European marketers plan to spend more on e-mail marketing in the coming year, driven by increased interest in optimizing the channel and utilizing more segmentation and targeting. Validating what I know from my company's own work in Europe are the results of a 23-country study from FEDMA (Federation of European Direct and Interactive Marketing) released in April 2010. The study has a bit of a bias toward B2B marketers, with 56 percent of the respondents in that category.
Spend on e-mail is forecast to grow, with two-thirds (66.2 percent) of respondents expecting to increase their investment in e-mail marketing. Only 3 percent would expect to decrease their spend. Similarly, 72.3 percent plan on sending more e-mail messages in the coming year. Some of this will be simply higher frequency - many respondents report intention to move from monthly to weekly newsletters, for example. Marketers also report that they see higher response and subscriber value from more targeted promotions, and so intend to focus more effort in segmentation and content creation. Given the low cost and high ROI of e-mail marketing, and the continued economic pressures across the globe, e-mail consistently is a priority channel among marketers in every geography.
In order to maintain that ROI, marketers must contribute to the health of the overall e-mail marketing channel, said Nick Martin, a British digital marketing entrepreneur who presented the FEDMA study findings at the U.S. DMA's Email Marketing Conference in November. Good health includes permission standards, strict management of customer databases, the relevancy of campaigns, and careful application of local laws, he said.
"If greater spend is driven by higher volumes in conjunction with looser qualification of who receives what and how often, then it follows that more people will receive less relevant unsolicited commercial email and Return on Investment (ROI) will drop," he said at the conference. "Successful growth can only come through careful stewardship of customer information databases, and developing the use of email further into the consumer/ buyer engagement process."
Marketers may or may not be paying close attention to creating relevancy, but respondents in the study believe that their use of e-mail marketing is improving: more than half (56 percent) believe their click-through rates will increase in the coming year. Just 8 percent of respondents expect their click-through rates to decrease.
Marketers believe their messages to be welcome, with about half (49 percent) predicting their opt-out rates will stay steady. Another 22 percent believe opt-out rates will decrease and 18 percent predict they will increase.
Other key benchmarks include:
While there is a solid foundation of success reported here, if e-mail marketing is considered strategically important, that must translate to more strategic execution. European e-mail marketers, like their counterparts all over the globe, still struggle with creating relevancy, integrating and utilizing data within privacy protection bounds, and automating triggered messaging for key touchpoints like post purchase/download or free trial conversion. I hope this means we'll see more testing and exploration of integrated marketing technology in 2011 in order to achieve higher subscriber satisfaction, response, and revenues.
What are your key initiatives in 2011, in Europe and elsewhere? Please let us know in the comments section below.
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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.
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