The 'Email Feud' Survey Said...

At the Email Insider Summit last week, Smith-Harmon pitted B2C marketers against B2B marketers in a good old-fashioned game of "Email Feud." It doesn't matter who won, but what "the survey said" is interesting. We asked 483 email marketers three questions, each with five answers to select from...

In terms of creative design, what's the biggest difference between B2C and B2B emails?

And the survey said:

1. Copy-image balance
2. Email length
3. Number of calls-to-action
4. Optimizing for blocked images
5. Inclusion of top menu navigation items

The results here didn't surprise me that much. B2B design is definitely more text-heavy than B2C design, which is often (unfairly) criticized for being "one big image." Since B2B emails tend to be sent much less frequently than B2C emails, they tend to be longer and contain more content. At the same time, they tend to be much more focused in terms of calls-to-action than, say, a retailer with thousands or tens of thousands of SKUs to promote.



Which channel does email have the most untapped synergies with?

And the survey said:

1. Mobile
2. Facebook
3. Direct mail/catalogs
4. RSS
5. Twitter

Here I was equally surprised and not surprised. I'm torn on mobile. On one hand, I believe that in a few years every email will be a mobile email. All smartphones will be able to render HTML emails, mobile browsers will provide much better landing page experiences, and we'll cease to worry about providing mobile-friendly versions of our emails.

On the other hand, I continue to be shocked by how few retailers I track have promoted an Android app for their brand -- which is to say that none have. Compare that to the 10%-plus of major retailers that have used their email channel to promote their iPhone app. Considering Android's rapidly growing market share, which is probably well north of 10% by now, it seems like a big missed opportunity. And while the Android app market isn't growing as fast as the iPhone's did, it just broke the 50,000 app mark, which is still very healthy.

I was also a bit surprised to find Twitter at the bottom of the list, since few retailers have done much of anything here. ran an innovative Tweet n Seek contest and J&R did a cool slogan contest on Twitter, but I've only seen Nike Store and Zappos use tweets in their emails. Considering the popularity of using testimonials from product reviews, it seems that there are untapped opportunities to use tweets similarly.

What kind of content boosts email response the most?

1. Contests
2. User-generated content
3. Product reviews/testimonials
4. Video
5. Editorial content

I was surprised that email marketers didn't feel that editorial content was very effective. My definition of editorial content is pretty minimal, such as the content in this Neiman Marcus email. It doesn't have to be long-form content like Drs. Foster & Smith Pet Tails emails. So perhaps there's a difference in definition there.

I wasn't surprised to see contests, user-generated content and products reviews so high, as they're great at driving customer interaction. And as much as we all obsessed and talked about video in 2008, interest definitely cooled last year. These results appear to confirm that the hype around video has subsided.

Were you surprised by any of the survey results?

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