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Email marketers spend too much time on aesthetics and too little on strategy and reporting

The 2016 Econsultancy/Adestra Email Marketing Industry Census has just been published and to help you get the best of it, we’re going to publish a series of blog posts sharing some of the most interesting stats and results. The report is based on a survey of over 1,100 client-side and agency marketers and we’re very excited to reveal our tenth annual edition.

Email marketers are focusing on tactics, rather than strategy

While design and content are important aspects of an email marketing program and they undoubtedly impact your results, it’s a bit like putting the cart before the horse. Before you can make a decision on your tactics, you need to have the strategy in place to support and guide them.

That’s why it’s worrying to see that the 2016 Email Census shows 47% of company respondents spending between two and eight hours on design and content (slightly less in agencies, at 45%). In contrast, 57% of them spend only up to two hours on strategy and planning, with 5% spending no time at all!

Time spent on email activities

Is this approach working well?

With 67% of company respondents spending up to two hours on reporting and 8% spending no time at all, it’s safe to assume that the evaluation of strategies and tactics is not given enough importance either. How are marketers meant to know if what they currently deploy is successful if they don’t take the time to report on it? Reporting is an important reflection on what your audience is really interested in and can be of great help when you start testing to improve your results.

Time to change our focus

One reason for marketers not focusing on the areas that could help them improve is that the technology they are using is hindering the effective use of their time. All is not lost though! When asked which three areas of email marketing they would like to focus on in 2016, company respondents cited measurement & analytics (28%) and strategy & campaign planning (27%) as two of the top three areas of growth.  What’s more, design and copywriting has seen a 35% decrease in focus since 2015.

Email Focus in 2016

Next time we’ll review how email marketers implement marketing automation.


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  • You’re totally right Anca – strategy is number one, then everything else!