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Rusty old email stays on top

Trick is to tailor focused marketing messages—no “batch-and-blast”

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Rusty old email stays on top

As the adoption of marketing tactics across multiple channels, including social, mobile, web, and in the store, continues to grow, email remains a vital component, says a benchmark study by IBM.

Top performing brands demonstrate a commitment to establishing an ongoing engagement with customers, one that provides each individual with additional value while opening up new revenue opportunity for the business.

All in the timing

Specifically the study found that brands using email campaigns triggered by a person’s previous action, such as a recent purchase or the resetting of their password, drive higher customer engagement due to the timeliness and relevancy of these messages.

According to the study these campaigns—known as transactional emails—produced an open rate of 72% and average click-through rate of 30%.

For example, if 500 customers who purchased a cruise vacation are sent a follow-up email containing additional deals on related items, 360 consumers would open the email with close to 110 clicking on the link to get more detail.

IBM cited a report from the Direct Marketing Association that for every $1 spent on email marketing, there’s an average return of $44.25.

What makes for winners

Additional key findings include:

Winners win big. Top performing brands in the travel industry excelled, with email open rates reaching upwards of 50%, ten times more than their lower performing peers. Travel brands, which tend to effectively use strong visuals and offer-heavy approaches, led all top performers with click-through rates of just over 15%.

Dumpmail doesn’t sell. While the travel industry soared, retail/ecommerce missed the mark, producing some of the lowest customer engagement rates. These low rates result from retailers that continue to rely on traditional batch-and-blast methods which lack the personalization that today’s consumer demands.

Growth in hot climates. Asia-Pacific brands outperformed their counterparts in North America and Europe on most benchmarks, with top quartile performers achieving a nearly 50% open rate. This likely indicates that marketers in the region are capitalizing on the explosive digital marketing growth in the area.

IBM’s study analyzes emails sent by 3,000 brands in industries such as travel, retail, IT, insurance, and more.

"In an industry that’s evolving at the speed of light, email, when leveraged in context of the customer's experiences, remains one of the most effective ways for brands to engage with the ‘always-on’ consumer,” says Deepak Advani, general manager, IBM Commerce. “By combining email marketing with deep analytics, marketers can now understand their customers on entirely new levels, generating additional insights from the digital world to deliver meaningful experiences for each consumer at the right place and the right time."

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