The Marketing Super Bowl Doesn't End On Christmas

America is hooked on email, according to a study released this week by Zeta Global and The Relevancy Group that suggests more than 90% of U.S. consumers check their email at least daily.

The SaaS-based marketing technology company partnered with the Relevancy Group, a market research firm, to identify how consumers are planning to shop this year and how technology may be influencing their decisions. The study suggests that email is still the workhorse of marketing, with 93% of respondents selecting it as their most preferred channel for communication. 

Almost a fifth of the 1,000 consumers polled asserted that they check their email hourly or more frequently. An additional 54% of respondents asserted that they check their email multiple times a day.

ecommerce has had a dominant performance this holiday season, setting online shopping records on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year. Email drove a fifth of Cyber Monday sales and ranked as the third-highest revenue generator on Black Friday.

Over 60% of respondents expressed how their final purchasing decisions are influenced by promotions, with the most effective marketing promotion ranking as free shipping. Free shipping was most attractive to 41% of respondents, with a “buy one, get one” offer ranking in second place with 37% of consumers selecting it as an attractive discount.

Steven Gerber, president and chief operating officer of Zeta Global, says that holiday insights can be applied universally throughout the year.

“Determining how you’re relevant every day, every week and every month is what’s driving sales in digital marketing,” says Gerber. 

What’s unique about the holidays, however, is that it they are a highly competitive time with much activity. Gerber compares the period between Black Friday and New Year’s as the “Super Bowl for marketers” -- a time of heightened awareness and competition in the marketing world.

Email fatigue makes email a double-edged sword, says Gerber, and that’s a critical challenge to marketers year-round. Marketers need to break through the noise and connect with consumers, so it’s important to discover “how you can synthesize data to drive more relevant messaging,” says Gerber.

To avoid email fatigue, Gerber discussed how Zeta Global offers send-time optimization tools for its customers. The best time to reach someone is likely to differ among the brands and products being promoted, as well as the marketing channel being used. Determining what time to message someone "heightens over the holiday season, but is truly important throughout the rest of year," says Gerber. 

Establishing a better relationship with consumers during this period of heightened holiday awareness can carry over to the rest of the year, says Gerber, especially as consumers look for post-Christmas sales and to return unwanted gifts. Returns, when handled properly, are a good way to start a new relationship with the end- consumer, as opposed to the original gift purchaser.  

Although 16% of respondents expressed that they immediately unsubscribe from email before the end of the year, 19% wait for holiday clearance offerings in late January. The majority of consumers -- 60% -- do not plan to unsubscribe from emails.

If retailers want to reach consumers via email, however, it is essential that emails render correctly on mobile devices. Mobile phones were the most preferred email device, according to the study, with 37% of consumers selecting them as the primary device they use to interact with email messages. More than 80% of consumers acknowledged they had access to their email accounts on some type of mobile device. 


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