Social media's votaries may be surprised by a couple of well researched reports that give the lie to the notion that direct marketing via email is passe. Direct Marketing News refers to a study from email marketing company Epsilon and the Direct Marketing Association's Email Experience Council (EEC) which found that "the average email open rate increased 4% year-over-year to 23.3% in the first quarter".
Global consulting firm Winterberry group chimed in along similar lines noting that direct mail advertising sales saw a 3.1 percent increase in 2010, compared to its 20 percent decline from the three years prior. They expect that to go up to 5.8 percent for the following year. Businesses small and big ought to consider putting more of their business marketing efforts into direct mail as the medium continues to witness significant growth after spending several years on the decline.
Late last week the publicly traded research giant Forrester revived a recurring theme of theirs from over the years while putting out a report whose abstract notes that marketers sought "to get a pulse on how they currently employ one of the most veteran tools in their interactive tool kits — email. Forrester's research showed "that (while) more B2C than B2B firms use email, email budgets will idle in 2011. The report also found that "email marketers expect email to get more effective, even though they don't yet comprehensively employ best practices and goes on to recommend "that marketers invest in analytics, use clean lists, implement device detection, focus on relevant content before employing rich media, and incorporate social media into their email programs."
Forrester's report had a number of suggestions for firms looking to train their sights (again) on the old marketing chestnut. These somewhat intuitive pointers include spending more dollars on email analytics to gain a better understanding of customer insights which could help in sifting out more valuable customers. On the to-do list is a cleaning up data to remove redundant and incorrectly formatted addresses while also ensuring relevance so that the message is in sync with the recipients' needs. Finally platform compatibility so that messages can be opened on whatever device the intended reader is using.