Email marketing has taken on a new cachet as a channel in the wake of COVID-19, judging by "COVID-19 Marketing Outlook," a study by Chief Marketer.
Of the marketers polled, 39% expect email to be one of the top three sources of B2C conversions post COVID-19, versus 28% pre-pandemic.
Email ranks only behind social, which is cited by 49%.
Content marketing is third on the list, with 37%.
Prior to COVID-19, email was ranked behind search (35%) and referrals/word of mouth (33%) in producing conversions.
In another finding, 40% now see email as being one of their largest sources of B2C engagement, again second only to social, with 54%. Email had grown from 29% pre-COVID-19, and social was up from 41%.
Whatever the channels, brands are cutting back on their marketing spend.
In the wake of COVID-19, 55% are decreasing their marketing budgets, 23% keeping them flat, and only 7% are increasing them.
This is a change from the pre-COVID period, when 37% expected to increase their marketing budgets, 38% to hold steady and 14% to decrease spending. In each period, 12% didn’t know.
In this light, email may look more attractive because of costs.
“We haven’t bought any media or planned at all for our upcoming season of events,” one source says, according to the study. “It’s all email, social posts and web-based."
The top three areas of marketing spend post-pandemic are content marketing (37%), paid advertising (30%) and creative (23%).
Before COVID-19, the main areas were content marketing (49%), paid advertising (44%) and events (41%).
Asked how they judge success, 66% now say sales, 49% mention lead gen, 48% the customer experience and 43% the conversion rate.
Sales have jumped as a metric from 62% usage pre-COVID, and lead gen from 41%.
The Net Promoter Score failed to place very high in either time frame, going from 16% pre-COVID to 11% post-COVID
Among content formats, social media postings now rank highest at moving prospects through the funnel, at 54%. Video fell from 51% to 49%, losing its place on top.
Newsletters went from 9% to 16%.
Chief Marketer surveyed 147 marketers in February and early March, and 494 in late April and early May.