UK Emailers Upbeat Despite Hurdles, DMA Study Shows

Email marketers are in ruddy good health, according to a study from the UK Direct Marketing Association (DMA), sponsored by dotmailer.

Of the companies surveyed, 86% say email is very important to them. And they’re pulling an average ROI of £32.28 per pound spent — a jump from £30.03, year-over-year from 2016 to 2017 — roughly equivalent to the email ROI per dollar in the U.S.

In addition, most are on the road to GDPR compliance.

Yet they face barriers to email success, among them:

  • Limited internal resources — 39%
  • Limited budget — 29%
  • Inefficient internal processes — 23%
  • Lack of data — 23%
  • Lack of strategy — 22%

Marketers are also daunted by the challenge of testing their emails. One in five have on competence at all in this discipline, and one in six simply do not test. This may partially explain the disconnect between brands and consumers on what to put in emails.



Consumers most desire advance notice of new products and loyalty program/rewards notices, whereas marketers cling to the idea that they want branded content.

That’s on view here, if you compare the two charts:

What consumers want in emails:

  • Advance notice of new products — 16%
  • Loyalty program rewards notice — 15% 
  • Free delivery offers — 11%
  • User guides — 6%
  • Branded content — 4%
What marketers think they want:
  • Free delivery offers — 38%
  • Branded content — 36%
  • Loyalty program rewards — 30% 
  • Advance notice of new products — 27%
  • User guides — 22%

On a happier note, 72% are at least somewhat prepared for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). But 43% have negative views on the rule, and 36% see it positively.

What do they use email for? The breakdown shows that they could do more work on using email for retention marketing:

  • Sales — 58%
  • Employment — 51%
  • Building relationships/loyalty — 42%
  • Brand awareness — 40%

Despite these findings, most UK emailers say email is best used for retention — 63% in B2B and 61% in B2C. And 54% of both sectors feel it is useful in brand promotion. Finally, 53% of the B2C respondents have high usage of  email for conversion, vs. 50% on the B2B side.  

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