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Marketers have a love & hate relationship with email

It’s a channel digital marketers work with on a daily basis. So how do they feel about email marketing, which elements do they love or hate? In a first for the Adestra/Econsultancy Email Marketing Industry Census 2013*, that surveyed over 1300 email marketers, it asked this emotive question in a completely open-ended way – and, interestingly, clear themes emerged repeatedly. Many marketers and agencies are so close to email, it has become a love/hate relationship.

One interesting standout statistic is that companies hate the ‘data’ and ‘time consuming’ element. So the obvious solution is to give the data job to the agency, as they love it! Perhaps company marketers feel they are overwhelmed by the data, unable to focus on the key metrics for ROI. Results are split by company and agency respondents:


WE HATE DATA. Marketers’ top hate is data in email marketing – for example a lack of data, poor quality data, and poor understanding and utilising of the data. The Census found that a poor quality database was the top barrier to effective email marketing, and it is getting more of a problem as the years go by, not helped by the mushrooming quantity of data collected, up 16% since 2007. Companies also regularly mentioned how they hated “˜time-consuming’ creation of email campaigns, and many hate “˜testing’ and “˜segmentation’.

WE LOVE DESIGN. Marketers love “˜design & content’, “˜creating dynamic content’ and “˜creativity’. That’s understandable, while the look and feel of individual campaigns is important, what about the bigger picture – is response improving, is relevance better, is engagement higher? Focusing on such strategic elements directly affects response, marketers may then be able to rate their email marketing as better than poor or average (61% rated their email marketing performance as “˜poor’ or “˜average’). Companies love design and creating side of things, yet it’s this that takes the most time – so it’s catch-22, unless they can outsource.


WE LOVE DATA. Agencies are more focused on “˜reporting’, “˜tracking ROI’, and “˜testing’ , while creativity came up slightly less often. So top of the agenda for them is data management and working out the best return strategically.

WE HATE CLIENTS . Agencies hate clients! Well they would say that. Issues relating to their clients are top, for example getting buy-in from the client, the client’s lack of understanding of the process, and last-minute changes from them. Quality or lack of data was also mentioned by many, as was poor open rates and bounces.

Both companies and agencies would like to do more “˜integration’. Integrating email marketing with other business function pays significant dividends, but the barriers are significant (not least time and investment).

*This is the seventh annual Email Marketing Industry Census, and is the largest survey of its type in the UK. More than 1,300 respondents from a mixture of in-house teams, email service providers (ESPs) and digital marketing agencies took part, which took the form of an online survey in January and February 2013.

You can download your copy for the report for free here >