According to a recent Econsultancy report, marketers feel that email marketing delivers better ROI than any other digital channel.

The annual Email Marketing Industry Census in association with Adestra, offers insights into what marketers are doing globally through a survey of 1,200 marketers. At a recent Econsultancy event in Singapore hosted by NTUC, we reviewd these key insights.

Here are three ways brands can capitalise by taking their email marketing to the next level.

1) Focus on the mobile email experience

It's common knowledge by now that mobile has superseded the desktop for email opens.

But what is surprising is that, according to Litmus' analysis of over 17 billion emails is that mobile became more popular for opens than webmail and desktop in 2012 - and, in 2016, more opens happened on mobile than dekstop and webmail combined.

Encouragingly, our Email Census indicated that most respondents have responded accordingly. Nearly three in four (73%) of brand marketers indicate that they are optimising emails for mobile devices (62% in Asia-Pacific).

But when we asked about the extent of their strategy, nearly four in five (78%) said they only had a 'moderate' strategy at best for optimising email for different devices.

Delegates were encouraged to consider other best practices to improve their mobile strategy above the competition including:

  • Shorter subject lines
  • Responsive landing pages
  • Easy-to-tap calls to action
  • Pre-header text for the most important information 


2) Use more sophisticated email marketing automation

According to our survey, two in three (66%) marketers globally believe that marketing automation is one of the most important attributes of an email technology provider (Asia-Pacific 69%).

When asked specifically what emails respondents were automating now, however, the most popular responses were the most basic email automations, including website subscription emails and automated responses to sign-ups.

To take it to the next level, attendees were encouraged to become familiar with more sophisticated marketing automation and to experiment with new automated workflows.

As an example, delegates were shown an email flowchart from Adestra which shows how a brand might retain a customer who had unsubscribed from their email list.

(Click to enlarge)

email flow automation

Simply becoming familiar with such workflows helps generate ideas which can dramatically improve email marketing performance.

3) Implement email personalisation (beyond just name)

A report by Oracle Eloqua confirmed, unsurprisingly, that personalising an email subject line with the receiver's name results in more opens than one with no personalisation,

The report also found, though, that using a data point in addition to the receiver's name virtually doubles the likelihood that they will open the email.

When asked whether they personalised email beyond just name, only one in three (33%) of marketers globally (21% in Asia-Pacific) indicated that they did so.

While disappointing on one hand, it also indicates that there is a significant opportunity here for brands to distinguish themselves with personalisation.

Some ideas presented to delegates of how brands could personalise email beyond just name included:

  • Product recommendations based on a user profile
  • Cart abandonment emails
  • Recognition and special offers for key customers
  • Birthday or other significant event emails

More encouragingly, the survey also indicated that marketers are keen to do more email content personalisation. When asked what they would like to do better with email marketing, two in three (66%) stated 'better personalisation' (76% in Asia-Pacific).

Additionally when asked to pick three areas of email marketing which they felt that they 'really need to focus on in 2017' the most popular answer (30%) was 'personalisation'.

With enthusiasm at these levels, it's unlikely that this opportunity to outdo the competition will be around for long!

A word of thanks

Econsultancy would like to thank all of the subject matter experts who contributed on the way as well as the delegates who took time out of their busy schedules to attend.

We hope to see you all at future Singapore Econsultancy events!

Jeff Rajeck

Published 28 June, 2017 by Jeff Rajeck

Jeff Rajeck is the APAC Research Analyst for Econsultancy . You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.  

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Comments (3)

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, Founder and Author at Fresh Relevance

Couldn't agree more. Preaching to the choir over here!

about 1 year ago

Jeff Rajeck

Jeff Rajeck, Research Analyst at EconsultancySmall Business

Thanks Pete. Yeah, I think mobile is the quick win, but for real, long-term, get-ahead-of-the-competition style marketing, the customer experience needs to be more personalized.

It's one of the rare opportunities brands have these days to catch their customers off-guard and give them more than a millisecond of their attention.

about 1 year ago


Dainis Krumins, Marketing director at Dainis serviss

Hm, I don’t get it for the Adestra example. So the person decided to unsubscribe, but if they fill the survey they still maintain on the list they just unsubscribed from? No way out? If only they ignored the emails altogether?
Other than that great read and now just have to go back to my ESP Mailerlite and tinker through the possibilities of personalization! It sure is nice to have some brands offering nice discount or bonus on your birthday or showing off what is interesting for that particular person.. I see lot of work ahead, but hopefully it pays off! Thanks for the tips!

11 months ago

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