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May 04, 2010

New Chart: How Effective is Email Marketing?

SUMMARY: We asked more than 1,400 marketers for their opinions on how the effectiveness of email for marketing purposes was changing. Their answers may surprise you. Check out this week’s chart to see the results.
By Sergio Balegno, Research Director

Email Marketing Effectiveness is Still Strong
View Chart Online
Click here to see a larger, printable version of this chart

In general, the effectiveness of email for marketing purposes is doing well. More than 3 times the percentage of marketers who said the effectiveness of the medium is decreasing said it is increasing. Despite the challenges that marketers have with email, their opinion of the medium is still quite strong. This attitude is one reason for the continuing shift in marketing budgets from other tactics to email.

Marketers at larger organizations -- those with more access to, and opinions based on, quantifiable data -- are more likely to think that email effectiveness is "increasing a little" than their counterparts at smaller organizations.

Good news for consumer marketers -- email effectiveness is "increasing a lot" by a rate of nearly 2 to 1 over those in the B2B channel. An emphasis on list segmentation practices, content relevancy and user preferences may be the differentiating factors between the two channels.

Agencies are not as optimistic as their clients about the effectiveness of client email marketing programs. Approximately 27% of agencies said their clients’ email effectiveness is decreasing. This compares to 19% of marketers in general.

For additional research data and insights about email marketing, download and read the free Executive Summary from MarketingSherpa’s 2010 Email Marketing Benchmark Report.

See Also:

Comments about this Chart

May 04, 2010 - Bill Grunau of Circle of One Marketing says:
I see the data and still have a hard time believing it. I guess I am in either the 3% that thinks email marketing effectiveness is decreasing alot or at best the 13% that thinks it is decreasing a little, or maybe I am ahead of the actual curve on this one. My view is that email marketing is Outbound/interuption based marketing and people are REALLY tired of getting tons of newsletters everyday. All of us are in information overload and the email marketing is a major contributor to this. My opinion is that Facebook Fan pages are going to replace this and here's why. Customers & Fans can choose when to go to the page, they only see postings when they choose to go to Facebook and it does not interupt their day and clog up their inbox. It is much more of a personal and social relationship and does not "feel" like classic advertising. Twitter is going to have an impact on this too. Even though Tweets stream all day, Follower choose when to login and do it at their convenience. And again, it is a more social and interactive experience where email marketing is a one way blast and rarely all that informative or useful. My view, email marketing days are numbered, it is in the process of becoming outdated. Bill Grunau

May 04, 2010 - Sergio Balegno of MarketingSherpa says:
Thanks for your comment, Bill. I think the reason many marketers are still seeing increases in email effectiveness is because recipients are being more selective about the lists they opt-in to. This selectiveness may be causing opt-in rates to decline, but it is also causing other effectiveness indictors like conversion rates to improve in many cases. -Sergio

May 06, 2010 - Chris Middings of Seventh Generation says:
Let me go out on a limb here and speculate: Once Facebook launches its email application, they will (if they are smart about it) have two inboxes -- one for Friends/Fanned Pages, and one for everything else. In a single stroke, they have just eliminated SPAM forever. You will now have the ability to approve an email sender before they send you anything and no longer have to see any email from someone you didn't pre-approve.

May 06, 2010 - Mary Kay Lofurno of SyberWorks, Inc says:
Well, I believe the question is vague. Is email effective for what? Prospect Acquisition? Customer Acquisition? Customer Retention? Are we talking about B2B or B2C? Are we talking about using it as a way to move prospects down the funnel after they have already raised their hand? I understand you are doing this to get marketers talking but its vague. My two cents...

May 06, 2010 - Jodi Kaplan of KaplanCopy says:
Like anything else, email is most effective when it's anticipated and relevant. Do people who signed up for HARO or Daily Candy eagerly open their emails? Yes they do! What doesn't work is when the email is all about the sender. 20% off every day! Did you like our free ebook? Buy our 6-CD set for $2500!

May 06, 2010 - Simon Payn of Ready to Go Newsletters says:
Yes, Sergio, people are being more selective. And that's fine - because you really only want to talk only with the people who are likely to convert, the people you connect wit. For email marketers, it means that their content has to be relevant, entertaining and useful to these people. It has to be content that - as I say - makes their lives better. Send the right message to the right people, and they'll look forward to your emails, not feel interrupted. And the'll take action.

