That's the conclusion of new research from True Influence which showed that email marketing just pipped video marketing to top place. It was neck and neck as each channel scored just over 5.5m intent events which can range from a search, to a blog being read, an email being opened or a white paper downloaded. Email was a clearer winner on the number of domains from which these intent signals were being picked up -- more than 90,000 compared to 75,000 for video.
A striking aspect of the research, which measured intent over a month-long period toward the end of last year, is how the rest of the channels are also-rans. Marketing management software gets nearly a million intent events. but then we're down to a few hundred thousand for other areas on interest, such as marketing automation and relationship management tools. Perhaps most interesting of all, mobile marketing only makes it to number ten on the top-ten list with a twentieth of the interest detected for email marketing. Content marketing and social media fail to even make the top top ten.
The researchers believe that email's outright supremacy against far trendier channels is due to renewed pressure on marketers to get the right message to the right people at the right time on a low, fixed budget which doesn't give a lot of leeway to those looking to experiment. What could be better under these circumstances than email? They almost certainly have a very good point -- but it's worth pointing out that, at the same time, it's neck and neck in their research with online video, which can be expensive (certainly if generating original content) and so there is almost certainly more to this than price constraints alone.
The truth is that email comes out time and time again as the strongest channel for ROI. It's the preferred channel for most customers to deal with brands and came out on top late last year as the number one choice even for Millennials when it comes to dealing with companies. It's a bit like the proverbial boy or girl next door who gets overlooked as plain and a little too "everyday" until someone later comes to their senses and realises the grass is not always greener.
This research from True Influence is interesting because it looks beyond the hype and measures intent. Not conference presentations and talk from gurus, but what is actually happening online in the form of signs a person, or at least an IP address, is interested in. Secondly, it's not just one source of interest, such as email opens alone, but a combination of browsing, opening and downloading activity.
When you look at the fuller picture, marketers are very clear that the channel they are most interested, alongside video, is their trusted friend, email. Social and content will get a lot of chatter in the marketing press but they don't even make the top ten which means they didn't even register a twentieth of the interest shown in email marketing. That's a pretty good sign to be starting off a new year, isn't it?