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Email marketers must innovate to retain customers

14th Oct 2014
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Email is still the bedrock of many marketing campaigns, yet marketers are becoming increasingly concerned about their lack of innovation in the field, according to a new study from Forrester and Monetate.  

As part of the research for the report ‘Innovate With Email To Create Competitive Advantage’, Forrester surveyed over 200 marketers in the US and UK to find that not only do the majority of marketing professionals “rely on email as a mainstay of marketing campaigns”, but that41% of these are worried they might lose sales by not delivering more innovation.

58% of respondents say that driving sales was their email marketing strategy’s most important goal, but that current email programs were not effective enough at achieving this. 40% deem personalisation to be the quickest route to improvement, while 39% felt it was dynamic content and contextual experiences, such as changing an offer based on a user’s profile, that was most likely to glean enhanced results.

“Today’s consumers are dynamic. They interact with each other and with brands on all kinds of channels and in all kinds of ways – a trend we expect to only continue as the customer experience further evolves,” says Bruce Ernst, vice president of product management at Monetate.

“However, the efforts many marketers use to reach consumers are not equally as dynamic. The technology exists for marketers to create these dynamic experiences, and brands must adopt these innovative technologies in order to meet ever-changing customer expectations.”

Figures from the DMA recently highlighted an increase in email use of more than 30% in the last 10 years, with email still rated the number one digital channel by marketers, contributing to 30% of all digital revenues.

However, the fear for email marketers is that quantity is still being chosen over quality, and that in the age of customer-centricity, failure to deliver more creativity will result in a decline in loyalty. Forrester’s study point towards this fact, with the greatest risks marketers see from not innovation being customer attrition (42%), loss of sales (41%) and negative brand image (37%).

According to the study authored by Forrester VP and Principal Analyst Shar VanBoskirk, in the age of the customer, “the ability to create and maintain customer relationships is not just a good ‘customer-centric’ approach. It is a competitive necessity.” It also states, “email marketing still wins as the most cost-effective marketing channel for building and maintaining customer goodwill.”  

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