Commercial emails are flooding inboxes this year, with 60% of all marketing executives saying their firms have upped their volume, according to the Fall 2020 State of Email Report, a study by Litmus.
But they are beset with challenges, including the fact that only 26% have the resources they need, and 40% apparently have much less.
Of the firms represented, 56% have two or less full-time email marketers on staff. And only 12% expect to add email staff, roughly half the percentage in 2019.
At the same time, fewer than 25% can measure the ROI of email well or very well. And 45% say their measurement is poor or nonexistent.
Then there’s the COVID-19 pandemic — while 11% have seen email budget increases during the pandemic, 40% have had cuts.
Yet 78% say email is important to company success — up from 71% in 2019, while 74% say it is vital. In addition, 94% say email is one of their three most effective marketing channels, and 77% place it in the top two.
And while 66% lack the resources to conduct personalized campaigns, 60% are putting a priority on ramping up personalization.
Despite these drawbacks, brands are making progress in certain areas of personalization.
At present, 72% follow the basics, personalizing name and company name. But progress has been made in these areas:
The only form of personalization that has declined YoY is geolocation, from 36% to 31%
Progress has also been made in several elements in A/B testing, although not in all elements:
Meanwhile, content has changed during the pandemic, with 53% focusing on thought leadership instead of products, and 46% emphasizing corporate social responsibility.
Even with improvements, brands have yet to achieve capabilities in two much-hyped areas:
Work flow issues may be getting in the way at many firms — 30% say the approval process is too burdensome, and 50% believe they need to improve it.
If anything, there are more departments involved in review and approval than there were last year. The executive team now takes part at 34% of firms (up from 26%), while sales are involved in 25% (up from 16%), legal and compliance in 23% (up from 16% and merchandising in 16% (up from 5%).
But marketing involvement has slipped slightly from 90% to 87%, and IT participation from 8% to 4%.
Litmus surveyed over 2,000 marketers.