Competitive Intelligence Necessary For Email Marketing Optimization

According to a study performed by The Relevancy Group, sponsored by eDataSource, and prepared by David Daniels, while competitive intelligence is a critical part of running a business, many marketers don't have a system in place for competitive email tracking.

The study surveyed 486 qualified marketers based in the U.S. to explore the use and impact of competitive intelligence methods on email marketing value and revenue, finding that marketers using Competitive Intelligence Applications generate 3X greater monthly email marketing revenue than those who don’t.

The study found that Competitive Intelligence Applications (CIA) are central to driving improvements, such as improved open and click-through rates, deliverability/inbox placement, average order value (AOV) and conversions. More than 30% of companies that utilize CIA recognize these improvements, and gain a better understanding of optimal message frequency and what works for their competitors, says the report

Taking the actual key performance indicators (KPIs) reported by both marketers that use CIA and those who don’t, the findings are dramatic, says the report. With an average monthly email send volume of 19.4M, an AOV of $121.86, and segment-reported delivery, open, click-through and conversion rates, CIA users see monthly returns of $3.425M compared to non-CIA users’ $1.157M in revenues.

David Daniels, CEO and founder of The Relevancy Group, said: “…while signing up for emails from your competitors is easy and gives a glimpse into their world, it is not ideal for deep analysis or harnessing the value of such insight…”

The survey data showed that 38% of marketers are using a tool that allows them to view their competitors’ email performance data, and 52% said that they would use such an application. With such a high adoption rate, the 10% who said they would not use a CIA are likely to miss out on optimization opportunities, says the report. Further, with 40% of marketers stating that they view CIA as significantly important, the report documents that the CIA market sector is about to move from nascent to mainstream in short order.

The report goes on to say that, as far as budgets go, most large senders are spending upwards of $225,000 annually on competitive intelligence, while enterprise marketers have average annual competitive intelligence budgets of $150,000. Their mid-market peers have an average annual budget of $94,000. This spending indicates that competitive intelligence is soon to move beyond emerging market sector to perennial budget item, served by CIA providers.

Email Marketing Competitive Tactics Utilized in 2016


Significantly Important

Somewhat Important

Not Important/Don’t Use

Signing up for their newsletters




Analyst & market research services




Tools that provide engagement and performance data of competitors email programs




Participate in industry associations




Industry average benchmark reports




Industry conferences




Secret shopper




Source: Relevancy Group, October 2016

Concluding, the Executive Summary says that it is clear that CIA investments will deliver a demonstrable return on these efforts. Even with $100,000 annual investment, marketers are able to drive 3x the email marketing revenue than those who do not utilize CIA providers. The laggards are left with high management demands and complicated spreadsheets. The winners have a systemic process that is application-driven and surrounded by qualified services personnel.

For the full report and more information about the study methodology, please visit here.  




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