You and your fellow ClickZ readers want to be more relevant to your e-mail subscribers, but you also have a lot going on. There's technology to master, data to marshal and use, metrics to define, and segmentation strategies to define. Oh, and don't neglect deeper engagement, list growth, and inbox placement while you're at it, please.
Sound like your day? These are the results of a brief survey of ClickZ readers conducted over the past month. We conducted the survey to learn about you (thanks for being so generous in your replies!), but also as part of a special project. My fellow e-mail columnists and I plan to use this information to produce a series of columns in July. Based on the input from the survey, we are each writing a perspective on "The 2012 Inbox - and how to get there." You'll see the columns in your regular e-mail newsletters. I'm excited about this project (if it works, we'll have the start of a great e-book!) and hope you will enjoy it and engage with us as we explore what's yet to come for e-mail marketing optimization.
Meanwhile, the survey shows that all of us want to fully connect with subscribers via e-mail marketing, but pulling that off well has a set of common challenges.
The good news is that most of the survey participants have already successfully aligned business metrics to this goal. Nearly half (44 percent) said that "customer engagement" is the way their e-mail program is measured. Another 23 percent said that the factors that contribute to revenue (like engagement) matter. About the same number (21 percent), however, are still judged by one metric alone: revenue. Revenue by any means.
Reaching any goal is hard when we're managing so many balls in the air. Of the 18 choices provided (and survey takers could choose as many as they liked), there was no clear priority - all of the options were significant. This includes list growth, engagement, inbox placement, data integration, segmentation, and automation. The highest rank goes to "Cultivating an active list" with 36 percent of participants selecting it, and "Segmentation" and "Measuring results/linking ROI to business goals" were second with 27 percent each. The lowest was "finding a new ESP/vendor" at 7 percent. This chart shows the top 10 selections. You can see that the slices are all nearly the same size.
One thing really jumps out, and that is the fact that e-mail marketers must be good at a lot of things to be successful. Perhaps that is true of all marketing. Does it make you feel better to know that many others share your pain, or does it frustrate you? Wouldn't it be great if someone could just figure this whole darn thing out and give us one tool that would delight subscribers, automate relevance, provide an amazing custom report in the favorite colors of the boss - and make sure we reach the inbox, too?! (Calling all entrepreneurs!)
Use the comments section below to make any suggestions for this series of columns or to question anything about the survey results.
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Stephanie Miller is a relentless customer advocate and a champion for marketers creating memorable online experiences. A digital marketing expert, she helps responsible data-driven marketers connect with the people, resources, and ideas they need to optimize response and revenue. She speaks and writes regularly and leads many industry initiatives as VP, Member Relations and Chief Listening Officer at the Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org). Feedback and column ideas most welcome, to smiller AT the-dma DOT org or @stephanieSAM.
March 19, 2014