Assessing Your Email-Marketing Maturity — What You Need to Know

by Bridgette Darling

posted on 11-15-2016

The key to running a successful email-marketing campaign is knowing how to evaluate its effectiveness. How does your strategy compare to those of your peers, and what tactics and techniques can you implement to enhance your marketing efforts? In partnership with The Relevancy Group, Adobe conducted a study that looked at four different aspects of email: data, content, delivery, and strategy. Insight from the study helped create the Adobe Email Marketing Self-Assessment tool for evaluating email-marketing maturity across three phases: classic, dynamic, and contextual. Here are some thoughts on email marketing and what you need to know about assessing your email-marketing maturity.

The Second Wave of Results Are in — We’re All Still Obsessed With Email.
There’s no denying that consumers today are deeply involved in a love/hate relationship with email — in fact, we’re obsessed with it. And that’s a good thing, because it’s the core channel of a solid communication strategy. Building upon the first one we conducted, the second annual Adobe Email Marketing Survey collected data from over 400 respondents in North America. Following are a few of the highlights:

There’s Room for Improvement — Developing a Sophisticated Email Strategy Is Key.
By itself, email marketing is powerful — you remember the adage, “For every dollar spent, there’s 40 dollars to be made in return.” Marketers overwhelmingly agree that email is the most effective channel, ranking it above direct mail, paid search, display, and social. Yet, when asked whether they were satisfied with their current email strategy, nearly two-thirds said “no.”

Interestingly, those who were least satisfied were not using all the data and tools available to them. The key takeaway? There’s room for improvement across data, delivery, content, and strategy. The more advanced or sophisticated your email campaign — and, the more you tap into and use data — the more effective your program. Some dissatisfaction is understandable. Years ago, the process was relatively straightforward. Today — with automation and mapping, for example — data is easier to access, but the process is no longer linear.

Past studies confirm that marketers who use tactics above and beyond simple batch and blast techniques realize significant returns. More specifically, mature marketing practices yield a 4x increase. Bottom line? Real dollars are at stake with sophisticated email, and we’ve measured them.

Assess Your Email Marketing — Is Your Email Marketing Classic, Dynamic, or Contextual?
The Adobe Email Maturity Model recognizes three major personas in email marketing: classic, dynamic, and contextual. Most marketers today fall into the classic category. Classic email marketing is basic, not very sophisticated, and most marketers are unsatisfied with the effectiveness of their email-marketing strategies.

Dynamic is a little more sophisticated, the marketers are a little more satisfied, and it typically involves a team of people with the technology to use data to create segments with matching content.

The contextual level includes true pioneers, those who are very satisfied with their email program. The contextual phase is about people-based marketing and maintaining hyper-relevance to the consumer by delivering the right message at the right time to the right person. A contextual email-marketing strategy frames email in the context of the greater cross-channel strategy, using email to inform other channels and vice-versa.

Overall, marketers today are still very much in the classic phase with over one-half employing traditional techniques, such as demographics and geography, to target customers. Savvy marketers are moving toward the dynamic model with a small minority starting to adopt a contextual strategy.

The End Goal — Marketers Must Optimize for Customer Experience.
As marketers, we know there’s clutter, and yet, we all compete for consumer attention — even when we’re not direct competitors. However, the answer isn’t to blast more and hope our message is noticed.

Consumers admit that they don’t even look at emails that are irrelevant to them. They also cite frequency as a deterrent — they’re receiving too many emails, too often — and, that’s exactly why we need to talk about email-marketing maturity. Understanding, evaluating, and implementing sophisticated tactics can break through the clutter, helping you reach that all-important goal — a truly memorable customer experience.

Topics: Campaign Management