Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's Wrong with This Picture?

I was surprised when I saw the results of a recent Email Benchmark Survey from Marketing Sherpa. It shows the effectiveness of email marketing at achieving objectives. The top 3 were:

  1. Increasing website traffic
  2. Building Brand Awareness
  3. Increasing Sales Revenue

I realize that these may not have initially been the goals set out for email marketing, but the trouble with these top 3 is that they are all typical results of batch and blast email marketing.

 #1. Increasing Website traffic – I'm surprised this was #1. While generating known visitors back to a website is always good, it would not likely be #1 for those who have adopted marketing automation. Email recipients have likely been to the website at least once. So generating the same eyeballs to your site is probably not as ideal as generating net new eyeballs to your website.

Email is not the best solution for this. Social media, Blogs, PCC and organic search will get you further every time obviously. Don’t get me wrong. Getting someone to click through an email to a specific, relevant landing page with a form on it probably counts as increasing website traffic, but increasing website traffic wouldn’t be my #1 objective. Yet it was the #1 most successful email objective in the survey.

#2. Building Brand Awareness – Yikes, this is #2? Someone once explained to me that even though 80% of their emails never get opened, the brand awareness that emails generate from exposure to the FROM and SUBJECT lines were effective at building brand. Can you imagine telling your CEO, "Unfortunately most people won't open our emails, but at least they see our name." You might as well start clearing out your desk. Marketing automation practitioners would likely focus on sending more relevant messages that actually increase opens and subsequent click through rates.

#3: Increasing Sales Revenue – A worthy objective but the measure of success may be suspect. Sending an email to sell a widget might generate a temporary lift in widget sales but as soon as the widget emails decrease, so do widget sales. This is a common B2C scenario. In B2B, it obviously takes more than email to drive sales. There’s usually a whole host of assets that contribute: webinars, white papers, video, tradeshows, etc. And of course the holy grail is an accurate method of attributing revenue across all marketing touches.

So what might this survey look like if B2B marketers who have adopted marketing automation were to respond?

Top B2B Marketing Automation Email Objectives: Align with the goal of the CEO. How?
  1. Use email to drive form conversions
  2. Use email to drive segmentation (through topic click throughs and/or progressive profiling)
  3. Use email as feeders to nurturing and scoring programs
  4. Use Autoresponder emails to fast track the next call to action
What are your top 3 email objectives in 2012?

Visit my brand new website and learn more about Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)

Steve Kellogg
-Demand Generation/Marketing Automation Consultant, Astadia
-Eloqua Certified Marketing Best Practices Consultant

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