Forrester: Email marketing is alive and kicking
Forrester Wave Email marketing vendors 2012 was released earlier this year. In the research, Forrester is surprised that a mature channel like email marketing is alive and in constant development. In their words, “We found a vibrant and volatile market, even though the email channel is so well established.”
The research for the Forrester report also includes a comparison of email marketing tools and services, but the most interesting part is the research conducted amongst corporate email marketeers from some of the largest email marketing services.
Email marketing more mature
A few important changes in email marketing have taken place since the last research in 2009. Firstly, email marketing has grown up and become a more mature channel. Email marketers still aren’t completely clear of the hard work that goes into campaigns; list growth and boosting opens and clicks are amongst that drudgery.
The maturity comes from email marketers using more advanced email practices like regular welcome programs and coordinating email with website content. More than two-thirds of the participants apply periodic segmentation.
Top challenges for email marketers
The research asked email marketers what their biggest challenges were for the coming two years. And while coordination with their website was one of the earlier mentioned signs of email maturity, overall integration with other channels was named the top challenge.
Challenges numbers two and three are leveraging dynamic content and segmentation. Research by econsultancy earlier this year also found that a lack of segmentation was one of the most important barriers to email marketing success, just behind lack of email marketing strategy. The lack of email marketing strategy kind of contradicts the earlier statement that the channel is mature. How can a channel be mature if no real thought has been given to goals, target audience and email tactics?
Growth might be a bottleneck for growth
The answer might lie in the growth of the channel. There are a lot of companies and individuals who are starting out with email marketing, unknown to the channel, and learning. There is a lot of knowledge available about email marketing.
The problem is that in most companies the marketing/strategy part of email is a part-time or at most a one-man task with high rotation. People take their knowledge of the channel with them as they leave for a different position. With enterprises using enterprise email solutions, this is much less the case. They might work with a team of email marketing professionals, allowing for knowledge to be passed on and in turn attract seasoned personnel.
Takeaway: Mature and tailored messaging makes email thrive. Email marketers in the top tier are seeing that the field has matured. It is still hard work, but in the coming years the challenges lie in combining marketing channels and creating more tailored messages through segmentation and use of dynamic content.