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Email Marketing

Strategy Outlook Report


What email marketing success
will look like in the year ahead and
how marketers plan to achieve it.
Client Connection Research conducted by Ascend2 in partnership with Research Underwriters

Email Marketing Strategy Outlook Report


Client Connection Research conducted by Ascend2 in partnership with Research Underwriters.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
You may adapt, copy, distribute and transmit this work. However, you must attribute the work as produced by Ascend2 and its Research Underwriters but
not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work. You may not use this work for commercial purposes.

Email Marketing Strategy Outlook Report


Table of Contents
The email marketing channel is strong but strategies are weak
Differences between Superior and Inferior email strategies
What the average email marketing strategy looks like
What you sell determines strategy that works best for you
How the size of your company influences email strategy
Actionable advice for developing a Superior Strategy
Survey methodologies and demographics
About Ascend2

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Email Marketing Strategy Outlook Report


Email as a marketing channel is strong but strategies are weak.
Research continues to show that email outperforms other channels in achieving marketing objectives. Despite
the importance of this channel, only 12% of marketers say their email strategy is very successful at
accomplishing their important goals. What are marketers doing to improve their performance? Our approach
to answering this question is to learn from those with a vested interest in results. During the week of June 3,
2013, Ascend2 in partnership with our Research Underwriter partners fielded the email marketing strategy
survey and completed interviews with 477 business leaders, marketing executives and marketing practitioners
from around the world. We would like to thank these busy professionals for sharing their valuable insights on
email marketing with you.
This report features a methodology that distinguishes companies with a superior strategy for accomplishing
email marketing objectives from those having an inferior strategy. It includes actionable advice on using this
research to develop a superior strategy beginning with a SWOT analysis of your email marketing program.

This Client Connection Research has been produced for your use. The charts may be copied to your own
strategy planning and presentation materials, blog content and social media posts; credited as published.
Sergio Balegno
Chief Strategy Officer

PS: If you work for a marketing agency or marketing SaaS firm, this report is available in an edition completely
rebranded by Ascend2 and customizable for your firm. Learn more at Ascend2.com.
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Differences between Superior and Inferior email strategies


In this section, the disparity between companies with a Superior Strategy for email marketing and their Inferior
Strategy counterparts is clear. These benchmarks are provided to show you what email marketing success looks
like, and how those companies with a Superior Strategy plan to achieve it.

The difference between a Superior Strategy and an


Inferior Strategy is success achieving objectives.
Determining which email strategies are worth
emulating requires identifying characteristics of
the most successful marketing organizations.
Performance criteria, based on the success of
an email marketing strategy to achieve
important objectives, is used to differentiate
between companies with a Superior Strategy
and those with an Inferior Strategy for the
purpose of this report.
The highest performers (12% of respondents
rated Very Successful) are identified in this
section as having a Superior Strategy. The
lowest performers (17% of respondents rated
Not Successful) are identified as having an
Inferior Strategy.
Marketers rating their companys email
marketing strategy as only Somewhat
Successful (71%) are not represented in the
charts in this section.
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Increasing email marketing ROI is the objective of more


than twice as many marketers with a Superior Strategy.

Relevancy (right content to right person at right time) is


your greatest challenge if you have an Inferior Strategy.

Creating relevant and compelling content is the most


effective tactic at both ends of the success spectrum.

Creating relevant and compelling content is also the


most difficult tactic, especially with an Inferior Strategy.

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Marketers with a Superior Strategy are integrating


landing pages with email more than twice as often.

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Counting leads and subscribers is more useful to an


Inferior Strategy than tracking important CTR metrics.

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What the average email marketing strategy looks like


The charts in this section represent the aggregate of all responses. The data has not been segmented, as it has
in all other sections of this report, so results represent the overall average. It is a high level view of the email
marketing landscape so you can examine how your strategy compares with the industry average which can be
expected to produce average email marketing results. But who wants to settle for average?

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Most important objective to increase subscribers


contradicts least important to reduce unsubscribes.

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Getting the right content to the right person at the right


time the most challenging obstacle to email success.

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Overcoming the most challenging obstacle requires the


creation of relevant and compelling content.

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But creating content to overcome the most challenging


obstacle is also the most difficult tactic to execute.

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Tactically, creating relevant and compelling content is


worth the time and expense to achieve email success.

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Not integrating email with the timely and relevant


content blogs provide is a missed opportunity.

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Once critical issues to closely track, delivery rates, spam


complaints and unsubscribes are now low on the list.

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What you sell determines strategy that works best for you
The chart breakouts in this section are by the primary type of products or services the responding company
sells. The survey questionnaire was segmented by three types of products or services: Business-to-Business,
Business-to-Consumer and Marketing Services. The following charts represent responses from B2B and B2C
marketers only, and do not include responses by the providers of marketing services.