May 06, 2010 - Jeremy Dempsey of Gold Lasso says:
I feel email is far from doomed and would have to agree with Sergio. Here's why: Like everything that gets better with age, so is email and the tools available to marketers. Campaigns that are being deployed with yesteryear tactics and technologies are getting worse in the eyes of the recipient and the ISPs as are the conversions / ROI associated with simple "batch and blast" techniques. They aren't up to today's standards for audience targeting, data / analytics leveraging and ISP deliverability and as a result, the "out of date" marketer is suffering, as is their brand and the revenue associated with not being up to speed with best practices and leveraging their data to market with more intelligence.. Let's be honest here, social media is here and its not going away, neither is email. Together they are a powerhouse if used correctly, however it has caused quite a shift in audience / subscriber expectations of what they want to receive in their inbox. Many marketers still send one general email message to their enitre list, don't follow list management best practices such as ISP FBL's, custom DNS, suppress bounces and complainers and don't ask their audience for feedback on what they would like to reveive in their inbox. They also don't leverage their web analytics, CRM, other channels for feedback, etc or try to acquire the proper tools to help them execute campaigns for 2010. I'm of the opinion that these marketers deserve everything that they get...or don't get as a result of their ignorance. Don't cry when you don't even try. on the other hand, there are many marketers that know that they need to do this, have the feed back from their subscribers and data sitting somewhere on their side and it is just doing just that, sitting there. The reason it's not being used is simple, lack of knowledge on how to leverage it or lack of tools to execute a targeted campaign that incorporates multiple channels of communication and multiple sources of data. Usually the marketer is simply afraid of change because they are under the impression that these types of tools are reserved for the big marketing departments and Madison Avenue to deploy complex email campaigns. The reality is that is far from the truth, any marketer that wants to successfully execute email campaigns should simply consult with an ESP (email service provider) that can help them overcome their current struggles and have an actionable plan in place for multichannel messaging, automation, ISP relations and integration with infrastructure already in place. Find a high level feature set ESP without a highlevel price tag, an ESP positioned for value and not only will the minor changes make a huge difference, your audience will be more engaged and your ROI will soar. Hope this helps sort out the "arguement". Jeremy Dempsey VP, Gold Lasso, Inc. ( & ) +1-240-252-4862 (direct) jdempsey (at) goldlasso (dot) com

May 06, 2010 - Lee Kirkby of Leppert Business Systems says:
Our experience shows that we are getting a higher rate of bounced e-mails. We target a B2B market with an opt in newsletter primarily and unfortunately we find that often the Office Assistant gets in the way of many messages. That said we still see e-mail marketing as a key part of our strategy to keep in touch with clients and others.

May 06, 2010 - Sergio Balegno of MarketingSherpa says:
Thanks for all the great comments! Mary Kay - the question isn't intentionally vague, it's an average of the effectiveness for achieving a collective of objectives. Much more specific data is available in other charts presented in the benchmark report. Simon - you hit the nail right on the head. To add to your comments, Jeremy - email needs social media and social media needs email. Sergio

May 06, 2010 - Mitch Tarr of ZinMarketing Inc. says:
Every year we hear about the demise of email marketing. And every year those of us that work in email marketing every day are reminded that the medium works. And it really works if you use it properly.

May 10, 2010 - Michael Ratner of Compendium says:
Interesting chart. It seems there are pro and anti social networkers. If you have created aculture of interesting and poignant emails you will find that it is still the best way to go. People have to want to engage not based purely on selling tactics. It works and the calibre of those who open it is very very good. On the other hand social networking is cluttering up the airwaves because of the free for all situation is has created. Customers are lethargic. Yes they can choose with social networking when they elect to receive information but those pages become insignificant for that same reason. I do not use Twitter - I have a Twitter account and am being followed by Mad Dog Freddie; One Eyed George and all their relatives.... and do I want to receive Tweets.... who gives a tinkers if someone had a cup of coffee at 10am but they do care when they get a constructed email from Compendium because they know it is sent with a lot of thought. So hang in there emailers. Done properly it leaves social networking behind.

May 19, 2010 - Sarna Marcus of The Page Group, Inc. says:
Thanks for much valuable information. We have experienced good response and click-through rates w/email marketing. Our rule of thumb w/b-to-b as well as b-to-c is always the same: never on weekends, never on fridays, mondays, of days bracketing a holiday, and always at 10am or 2pm. The only adjustments we make are for time zones. As for targeting the message to individual audience segments, this is always a win strategy.

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