Email Marketing's Disconnect Between What It Thinks And What Consumers Do Laid Bare By Research

It is very interesting to see two sets of research come to very different conclusions this week. First of all, we have eConsultancy and Adestra's annual review of what more than a thousand digital marketers in various industries think of their email marketing activities. Then we have an IBM study, which points out open and click throughs how a sector truly fares when the data is in.

So with Adestra's survey, publishing and the media is clearly the standout channel. Marketers agree that ROI is high and they are using ESPs to handle campaigns and are innovating in distributing content that is personalised and mobile-friendly. At the same time, charities and not-for-profits are on the up, as well. Another stand-out is that tech and comms is way down as an also-ran.

However, when you look at the data, with IBM's figures, media with a 19% mean open rate and 2% click through, media is very much mid-table in the league. The standout performer is tech, which has a a near one-in-four open rate and a mean click-through of 5%. The latter figure is the best you get, as an industry average, across the entire email marketing spectrum and coincidentally, is matched by not-for-profits.

So when you ask marketers, tech is not seen as a leader in innovation -- driving ROI -- but publishing is. When you look at the data to see which sectors are performing, the opposite appears to be the case. In fact, with the top quartile of brands achieving nearly 14% click through rates, tech and computers is a clear winner.

My first thought on seeing the eConsultancy survey article was that media is obviously going to resonate well with the public because it is bringing them articles they want to see, whereas IT is a relatively static area. Equipment doesn't change as often as providers email you about it, unlike the news headlines, and generally a tech-related email is trying to sell you something you don't need to invest in very often.

It would be an easy assumption, but then, automotive should be the same -- but they are up there with both the best performers in IBM's figures as well as the worst. Interestingly, the automotive sector does well for opens, but the worst email marketing brands within the sector get virtually no click-throughs -- just one in a thousand.

In fact, it's a very similar story for financial services. The likely explanation is that people want to know what's going on in these sectors but not enough to click through until they are at a point where they are in-market for a particular car or service. Given the nature of the industries, that is not going to be very often.

However, here's the interesting point. People love tech. They love to keep up with what the latest gadgets and offers are, even if they don't need a new tablet or iPhone speaker at the moment. That's the likely reason for the sector doing well. The most obvious reason for it not doing so well when you speak to marketers is that there is a clear disconnect in email marketing about what practitioners believe is good and what consumers tell them they are truly interested in. When you look at consumer behaviour, tech and computers knock spots off the media, despite what respondents may believe. 

I don't know about you -- but I'd suggest the data is the better means of establishing where brands are going right and where they are going wrong, compared to what email marketers believe to be the case. 

1 comment about "Email Marketing's Disconnect Between What It Thinks And What Consumers Do Laid Bare By Research".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Kevin Lee from Didit / eMarketing Association / Giving Forward, November 16, 2016 at 4:46 p.m.

    There are several ways to reconcile the data in this article.  Publishers mail much more frequently than others and often the subject line tells it all, and opens of clicks are not necessary to some readers.  The other is selectivity of list being mailed to.  Every industry and every company segmenting its lists are treating those segments differently. The same data skews SEM budget analysis vs industry benchmarks.  Want a high ROI, rely on brand keywords, and want to build scale and influence across the funnel, move up the keyword chain.  So, the brand only marketer looks brilliant with high ROI, but the savvy holistic marketer is winning. 

Next story loading loading..