Email Marketers Not Adopting Personalization This Holiday Season

Email marketers have said ‘bah humbug’ to thoughtful and personalized campaigns this holiday season, according to new research released today by email marketing company StrongView and parent company Selligent.

A survey of 300 marketers discovered that email marketers have ditched best practices during the holiday rush.

They are focusing on simple promotion-based email campaigns instead of more advanced techniques, such as personalization and mobile optimization. 

“Marketers fail into the trap of shouting to their customers to be heard over the noise of the frenzied holiday season,” says Andre Lejeune, CEO of Selligent. "They are missing the opportunity to use the holidays to build relationships with customers by being more relevant than their competitors. Marketers that align their holiday email activities with their longer-term strategic goals will get the most bang for their buck.”

While 64% of marketers listed promotion of sales and discounts as their top-ranking strategy for the holidays, only 39% of marketers listed segmentation and targeting. 80% of marketers placed promotions within their top three email marketing strategies, juxtaposed with the 56% of marketers who listed segmentation-based targeting as a top tactic.

Only a quarter of marketers listed cart abandonment -- at 23% -- and post-purchase outreach -- at 26% -- as one of their top three areas of focus during the holidays. Some 21% of marketers leverage real-time personalization or A/B testing, 11% use video in email, and 10% use cross-sell or product recommendations.

Email marketing is still paying off this holiday season, however, even if less strategic campaigns are being sent.

Email marketing was the primary sales driver on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, accounting for an estimated $660 million in holiday sales on Cyber Monday, according to Custora.

The high ROI of email marketing is likely the culprit behind why 50% of marketers plan to increase their email marketing budget for the 2016 holiday season, according to the StrongView and Selligent report.

Only 1.5% of marketers plan to decrease their email marketing ad spend next year. 

1 comment about "Email Marketers Not Adopting Personalization This Holiday Season ".
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  1. Tanya Wheeler-Berliner from Email on Acid, December 22, 2015 at 1:26 p.m.

    Interesting read on this data. I'm not sure it says definitively that marketers are throwing personalization and best practices out the door, just that these aren't their primary focus during the holidays, which makes sense. As a consumer, I'm okay with a slightly-less-than-personal 25% off of everything sale or 12 days of savings email series that likely contains a few things I'd likely buy.

    I do hope that despite not rising to the top of the list as a holiday priority, cart abandonment and post-purchase nurturing campaigns are a year-round priority for brands in their overall email marketing strategy as cart abandonment emails are wildly successful and those nurturing campaigns can pay off in big ways in terms of long term brand engagement.

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