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Email marketing: the latest

I had a read of an interesting report recently – the Lionbridge 2014 Global Email Survey. With internet connections rising and more and more people using their smartphones to check email, this is an area worth looking at.

While social platforms are proliferating the online marketing sector, consumers also want a more direct and personalised level of communication, which is where email often comes in.

The survey’s results show clear areas where improvement could be made; from responsive design to localised content and more.

Here’s a look at the latest statistics about email marketing from the Lionbridge report:

+     Market research estimates email marketing will increase to a $6.5 billion market globally by 2018.

+     Most organisations say they handle email communications centrally, and just 16.7 per cent of respondents said they ran email as a standalone activity. Two-thirds of those who ran an integrated strategy said they combined email marketing with social media and content marketing to more actively engage target markets.

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+     While most respondents follow email privacy and other regulations carefully, over 45 per cent have no clear strategy for managing the frequency of email communications.

+     The results confirm that most marketers struggle with drawing a straight line from their efforts to business results: nearly 4 out of 5 respondents are not able to directly track their email ROI. This is sure to make ROI measurement a hot topic for 2014.

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+     While the majority of respondents said they used centralised email strategies in their corporate headquarters (64.1%), that leaves more than 1 in 3 taking a decentralised approach. And even when it is centralised, who “owns” email marketing is still largely up for grabs, with 34.4% falling to Digital Marketing, 40.2% falling to Marketing Operations, and the rest split among Customer Care, Promotions/Program Management and “Other.”

+     Companies are centralising email operations and technology to drive organisational efficiency. However, this can actually create inefficiencies in the email localisation process. While around half the respondents reported localising or translating email copy, brand messaging, images, calls to action and web links, that still leaves around half who do not. Nearly 75% of respondents say that they do not maintain a list of regional preferences, instead managing localisation on an ongoing basis. This highlights a huge opportunity for these organisations to centralise localisation efforts and streamline the email process. 

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+     Businesses don’t use email just for marketing. While customer engagement (74%), product announcements/news (71.3%) and customer acquisition/product sales (63.3%) top the list, respondents also use email for brand awareness (57.9%), customer service (45.3%) and customer/industry research (30.8%). 

+     The majority of respondents follow customer- identified communication preferences, with 47% applying buyer profiles to databases for targeting and segmentation. When it comes to complying with privacy and other email regulations, 60.4% of respondents said an internal team handles compliance and 26.1% report that the email system manages it. When it comes to practices that fall outside the realm of regulations, only 45.2% of respondents place no restrictions on the frequency of global email campaigns.

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+     Despite the fact that more people use their smartphones to read emails than to make phone calls, only 42.3% of participants use responsive design (RD) to ensure that recipients can access email communications across mobile and non-mobile devices, leaving over half (57.7%) without RD and no immediate plans to incorporate it.

+     And, despite the sophisticated tracking capabilities of today’s email marketing systems, most marketers still strongly rely on open rates to measure success (74.4%). With only 49.1% of respondents tying email campaigns to their impact on sales revenue and 52.9% using a standard global measurement process, it’s small wonder that only 13.2% use performance metrics to secure budgets for future programs.

How do you integrate email into your strategy? Which areas do you think businesses could improve on? We’d love to hear your thoughts.