- Marketing Sherpa’s Email Marketing Benchmark Guide 2008 – chock full of charts, this report attempts to capture a snapshot of the prevailing attitudes towards (and uses of) email – as seen by the email marketing industry.
- Jupiter Research’s Email Marketing Buyer’s Guide 2008 – which evaluates 32 Email Service Providers (ESPs) for their business value and market suitability.
- Ipsos Reid’s Canadian Inter@ctive Report: Email Marketing 2007: Spam or Marketing – Do Canadians Know the Difference? – which measures how Canadians feel about and interact with email marketing.
I am always encouraged when such reputable organizations conduct thoughtful research because they provide some great insights. Furthermore, such effort reinforces the high stature that email has attained and the unique role that Email Service Providers (ESP) have in contributing to successful email marketing programs.
However, when reviewing these reports, marketers face the considerable challenge of trying to make sense of the varied insights – and often conflicting findings – contained in and across such reports. Here’s a case in point:
One study reports that the most important consideration for an executive marketer when selecting an ESP is their deliverability features and services. In fact, the vast majority of executive marketers felt this to be the case. So, it is quite curious that another study reported that only an insignificant percentage – low single digit – of marketers rated it as the biggest challenge facing them. Such a drastic contrast can potentially confuse the best of us.
So, how should senior marketers actually use these reports? Rather than using these reports to set program-specific performance benchmarks, marketers can get the most out of these tools by using them in the following ways:
- As indicators of current and forthcoming trends;
- As starting points for conversation within marketing departments on key email marketing topics such as strategy, metrics, deliverability, creative and deployment; and
- As the basis for discussion with key email-related suppliers such as ESPs.
Taking this approach ensures that marketers integrate the most relevant insights from such studies in a way that supports strong and timely decisions.