The UK market for Email Marketing Platforms and Services will grow to an estimated value of £178 million by the end of this year, according to E-consultancy’s Email Marketing Platforms Buyer’s Guide.

This figure represents the total revenue of UK email service providers (ESPs) including income from software licensing, email broadcast and related services.

Our survey of leading ESPs indicates that the market is in rude health and will grow by 20% during 2006.

Although there has been a fall in the cost of email delivery as it has become a commoditised service, ESPs have been able to boost their income by selling strategic services to help clients carry out more effective email marketing.

There is more demand for services such as customer segmentation, campaign optimisation and behavioural response marketing. 

The market is not growing as quickly as it is for a channel such as Search Engine Marketing but this is because it is in a more advanced stage of maturity. That said, 20% isn’t bad.

And this growth isn’t surprising either.

Not all organisations allocate budget to every online marketing channel but there are very few who are failing to invest in email marketing which has a proven record of delivering return on investment.

The focus of companies continues to shift from acquisition of customers to retention and that spells good news for ESPs who can help with targeted and relevant communications. Both the technology and the expertise are getting better.

Client-side marketers have become more receptive to that old chestnut espoused by email marketers – “Right person, right message, right time” .

These are some of the potential benefits of effective email marketing as outlined in the Buyer’s Guide:

• Drive sales/build revenue.
• Reduce costs.
• Increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
• Improve customer intelligence.
• Boost brand awareness and credibility.

Other trends identified in our buyer’s guide include:

• Wider take-up of best-practice email marketing as industry matures. 
• Greater integration of email marketing within the wider marketing mix.
• Increased use of RSS and mobile as complimentary communication channels.