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. According to the DMA’s latest Marketer email tracker 2017 report, sponsored by dotmailer, two in five (42%) marketers say that at best ‘some’ of their emails are relevant to consumers, a clear disconnect between what marketers want to achieve and what they produce.
The research also reveals that marketers and consumers agree that ‘trust’ is the leading factor for persuading someone to sign up to receive emails from a brand. For marketers, having a ‘trustworthy reputation’ was the most effective way to ensure sign-ups, with 38%, and almost 29% of consumers agreed. However, ‘Money-off’ (45%), ‘% off’ (41%), ‘Free samples/gifts’ (35%) and ‘Free delivery’ (35%) were all more popular among consumers, who appear to be swayed by the offer of something for free.
The biggest concerns for marketers when it comes to their email programmes is ‘lack of strategy’ (28%), ‘lack of data’ (27%) and ‘data siloes’ (26%). Last year’s biggest concern for 42% of marketers was ‘limited internal resources’, which has now dropped out of the top three but is still a significant issue for a quarter of marketers (25%). ‘Lack of content’ has increased consistently since 2012 to also be an issue for 25% of respondents, but with marketers needing this content to feed their campaigns this issue only looks likely to grow.
Average ROI for email has increased slightly year-on-year, with average returns of £30.01 for every £1 spent, which is up from £29.64. However, the ability to calculate ROI is now less than half (45) and has been on a steady decline since 2012, with a significant disconnect between junior (10%) and senior (54%) marketers in whether they can make the calculation.
According to marketers, most brands are still not consistently testing emails, with 40% of respondents reporting less than a quarter of emails included a test. While fewer marketers say they do not conduct email testing at all, down from 17% to 8% this year, there was an increase in those who feel they have ‘no competence’ in email testing, up from 5% to 14%.
Rachel Aldighieri, MD of the DMA, comments: “Email has never been so important to marketers and has fast-become the channel round which others can be built to create a truly integrated multi-channel marketing programme. Although with this growth in email, we’re already starting to see issues with the access to good content and the knock-on effect this has on relevance. Trust is the key to any long-term relationship and if marketers want to continue to see the impressive returns on their email spend, they will need to heed consumer concerns and take care to give them what they want.”
Skip Fidura, client services director at dotmailer and chair of the DMA’s Responsible Marketing Committee, said: “This year’s insight into the view of consumers and marketers on email paints a worrying picture. While both love the channel, consumers continue to say they get too many and irrelevant emails from brands. More worrying still is that 42% of marketers agree. The warning signs are there. Over half of consumers have considered deleting their email account to control the flow of marketing emails they receive. As email marketers, we have a responsibility to our customers, to ourselves and to our businesses to keep our channel not just viable but thriving long into the future.”
Jenna Tiffany, founder & strategy director at Let’sTalk Strategy and DMA Email Council Benchmarking hub member, added: “Email remains the bedrock of digital marketing. As such, it’s no surprise to see marketers are starting to assess their actions with more scrutiny in the light of the incoming GDPR rules. However, for me the key takeaway from this report is that three quarters of marketers believe there should rules in place to ensure they do not over communicate with consumers. This highlights more than ever that marketers are beginning to think more about the customer and starting to be conscious of their preferences.”