email Tracker Report 2017

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The room was full of eagerly awaiting marketers, and I wasn’t surprised as this report is crucial to understanding how marketers effectively use email marketing, how this correlates to consumer’s expectations and the opportunities where email can improve. Here's my key takeaways from the report:

Email remains the bedrock

One thing is abundantly clear from the results of this report that email marketing steadily remains the bedrock of digital marketing. It’s favoured by consumers as highlighted in the DMA Consumer Email Tracker Report and 95% of marketers agree that it continues to retain a very important place within marketing. 

Email marketing's importance in organisations

It’s also achieving return with an average ROI of £30.01.

 

Email challenges

But it doesn’t come without it’s challenges, in 2016 the biggest single challenge to marketers was a ‘lack of strategy’ – this is a problem for almost 3 in 10 marketers and has increased by 5% in comparison to last year. Coming in second was a ‘lack of data’ and ‘data silos’. Then followed by ‘limited internal resources’. 

Challenges with email marketing

 

The interesting change here has been that the challenge of ‘limited internal resources’, this was the top choice last year at 42% - but in 2016 this dropped to 25%. This is now at the same level as the ‘lack of content’. This also demonstrates the second change, that the ‘lack of content’ has risen every year from 13% to now 25%.

There could be several reasons for this, in that the lack of resource hasn’t improved, it’s just the other challenges such as data and strategy have gotten worse. Now more than ever a strategic approach to email marketing is crucial for success. The best strategies are those informed by data and with this shift from tactical email marketing to strategic it’s clear why these are top challenges.

 

Email testing

The great news is that there’s been an increase overall in the number of marketers that say they conduct testing. As you’ll see the number of marketers saying they don’t conduct any email testing has sharply dropped. 

Email testing

 

The level of competence is largely placed around basic but not intermediate and advanced have increased ever so slightly. 

Although email marketers are conducting more testing they are doing so less often, with 40% of respondents saying less than a quarter of emails included a test. 

Frequency of email testing

 

Contact rules

Now this I think is the most interesting insight from this report. 78% of marketers think there should be a contact rule. There are several ways you could look at this, I think this highlights more than ever that email marketers are beginning to think more about the subscriber and starting to be conscious of not over emailing. With the GDPR coming into effect next year now is the time to really start developing that mentality. 

Contact rule for email marketing

 

Email relevancy

Saving the second biggest highlight to last is that only 49% of email marketers think that most of the emails they send are relevant to customers. Only 9% agreed that all of the emails they send are relevant. That is a worrying figure. But even more worryingly 85% of consumers said that less than half of the emails they receive are interesting.

Relevancy of email marketing

 

This should serve as a warning because more than 50% of consumers have reported that they have at least considered deleting their email account to take back control of their inbox. If we as marketers don’t start sending relevant email communications, we’ll lose that customer.

In summary

  1. Email remains ‘important’ or ‘very important’ for the majority (95%) of marketers, but less than one in 10 (9%) say all their emails are relevant to their customers
  2. Average ROI for email has increased slightly year-on-year, with average returns of £30.01, which is up from £29.64
  3. The biggest concerns for marketers are ‘lack of strategy’ (28%), followed by ‘lack of data’ (27%) and ‘data siloes’ (26%) - ‘Limited internal resources’ and ‘lack of content’ were problems for a quarter (25%) of respondents
  4. More marketers are conducting email testing, but less often with 40% of respondents saying less than a quarter of emails included a test
  5. 78% of marketers think there should be a contact rule to not overcommunicate
  6. Only 49% of email marketers think that most of the emails they send are relevant to customers.

 

Take a read of the report, digest it, create a plan of improvement areas, and see where your email marketing compares in the email industry. 

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