On relevant content, relevance has always been an important facet of e-mail marketing, and it continues to be a top priority for e-mail marketers, as our study bears out. More than half (56%) of respondents, who were asked which broad challenges and opportunities face the b-to-b world over the next 12 months, said delivering highly relevant content was on their to-do list in 2011.
Of course, it's easy to say that you want to deliver relevant content. What's much harder is actually doing so. Companies can make sure their content is relevant by tracking their e-mail programs, which is one reason that measuring ROI on programs took the second spot on this question, with 44% of respondents citing that answer. Deliverability, which was cited by 34% of respondents came in third.
One surprise, according to experts, is the focus on customer acquisition rather than customer retention or even brand awareness. Typically, b-to-b companies have smaller, more relevant lists that are used for nurturing. However, close to half (43%) of survey respondents said the most important purpose of their e-mail marketing program was customer acquisition – not customer retention, which garnered a mere 28% of responses.
One analyst said this breakdown may be directly associated with the recession. “It may be because, after the recession, there was a large amount of customer churn,” said David Daniels, co-founder of industry research firm The Relevancy Group. “Companies are trying to backfill their lists and make up for all the people they lost.”
On budgets There's good news for a significant majority of e-mail marketers, with 51% of respondents saying their budgets will remain the same for 2011, and 45% saying that budgets will increase this year. Only 4% said their budgets will go down.
But this may not tell the whole story, according to one marketer. Bri Shaw, eBusiness Project manager at food re-distributor Dot Foods Inc. said her e-mail budget remained the same for 2011. However, the company actually added a new position – a customer marketing manager – who will work closely with her on the e-mail marketing program. “They are going to be very involved with e-mail, helping to figure out exactly how we can best target our customers,” she explained.
Also, the report showed that the price of sending mail is dropping, and marketers are getting smart. A program that cost $4 million two years ago is now only $2 million … These are not things (email integrated with social media) that cost a lot of money. It's a matter of planning and executing – man hours versus spending any additional cash."
In addition, for those of you using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, I invite you to review Combine CRM and Email Marketing to Grow Your Business. Taken separately, CRM and Email Marketing are each vital marketing tools. But, when tied together, they create a powerful sales and marketing tool that provides an integrated, cost-effective approach for maintaining customer loyalty and generating new sales leads.