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Lead generation and nurturing are more important in


B2B channel. B2C focus is on direct sales from email.

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B2C marketing generally requires larger lists, making


email list growth and subscriber retention essential.

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The larger the list, the greater the value of email testing
and optimization, especially for B2C marketers.

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Smartphones and mobile devices are prevalent, and


email optimization for these platforms will increase.

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B2B channel is much more likely than B2C channel to


integrate email programs with online and offline events.

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Click-through rate (CTR) is the most useful metric for


tracking email performance in B2B and B2C channels.

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How the size of your company influences email strategy


The charts in this section breakout survey results by company size in terms of number of employees. The three
segments represented in this section include:
Small companies with 10 to 100 employees
Medium companies with 101 to 1,000 employees
Large companies with more than 1,000 employees
Micro companies with fewer than 10 employees are not represented in this section.

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Small companies are much more likely to prioritize


direct sales and disregard ROI as email objectives.

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Mid-size and larger companies more likely to integrate


email data with other systems a challenging obstacle.

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Email autoresponse and drip campaigns are surprisingly


underutilized tactics for companies of all sizes.

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Small companies are making more of an effort to engage


subscribers via social media than larger counterparts.

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Small companies are three time more likely to link


subscribers to blog content than large companies.

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The larger the company, the more likely to track open


rates and less likely to track lead conversion rates.

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Actionable advice for developing a Superior Strategy


This research was conducted to help marketers develop a Superior Strategy for effectively achieving their email
marketing objectives. This report features a methodology that distinguishes companies with a superior strategy
for accomplishing email marketing objectives from those having an inferior strategy. This methodology enables
the analysis and comparison of your email marketing strategy with those companies having a Superior Strategy.

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A Superior Strategy is the goal, and developing one


begins with an email marketing SWOT analysis.

Strategic

Tactical

The process of developing a Superior Strategy begins with a SWOT analysis of your companys email marketing
program. This is accomplished by applying the questions asked in this survey to your company, then comparing
your analysis to the top email marketing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of companies with a
Superior Strategy (shown here). Or compare your analysis by company type or size as reported in this research.

Strengths

Weaknesses

Most Effective Tactics Used

Most Difficult Tactics to Execute

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Creating relevant and compelling content


Integrating email with other tactics
Segmenting email database
Personalizing email messaging
Testing and optimizing email messaging

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Creating relevant and compelling content


Segmenting email database
Engaging subscribers via social media
Integrating email with other tactics
Delivering autoresponse and drip campaigns

Opportunities

Threats

Most Important Objectives to Achieve

Most Challenging Obstacles to Overcome

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Increase new leads or subscribers


Increase email marketing ROI
Improve lead nurturing
Increase direct sales
Increase website traffic

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Email list growth and subscriber retention


Integrating email data with other systems
Right content to right person at right time
Achieving or increasing email marketing ROI
Segmenting lists for targeted campaigns
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Survey methodologies and demographics


Ascend2s Client Connection Research surveys are conducted online from a panel of 50,000 US and
international marketing decision-makers and practitioners representing a range of roles, company sizes, regions
and industry segments. Survey findings are examined in a quantitative context by experienced analysts and
reported objectively.
An important goal of Client Connection Research is differentiating the performance of companies with a
Superior Strategy from those with an Inferior Strategy. To identify these groups, performance criteria is used
based on the success of a companys marketing program in accomplishing its objectives. This model for
segmenting Superior Strategy is then used to analyze and present for comparison marketing performance in
the form of charts and a Marketing Program SWOT Analysis by topic and, for Research Underwriters, by
individual respondent. The questionnaire is standardized to incorporate these methodologies across all studies
while maintaining the proven 3-Minute Survey format.

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Survey respondent and company demographics

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About Ascend2

Connecting Agencies to Clients with the Power of Research


Ascend2 partners with marketing agencies, consultancies and marketing automation firms to accelerate new
business growth. An integrated research, content creation and lead generation process delivers the inside track
on prospective clients real-life strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and will position your
marketing firm as a thought-leader for solving a client's specific challenges. Learn more at www.Ascend2.com

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Ascend2 Client Connection Research(tm) Process.


Connecting agencies to clients with the power of research.
The goal is to make new business development more
affordable for marketing agencies and marketing
SaaS firms by integrating research, content creation
and demand generation. This proprietary process
generates richly qualified and profiled leads at both
the research survey and content download stages.
Strategy Outlook Reports and leads are available for:
Social Media Marketing
Lead Generation
Content Marketing
Email Marketing
Organic Search (SEO)
Website Optimization
Marketing Automation
Mobile Marketing
Marketing Analytics
Paid Search (PPC)

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