Credit crunch is changing email marketing
Figures from the latest quarterly 'National Email Benchmarking Report' suggest that email marketers are increasing their campaign focus on retention and contact frequency as they tailor strategies to adapt to the tough economic climate.
The report, produced by the UK Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Email Marketing Council, noted a significant widening of the gulf between the proportions of retention and acquisition email marketing campaigns.
During Q2 2008, retention campaigns accounted for 82% of all email marketing campaigns (up from 76% in Q1 2008). At the same time, the proportion of acquisition campaigns fell from 24% in Q1 2008 to only 18% in Q2 2008.
Over the same quarter, contact frequency increased from an average of 4.21 consumer contacts per month to 5.44, and the average number of emails sent per email service provider (ESP) per month decreased by 10% to 33,486,162.
While some of the ESPs that participated in the study partly attributed the change in numbers to seasonal fluctuations, Richard Gibson, Chairman of the DMA Email Marketing Council Benchmarking Hub, feels that the latest figures reflect the emergence of a distinct new trend: "Most of the large ESPs we spoke to cited a change in strategy direction as being the main cause behind the growing shift in focus on retention campaigns and consumer contact frequency. This has undoubtedly been triggered by the downturn in the economy."
The increase in email contacts per month also suggests that senders are returning more often to their core in-house customer lists. However, Gibson warned that it is vital that marketers should still ensure that the emails become much more targeted to help keep recipients engaged.
Richard concluded: "The good news is that it's likely that the email marketing sector will thrive in the recession. Email is proven to be cost-effective and highly accountable, so it's likely that we'll see more investment in email marketing campaigns as marketers switch resources from costlier forms of advertising."
The full report, which also includes figures for e-mail deliverability and campaign metrics, is available free to DMA members or for £500 to non-members, and can be obtained online via the DMA's web site - click here.