Overcoming the Main Concerns Facing Email Practioneers Today?


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The key concerns facing email marketing practitioners

Email is used heavily in both B2B and B2C markets. The medium has obvious advantages- immediate, cost effective, real-time tracking and quick feedback loops for testing. The benefits are well documented, but this only tells half the story. UK email practitioners are facing difficult challenges when trying to manage an email program.

Adestra have conducted a survey of 65 UK based email practitioners to discover what the main challenges are that are facing them today. The results make interesting reading, with participants readily recognising that they could improve their email program.

In this article we provide a detailed summary of the main findings and Adestra’s suggestions of how you can address them. We also look to the US. A more advanced email market than the UK, a recent Marketing Sherpa study has provided insight into the challenges facing US marketers. Despite a more advanced email market, the challenges described are similar to those facing UK experiences showing that all email practitioners across the globe are facing similar challenges

Survey reveals challenges facing UK email marketing practitioners

Published in June 2005 as part of the preparation for the Adestra email marketing clinc at the Online Marketing Show, Adestra have just conducted a survey of UK marketers to understand their challenges:

Methodology of the email marketing survey The survey canvassed 65 UK based marketers to investigate what they believe are the main challenges facing them within their email marketing. Both B2B and B2C companies participated including companies such as Ford Motor Company, Coors Brewers, Prudential, Investec Asset Management, RAC, Future Publishing Ltd, Cotton Traders and Reed Business Information. Findings of the email marketing survey

  • 34% of B2B and 29% of B2C marketers in the sample agree that the growing, cleaning and management of their email contact database is the aspect of their email marketing program that they could improve most

  • When considering what ‘hot topics’ marketers wanted to learn more about to improve their email marketing, both B2B and B2C marketers voted for the same aspects:

  • Deliverability: ensuring messages get to inboxes

  • Message design: optimised design and lay-out of messages

  • The future for email: new emerging technologies within email marketing e. g. rich media

  • B2B marketers want to learn more about best practice lead generation email programs whereas B2C marketers prefer to discover more about eZine newsletters.

  • 4 out of 5 respondents in the sample plan to use email marketing more in 2006.
Conclusions of the email marketing survey Interestingly, both B2B and B2C marketers are facing similar challenges despite using email marketing in different ways. They want to learn more about issues such as deliverability and spam and most recognise that there are faults within their existing programs, especially in the way they manage their email contact database With 80% of the UK marketers in the sample planning to use email marketing more in 2006, and the willingness of the sample to accept that there are numerous ways in which they could improve their email marketing program, marketers should consider working with email marketing specialists such as Adestra to use their expertise when developing their email programs

Adestra recommendations for addressing challenges

  • Email Database Hygiene:
Adestra recommend reviewing your entire data management strategy:

  • Acquisition: make data capture vehicles work- see our 5 ways to get better data quality at point of collection for your email marketing program article for suggestions how

  • Segmentation: Ensure you have enough information about each records to select only relevant names for your communications. Badly targeted messages mean more unsubscribes. Within Adestra’s Message Focus, you are able to segment by demographic and behaviour.

  • ’Update my details’: Adestra recommend that every email you send links back to a form for recipients to "updating my details". Even with no incentive, our experience across a number of clients reveals that for every campaign, a small number of people always update their details. When multiplied over all your communications, this becomes a cost effective method of cleaning your database- much cheaper than using the telephone! Adestra have worked with individual clients to set these up, often pre-filling the form to increase response.

  • Feedback: Every campaign broadcast through Adestra’s Message Focus automatically suppresses unsubscribe requests and hard bounces (for more information on bounces, please see our "How clean is your email marketing contact database?" article). This allows you to understand how many active records you have in real-time.

