Email Slips To Fourth Among Effective Tactics, Study Finds

Email, while tied to every form of digital marketing, has sunk to fourth among the most effective tactics, according to Marketing Resource Effectiveness, a study by Ascend2.

Email marketing campaigns are seen as effective by 39%. In contrast, 53% say social media is effective, while 48% feel that way about content marketing and 47% about search engine optimization.  

Yet email is seen as the least difficult activity, identified by only 21%. The most challenging tactic, cited by 49%, is data and AI-driven marketing, followed by content campaigns (38%), programmatic advertising (34%) and search engine optimization (33%).

In perceived effectiveness, email beats marketing automation campaigns (28%), data and AI-driven marketing (25%) and programmatic advertising (18%).

Ascend2 and its Researcher Partners surveyed 227 marketers. 

Overall, 34% say their strategies are very successful, or best-in-class, while 62% say they are somewhat successful and 5% say they are not successful.



Their primary strategic objectives are:

  • Increasing leads/sales prospects —  64%
  • Improving brand awareness — 61% 
  • Increasing customer acquisition — 61%
  • Improving engagement/nurturing — 34%
  • Improving user experience — 20%
  • Increasing marketing technology—  15% 
  • Improving multichannel analytics — 15%

The challenges are in a slightly different order 

  • Increasing customer acquisition — 53%
  • Increasing leads/sales prospects — 48%
  • Improving brand awareness — 44%
  • Improving engagement/nurturing — 32%
  • Improving user experience — 30%
  • Improving multichannel analytics — 28%
  • Increasing marketing technology—25%

Of the companies surveyed, 75% rely on a combination of outsourced and in-house resources.  In addition, 13% outsource to specialists and 12% use in-house resources only.

3 comments about "Email Slips To Fourth Among Effective Tactics, Study Finds".
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  1. Chuck Lantz from, network, January 11, 2019 at 6:18 p.m.

    It's both amusing, and disappointing, that "improving user experience" is so far down the lists. 

  2. James Smith from J. R. Smith Group, January 12, 2019 at 7:29 a.m.

    Chuck, I agree that the study results were disappointing but from a slightly different slant. The "objectives" suggest that a majority of marketers haven't moved off the product/brand centric dime. The challenges results also point in that direction.  Further, that only 5% admit to being less than successful...seriously? 

    I only hope the results are at least partially due to a "non-representative" sample.

  3. PJ Lehrer from NYU, January 15, 2019 at 11:13 a.m.

    This sample size is too small to be meaningful.

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