Who Needs Numbers, Anyway?

by , Mar 29, 2007, 1:30 PM
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As an email marketing journalist, my blog refers to lots of numbers relating to email -- click rates, opens rates, comparison rates to prior quarters or years. Do the numbers really mean anything, though? Sometimes I actually wasn't so sure -- until this past Tuesday.

That's when I attended a webinar that shared the results of the Email Experience Council's Deliverability Roundtable study on Delivery and Bounce Metrics. In that webinar, Pivotal Veracity CEO Deirde Baird made a simple yet amazing point. She said, "The way we measure email is critical to proving the success of the channel itself."

That got me thinking -- without email statistics, we can't determine the ROI or value of an address. And without that, marketers cannot prepare and adequately package the information that enables them to get the funding and support they need from C-level executives. We need statistics to keep improving the email marketing channel.

And that's just what we get with the EmailStatCenter.com, a new Web site that will serve as a centralized repository for industry stats and research. (Full disclosure: The EEC is credited as one of the founding partners, but is not directly profiting from this relationship.) Prior to Tuesday I thought this was just a handy place to find industry stats, but I now realize the site is helpful for anyone who has any responsibility in email marketing. There are at least four ways email marketers can use a site like this:

1.Get money and support: Find the support you need so you can convince your boss to provide you more money to improve your efforts or staffing, so your program can improve and grow. For instance, use the stat that there's a $57 ROI for every $1 spent effectively using email. What CFO can argue against that?

2.Be a rock star: It's your turn to speak at the company meeting about what you do. Instead of just talking about your own email newsletter, what if you could go to one place and find links to and results from other people's programs. I'm always talking about the value of context on my blog. Well, add context to your results by benchmarking them against industry results.

3.Save time: How many times has this happened to you? You need a specific statistic for a report you're writing. You know you've heard it before, but you can't remember where you read it. You Google yourself in circles around the Internet only to find that the stat you remembered was from an article in 2001. Having a central repository ends the runaround.

4.Get active: Having been with the EEC for a few months now, I have seen that one of the best things any email marketer can do to help the industry is to share success and failures so, as a network, we can help each other improve and push the industry forward. Now there's one more place where your thoughts and research can be shared.

Statistics play a key role for email marketers. Having a central repository will help speed up our ability to drive email forward. I guess I hadn't put 2 and 2 together before now. How does it add up in your mind?

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