  • Monitor: Use reporting to constantly understand how many records on your database have all the fields you require- some may be missing job titles etc. Consider running extra campaigns to encourage people to provide you with the extra fields you are missing

  • Learning more about deliverability, spam and the future for email
To keep up to date with the latest ‘hot topics’ within email marketing, Adestra recommend you subscribe to many email marketing newsletters including:

  • Adestra Updates (our very own newsletter)

  • Osborne Clark’s Marketing law - www.marketinglaw.co.uk

  • e-Consultancy - www.e-consultancy.com

  • Email Sherpa - www.emailsherpa.com
Alternatively, you could save time by working with an email marketing agency such as Adestra. These companies specialise within email marketing ensuring they stay up to date with email developments, so you don’t have to- you can just pick their brains!

  • Learning from eZine Newsletters and Lead Generation campaigns
To get informative case studies, you need to regularly attend meetings of associations such as the DMA and the IDM, attend all leading industry shows and subscribe to a host of email newsletters.

Amongst this wealth of information, there may be a case study that is relevant to your role and organisation. Adestra recommend you work with an email marketing agency who can draw from their experience of working with many different email players to provide best practice and ideas from improvement continuusly. Often, the best ideas come from places you’d never expect and using an agency such as Adestra allows you to find them!

  • Use of email will increase in 2006
Adestra recognise that the email channel will become more important throughout 2006 for many companies, both B2B and B2C. Addressing the challenges today will allow your email marketing program to continue successfully within the future. For more information about the survey, please contact Paul Crabtree

The view from across the pond

A recent Marketing Sherpa study revealed that most US marketers perceive that they are faced with significant challenges when managing their email program. Surprisingly, these challenges are not entirely in the planning and management of devising and managing an email marketing program. Instead, it is problems born out of office politics a result of the importance to the organisation of the email channel. Major battles include:

  • Frequency caps on sending: How often is too often?

  • Management education: The challenges ensuring senior management do not perceive email programs as a ‘cheap’ alternative. Allocating appropriate resource rather than re-using people and content is essential to ensure optimisation. Adding to this the need for a mindset shift from a “its cheap so lets just keep doing it” to a “direct marketing” paradigm where testing, measurement and improvement techniques are used is a considerable challenge.

  • Multiple database managers: Ensuring both compliance and the collation of email names from across the business to support a coherent and legal email program
Adestra believe that all these challenges can be addressed by implementing a measurable email marketing program which is continuously tested to improve it. Questions such as “how often is too often?” can be answered by analysing the contact history of your unsubscribe suppression file. Educating senior management can be a tough job, unless you have real empirical data to back up your assertions. By demonstrating the ROI associated with your email marketing program and getting senior management buy-in will help you overcome the difficulties getting data from varying sources within the business. When senior management are behind the program, the rest of the business tends to fall in line. On a more practical level, Adestra’s Message Focus includes a form manager which allows you to create data capture forms to be used when acquiring contact information. This information can be exported from Adestra’s Message Focus at any point. Adestra recommend considering using Adestra forms to manage your data capture- this ensures your email database is deduped at the point of collection, you have the most up to date email list you could possibly have and that you can provide other parts of the business with access to their own Adestra’s Message Focus account to download their own lists.

More information about our email marketing broadcast services

Adestra provide welcome tactical advice and input on our client’s email marketing program.

Adestras Message Focus

Adestra have a proven track record in providing email marketing tools, technology, strategy and support for a number of large corporate players. From product delivery for large publishers through to tactical direct response promotions for travel providers, all clients always benefit from the shared best practice and knowledge our team have gained working within email marketing since 2000.

Free email marketing white paper

Adestra have produced a white paper on the challenges that today’s UK email marketers are facing when trying to implement their email marketing program The research is based upon a survey of 65 marketers before the show, discussions with over 170 contacts during the show and our ongoing dialogues with our clients. It includes Adestra’s suggestions on how you can overcome challenges including:

  • Improving data management: email contacts and feedback loops

  • Find relevant case studies to learn from

  • Sifting all the data from your email campaigns to find actionable information

  • Overcoming the office politics associated with email marketing

To receive a free copy of this white paper, please contact us and state Email Marketing Whitepaper within the Further Information section of the Adestra web site (www.adestra.co.uk).


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