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Four in 10 marketers say only some of their emails are relevant: DMA

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Only one in 10 marketers say that all their emails are relevant to customers, new DMA research suggests, while four in 10 (42%) say that at best only some meet that target.

While 95% of marketers said email was important or very important to them, only 9% said all their emails were relevant to their customers, according to the DMA’s latest Marketer email tracker 2017 report. That, says the DMA, is evidence of a clear disconnect between marketers’ aspirations and the emails they produce.

The research found that marketers and consumers agree that ‘trust’ is the leading factor for persuading someone to sign up to receive emails from a brand. For marketers, having a ‘trustworthy reputation’ was the most effective way to ensure sign-ups, with 38%, and almost 29% of consumers agreed. However, ‘money-off’ (45%), ‘% off’ (41%), ‘free samples/gifts’ (35%) and ‘free delivery’ (35%) were all more popular among consumers, who appear to be swayed by the offer of something for free.

Rachel Aldighieri, managing director of the DMA, said: “Email has never been so important to marketers and has fast-become the channel round which others can be built to create a truly integrated multi-channel marketing programme. Although with this growth in email, we’re already starting to see issues with the access to good content and the knock-on effect this has on relevance. Trust is the key to any long-term relationship and if marketers want to continue to see the impressive returns on their email spend, they will need to heed consumer concerns and take care to give them what they want.”

The biggest concerns for marketers when it comes to their email programmes is ‘lack of strategy’ (28%), ‘lack of data’ (27%) and ‘data siloes’ (26%). Last year’s biggest concern for 42% of marketers was ‘limited internal resources’, which has now dropped out of the top three concerns but is still a significant issue for a quarter of marketers (25%). ‘Lack of content’ has increased consistently since 2012 to also be an issue for 25% of respondents, but with marketers needing this content to feed their campaigns this issue only looks likely to grow.

Average return on investment for email has increased slightly year-on-year, with average returns of £30.01 for every £1 spent, which is up from £29.64. However, the ability to calculate ROI is now less than half (45) and has been on a steady decline since 2012, with a significant disconnect between junior (10%) and senior (54%) marketers in whether they can make the calculation.

According to marketers, most brands are still not consistently testing emails, with 40% of respondents reporting less than a quarter of emails included a test. While fewer marketers say they do not conduct email testing at all, down from 17% to 8% this year, there was an increase in those who feel they have ‘no competence’ in email testing, up from 5% to 14%.

Skip Fidura, client services director at dotmailer and chair of the DMA’s Responsible Marketing Committee, said: “This year’s insight into the view of consumers and marketers on email paints a worrying picture. While both love the channel, consumers continue to say they get too many and irrelevant emails from brands. More worrying still is that 42% of marketers agree. The warning signs are there. Over half of consumers have considered deleting their email account to control the flow of marketing emails they receive. As email marketers, we have a responsibility to our customers, to ourselves and to our businesses to keep our channel not just viable but thriving long into the future.”

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