Email Accounts For 22% Sales, Just 16% Budget -- Opportunity Knocks, Again

It will come as little surprise to those in the field that email marketers are telling eConsultancy and Adestra that personalisation and automation are key focus areas for the year ahead -- as are ensuring they are GDPR-compliant and emails can render properly on multiple device types. 

Sadly, nor will there be a major surprise in the finding of this year's Email Marketing Industry Census that email is comparatively undervalued. It's a conundrum we all have to struggle with. Although email is credited with producing around 22% of sales, on average, it only receives around 15% of marketing budget. eConsultancy reports that the research series -- now in its eleventh year -- saw a peak in 2014, when email marketing hit 16% of marketing budget. Since then, it has been rolled back a tad, although it accounts for nearly a quarter of sales. 

Interestingly, although the major focus areas are consistent, the top priority for 30% of respondents is now personalisation. This puts it just ahead of automated campaigns, at 28%. Take a look at how email marketers are getting to grips with these challenges and it becomes clear why personalisation creeps in ahead as the main priority.I

If you take a look at the research, it shows an increase in email marketers' confidence that they are making strides in automation. Two in three -- at 67% -- are now revealing they are "quite" or "very" successful in implementing automated campaigns. 

At the same time, there has been a doubling -- in just a year -- of email marketers who now feel confident they can personalise emails around a recipient's preferences and individual behaviour. Last year only 8% were making strides of this kind in personalisation, while today the figure has leapt to 15%.

So there has been an incredible doubling in personalisation confidence, but compared to automation there is a huge gap. Just one in seven are happy with their personalisation efforts, while two in three are content they are making progress with automation. Hence, they are both hugely important areas -- only the one that's lagging at the moment is rightly being prioritised. 

When you consider the rapid adoption of automation -- and to a lesser extent, personalisation -- to ensure that consumers get a service that is dedicated to their likes and their current position in the customer journey, it seems strange that email isn't valued more.

For anyone in the genre, it will not come as a surprise that email is undervalued. It's often considered yesterday's channel by gurus,  but anyone who takes a look at the metrics usually comes away with the opposite view. 

That couldn't be made any clearer than in this latest report that a seventh of budget goes to email, yet it accounts for nearly a quarter of sales. If you need a killer stat to get more budget, that could well be the one to jot down, alongside the observation that this disconnect has been going on for years.

How much longer can wider marketing teams ignore the underinvestment in a channel that is written off yet keeps on over-delivering compared to other channels?

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