Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Marketing has become a data-driven science requiring insight and execution. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than their counterpart CIOs.1
According to Gartner’s Adam Sarner, “digital marketing represents a shift in strategy and approach, not just in channels. Although traditional campaign management thinking involves executing campaigns directly to the customer, successful digital marketing must act more as a mutually beneficial journey aimed at satisfying customers’ wants and needs. This is a customer-focused strategy approach that will profoundly shift traditional campaign management strategy.”2
Perhaps one of the most important components of this strategy is the proven power of data-driven, permission-based email. Email has firmly established itself as the workhorse of digital marketing - nurturing leads, aiding customers’ purchase decisions and keeping customers connected to the brand. Consider these stats:
- 77% of online consumers prefer to get permission-based marketing messages via email versus any other marketing channel, according to the 2012 Channel Preference Survey published by ExactTarget in April 2012. The same study also showed that 66% of survey respondents said that they had purchased based on a promotional email they received. That’s more any other marketing channel.
- 76% of B2B marketers use email to communicate with current and prospective customers, according to the 2012 B2B Marketing Mix study conducted by Sagefrog Marketing Group.
- The Direct Marketing Association’s Response Rate 2012 Report showed that email has the highest return on investment (ROI) compared to other marketing channels. The ROI for email is $28.50, for example, compared to just $7 for direct mail.
One big reason email is experiencing a surge is the hyper-connected nature of today’s consumer. In report titled, “Mobile Marketing: Three Principles for Success” released in February 2012, Melissa Parrish, senior analyst at Forrester Research, Inc. wrote that “More people own smartphones than ever before, and they're using them more often too. This makes a mobile marketing strategy crucial for any interactive marketer."
Return Path predicts that by the end of 2012, more people will be reading email on a mobile device than on the desktop or on webmail. And in the 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, MarketingSherpa reports 46% of CMOs believe mobile, smartphone, and tablet adoption will impact email programs in the next year.
It’s easy to understand why.
- The number of smartphone users in the U.S. will reach 137.5 million in 2013, and the number of tablet users will climb to nearly 76 million, according to research conducted by eMarketer.
- Email is still the top activity for mobile Internet users, accounting for 41.6% of U.S. mobile Internet time, according to a recent Nielson survey. And email testing tools provider Litmus reports that 36% of emails worldwide are opened and read on mobile devices.
I’ve never been big on making predictions, but in my 35+ year career in direct and database marketing, I’ve never seen a channel perform as well as permission-based email for data-driven marketing and customer service communications. That’s why, considering the increased demand on brands to “serve” customers by delivering more relevant and timely information and offers matched to their defined interests and preferences -- regardless of whether they are at their desks, in their homes, or on the go -- I think email’s best days may still be ahead.
 Gartner Webinar, “By 2017 the CMO Will Spend More on IT Than the CIO”, Laura McLellan, January 3, 2012.
 Gartner, Digital Marketing: The Critical Trek for Multichannel Campaign Management, Adam Sarner, February 24, 2011.