After a long day in meetings across London with some of our key agency clients, I’ve been reminded how much email marketing is done in a rush. 

Timelines are tight, and agencies' clients can be very demanding. As I write this, I’m returning to Oxford on the train with a grumbling stomach, a victim of a packed schedule and over-running meetings.

Clearly we are all in a hurry, and much too busy these days - all of this information we have at our fingertips inevitably means more work and missed lunches when it should mean greater tracking and better results.

But I was really surprised when I read the E-consultancy Email Marketing Census and found that as many as 47% of email marketers cannot measure their ROI on campaigns. This is according to the largest survey ever undertaken of email marketers from Adestra and E-consultancy.

Separately, the report also found that many are struggling to integrate email with the rest of their business activity (more than 8 in 10 have 'no integration' or 'some') within their organisations. Two seemingly disconnected findings - yet, how can you effectively measure ROI without having systems that talk to each other?!

Why are integrated systems important?

The critical point is that if you cannot share customer data within a company among the key departments such as sales, customer services etc - i.e. using an informal or formal CRM system - you can't effectively track where customers and sales have come from.

To put it another way, the lack of integrated systems is the major barrier to effective email marketing, much more so than the usual suspects like spam and the creative/code of the HTML.

But it really does work when you get it right - of the companies that were able to measure ROI, the figures are promising.

  • More than half of company email marketers (55%) say that their ROI from email is 3x or more.
  • Almost a third of company respondents (32%) say that their ROI is 5x or more.
  • By way of comparison, 64% of agency / ESP respondents say that their clients' ROI is typically 3x or more, and 28% say the ROI is 5x or more.

Full integration is the end goal, quick wins get you there

It amazed me that many companies are looking to implement vast analytic solutions rather than looking for quicker wins to get some tracking in that will allow them to build a business case. 

For example, most UK ESPs can integrate with your website quickly and accurately to track orders; and without too much investment. You don't have to spend a fortune to achieve these quick wins, which really put your email marketing effort on the next level.

And given the growth of email as a medium and the forecasted growth of the email services market - the potential to grow revenues and ROI is very exciting. With figures like the above to show your board, justifying your marketing budget and the case for improved integration becomes a hell of a lot easier.

A quick win is always good for marketers in a rush.

Henry is managing director of Adestra.

Henry Hyder-Smith

Published 9 March, 2007 by Henry Hyder-Smith

Henry Hyder-Smith is CEO at Adestra and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

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