Email Tops Usage List Of Association Marketers

Email remains one of the most widely used tactics for association marketing, according to a study by Demand Metric.  It is used by 99% of the groups polled, trying it with event and content marketing. 

And, it is rated as the most effective by 75%, trying it with content marketing. But there has been a slight decline in terms of email effectiveness from 77% in 2016 and 81% in 2014.

In rating the “delta — the difference between low and high effectiveness — social media tops the list, with 36%. But email is close, with a delta of 35%.

Following the leaders in terms of effectiveness are social media marketing (56%), website and/or SEO marketing 49%), digital marketing/advertising (42%) and direct mail (39%). The latter dropped by 8% from last year.

However, usage patterns are slightly different. Those tied for first are followed by social media marketing (96%), website and/or SEO marketing (90%), digital marketing/advertising (86%), and direct mail (84%).



Demand Metric observes that “effectiveness has nothing to do with what tactics are being used. For the most part, associations tend to do the same things; one segment is just much better at it. Therefore, the dierence must be related to skills or execution and not the choice of tactics.”

As to who owns email within an organization, the study shows that Communications is the “primary execution owner” of email newsletters, and Marketing the primary Strategy and Measurement owner. For email marketing, Marketing owns all three functions.

When it comes to digital marketing approaches, 87% deploy email newsletters,  62% email marketing software, 55% email with dynamic content and 45% have emai preference centers.

However, Facebook is second overall, being utilized by 86%. Twitter is third, with 85%, and Google Analytics fourth, with 66%. Email marketing software is fifth.

The study also found that most metrics still pertain to email. For example, 83% track clickthrough rates and 79% open rates. Also, 75% measure pageviews, 74% website visitors and 63% time spent on site.

Direct mail still rates highly in terms of budget. But so does email. Demand Metric writes that “email design has jumped noticeably. This may be a response to the slow decline of email e ectiveness. As the most frequently used tactic, it is no surprise that associations are funding email marketing as an investment in keeping it relevant and crective

Overall, the study shows that associations are getting at least slightly more effective. This year, 14% said their marketing is very effective, and 62% that it is somewhat effective.

Last year, those percentages were 10% and 61%, respectively.

In addition, 68% claim to understand their members’ needs well, a 4% increase over last year. But Demand Metric added that “this data does not con rm that such an e ort exists within associations. ”

For priorities and capabilities, the respondents listed these functions in their top five:

  • Marketing communications — 70%
  • Membership retention — 65%
  • Membership engagement — 62%
  • Brand management/awareness — 62%
  • Membership growth — 60%

Demand Metric surveyed 240 associations, including nonprofits.  

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