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Inbox Zero Goals Aside, Email Is Still the Top Digital Marketing Channel

  |  January 25, 2013   |  Comments

Despite all the newfangled channels and technology by which marketers can reach consumers in a digital capacity today, email is still the most effective and inclusive, according to new research from ExactTarget.

Despite all the newfangled channels and technology by which marketers can reach consumers in a digital capacity today, email is still the most effective and inclusive, according to new research from ExactTarget.

While inbox zero has become the envy of millions of consumers who feel overwhelmed by email to the point of spam, the direct marketing opportunities in email have yet to be overrun by any other digital channel.

According to the new report from the cross-channel interactive marketing provider that began as an email-marketing provider in 2000, marketers and consumers both favor email as their first online activity of the day at a rate of 76 percent and 69 percent respectively.

"Marketers must keep in mind that they do just about everything online more than the average consumer, and they must be careful not to apply their professional behaviors to consumers as a whole," the firm wrote in its report.

About one in four marketers and one in three consumers think brands should invest more marketing time and resources into email as well. Facebook and Twitter fared less in that regard, with 21 percent of marketers and 22 percent of consumers pointing to Facebook for more marketing investment, and 12 percent of marketers and 5 percent of consumers putting a higher priority on Twitter.

ExactTarget's Marketers from Mars report also clarified the important differences in online behavior and smartphone adoption between consumers and marketers. While 90 percent of marketers own smartphones, only 51 percent of consumers have made the leap to the next generation of mobile.

"When it comes to online behaviors and preferences, consumers with smartphones behave a lot more like marketers than consumers without smartphones do. The differences are striking -- consumers with smartphones email more, use apps more, share more, check in more, review more, visit deal sites and redeem mobile coupons more, and generally purchase more online than consumers who don't own smartphones," the company noted in the report.

"Smartphone ownership doesn't necessarily cause consumers to use specific channels more, but it does make it easier and more likely that they will," the company concluded based on a survey of 1,200 U.S. consumers and more than 400 U.S. marketers. "Yes, smartphone ownership will continue to grow. But the hyper-adoption of mobile channels by marketers is unlikely to be matched by consumers anytime soon."

While email captures the daily attention of marketers (99 percent) and consumers with (89 percent) or without a smartphone (85 percent), Facebook gets daily usage of 66 percent of consumers with a smartphones and 50 percent of consumers without a smartphone. Meanwhile, Twitter hasn't crested the half-way mark among any of the groups surveyed. Only 48 percent of marketers, 31 percent of consumers with a smartphone and 10 percent of consumers without a smartphone reported using the site daily.

Facebook ranked second among the most common hub for both marketers (21 percent) and consumers (28 percent) to connect with brands online. Twitter ranked low on the list of digital morning checks. Only 15 percent of marketers and 3 percent of consumers ranked Twitter as their preferred channel for connecting with brands online, but 58 percent of marketers and 46 percent of consumers said they follow brands on Twitter to receive advanced notice about new products or services.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Kapko

Matt Kapko has been writing about mobile since 2006, before it became cool. Based in Long Beach, CA, he has covered mobile entertainment, digital media, marketing, and advertising for several business media outlets. A former editor and reporter for RCR Wireless News, paidContent, and iMedia Connection, Matt is a regular freelance reporter for ClickZ. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @MattKapko or drop him a line at matt@kapko.co.

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