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DMA Insight: Email Marketers Face Multiple Challenges


Brands and customers, everyone is facing challenging times.

As we found in our Marketer Email Tracker 2020 report, email is playing a key role for organisations to provide their customers with advice, reassurance and updates.

But what are the challenges marketers struggle the most with when dealing with their email programmes?

In the following article, we’ll look at six categories of challenges, representative groups of these more specific ones (further details are available in the full report):

  • Budget and Resource: ‘Limited budget’, ‘Limited internal resource’ and ‘Lack of skills’
  • Data: ‘Lack of data’, ‘Data degradation’, ‘Data siloes’ and ‘Data bias’
  • Content: ‘Lack of content’
  • Internal Processes: ‘Inefficient internal processes’ and ‘Poor interdepartmental communication’
  • Leadership and Strategy: ‘Lack of senior support’, ‘Lack of strategy’ and ‘Choosing latest channels rather than effective channels’
  • Technology: ‘Outdated in-house technology’ and ‘Outdated ESP technology’

Challenging Synergies

Looking at these broader categories, ‘Budget and Resource’ seems to be the challenge that concerns most marketers (61%). ‘Data’ (42%) and ‘Leadership and Strategy’ (40%) follow and the remaining areas are still worrying around one in four organisations – meaning they can’t be overlooked.

Extended analysis has shown the inter-connections among these categories, indicating that businesses have multiple challenges on their hands. A lack of ‘Budget and Resource’ seems to challenge organisations that are already struggling with other challenges. More than half (51%) of those who struggle with ‘Content’ (52%), ‘Internal processes’ (51%) and ‘Leadership and Strategy’ related challenges, also face hard times with their budget and resources.

Furthermore, challenges in terms of ‘Leadership and Strategy’ seem to affect businesses who are already coping with ‘Internal Processes’ (43%), ‘Content’ (39%) and ‘Technology’ (30%) challenges.

‘Data’ challenges are common among those who see difficulties with their organisation’s ‘Content’ (39%) and ‘Technology’ (30%).

Finally, ‘Content’ challenges are significant for those marketers that are also dealing with ‘Leadership and Strategy’ (32%) and ‘Budget and Resource’ (29%) challenges.

After effects: The impact of a lack of budget and resources

Data shows that businesses are facing a range of challenges and are lacking in key areas that are impacting their email programmes.

When looking at the effects that ‘Budget and Resource’ challenges have on businesses, organisations’ size is a key factor. Indeed, micro-businesses seem to be the ones that struggle the most with this group of challenges (88%) followed by small businesses (61%), large businesses (56%) and medium businesses (54%).

When looking closely at their email programmes, half of the marketers (54%) facing ‘Budget and Resource’ challenges, said their organisations can calculate the value/return generated from their email marketing programmes. To do so, the most used metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of their email campaigns are sales (50%), click-through (47%) and engagement (38%).

Furthermore, marketers say to be able to calculate the value of each email address on their database (50%) and 56% recognise that their business has in place a rule on how frequently email its customers.

Finally, 54% said their organisations provide ongoing email marketing-related training.

And what if businesses lack content?

A lack of ‘Content’ seems to be significantly related to the effect it has on different business types. Indeed, 34% of marketers working for B2B companies have mentioned this group of challenges, followed by 26% working for B2C businesses and 17% part of B2B/B2C mixed organisations.

Interestingly, 100% of these marketers, recognise that their business sends between 61-70 emails, including automated ones, to their mailing lists per week. Given the average of about 27 emails per week, we could speculate that they might feel lacking content due to their over-bombarding customers.

Furthermore, 44% said their businesses don’t automate their email campaigns.

Finally, 45% of this group of marketers believe that GDPR has improved the quality of their data.

Have a look at our Marketer Email Tracker 2020 report to learn more about what we learnt from marketers and their email programmes.

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