Though 83% of companies see the benefits of increased automation in email marketing, many are yet to use the technology to its full extent. 

For example, though the use of triggers for emails such as abandoned baskets can produce results, the vast majority are just using one or two automated triggers. 

In this post, I'll look at some of the findings from our Email Marketing Industry Census 2014, based on a survey of more than 1,100 email marketers and produced in partnership with Adestra

Benefits of marketing automation

The majority of company respondents (83%) are very or quite clear on the benefits of automation. Agencies were slightly less sure, with 34% declaring themselves 'not at all clear'. 

Q: How clear are you on the benefits of marketing automation? (company respondents) 

The benefits cited include: 

  • More relevant communication (83%). 
  • Increased customer engagement (76%).
  • More timely communication (73%).
  • Increased cross and up-sell opportunities (65%).
  • Increased revenue (57%)
  • Saving time (56%). 

Automated email triggers

Companies do not seem to be using a range of automated triggers. 

Though 59% are using 'subscription or sign up to website' and 46% are using an automated response to website visit/sign-up as an opportunity to send automated emails, only between 19% and 27% of companies are using the remaining actions or behaviours as triggers for sending automated emails. 

In comparison, agency clients are typically more likely to use almost all of the suggested triggers. 

SixC Ltd MD Andrew Campbell puts it nicely: 

This is the ‘must do’ action for all email marketers. Triggering emails based on customer actions is the equivalent of the email marketing’s back yard - and there is treasure to be found here! Marketers must ensure that they don’t overlook this as they pursue the undoubted rewards to be gained from greater integration with the web, social and mobile channels.

Barriers to implementation of email automation 

One of the major benefit of email automation is the time it can save but, for 45% of companies, finding time to make it happen is one of the three main barriers impeding their marketing automation.

More than a third of companies also cited a lack of resources (37%) and integrating data (35%) as issues preventing their automation efforts from succeeding. 

Q: What are the main challenges you have faced in trying to implement marketing automation? (company respondents) 

Graham Charlton

Published 9 April, 2014 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is editor in chief at SaleCycle, and former editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (2)

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, Founder and Author at Fresh Relevance

I find athe biggest challenge in implementing email marketing automation is getting buy-in from the Website team to add a one-line script to their pages. This is especially an issue when Website support is outsourced.

This is because the technology responsible for automating triggered messages is not primarily about email marketing - it actually sits between an eCommerce website and an ESP. And the first implementation step is installing the tiny email script on the Website which which collects customer behavior data and signals to drive those automated emails.

Email Marketers generally like email automation. They need to design a few emails, which is not a problem for them as it's their day job. And they will look very good when e.g. cart+browse abandonment emails significantly increase sales:

But Web Marketers are not so sure. There's no upside for them in extra Web-derived sales, they have to install and test an unknown script on their server, and most important, they could carry the can if something goes wrong.

It's not that the people in charge of the Website are anti-email, but that they are incentivized to meet *their* targets, not those of the email marketers next door who want automated emails.

The best way forward is to ensure that all marketers gain, by broadening the technology into automated multi-channel marketing: with automated online messaging and product recommendations, not just automated emails.

over 4 years ago


Natalia Kn, student at none

Are your reports based only on UK data?

about 3 years ago

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