Email Targeting Still Simplistic

A recent study by The Relevancy Group, reported by eMarketer, finds that, despite plans to increase personalization efforts, email marketers still struggle when it comes to using consumer data to successfully segment and target their audiences. The study found that US marketers relied on less advanced customer data attributes to segment audiences for email marketing campaigns.

Customer Data Attributes Used By US Marketers To Segment Audiences (% of Respondents)


% of Respondents





Customer satisfaction


Click Throughs on Email Offers


Customer spending


Frequency of purchase, conversion


Customer profitability (lifetime value)


Transaction activity/purchase behavior


Source: The Relevancy Group, February 2014

General demographic and geographic data were the most common metrics used for segmentation, and the only ones used by more than 35% of respondents. Other easily measured data points such as email clicks and open rates were used less frequently, and most marketers were unable to leverage metrics beyond the email realm such as past purchases and spending habits.

With a look at how marketers managed customer data, the low usage of sophisticated metrics made all the more sense, says the report. Fewer than four in 10 respondents had a centralized data repository for their client data. Even worse, just 28% centralized customer data from across channels to create a single record for the customer, despite their desire for a 360-degree view of customer-brand interaction.

US Marketers Methods To Manage Customer Data (% of Respondents)

Method Used

% of Respondents

Use eMail address as unique customer identifier


Centralized client data repository


Measure customer lifetime value


Value of email subscribers


Track acquisition costs


Use customer predictive analytics


Robust data hygiene


Source: The Relevancy Group, February 2014

One of the most important parts of marketing automation, says the report, is Predictive Analytics, which drives better targeting and personalization, was among the least-used methods, while keeping data “clean” ranked lowest.

Issues with data tracking prevent marketers from leveraging customer data across channels, notes the report. A study, by Adobe for the Direct Marketing Association, found that 46% of digital marketers in North America said they utilized information from other channels when running email campaigns.

According to the report, marketers planned to focus more on segmentation and targeting, ranking it the top email marketing priority for 2015. Greater use of analytics in order to optimize communications as well as centralizing customer data and making it actionable is among the top five priorities. However, responses for all three were still relatively low, at 35%, 30% and 29%, respectively, suggesting the continuing need for improvemen, concludes the report.

For additional information about the study, please visit eMarketer here.



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