November 26, 2013

Marketing Research Chart: Have you kept up with new marketing developments?

SUMMARY: The best-laid plans of mice, men and email marketers often go awry.

As you're finalizing your 2014 plans, campaigns and budgets, use this MarketingSherpa Chart of the Week to take a look one year back.

What were your email marketing priorities? Did you deliver on them? Read on to see the email developments that were important to 1,095 marketers in this week’s chart.
by Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content

Some elements of your 2014 budget and plans are likely to be evergreen. You want a quality copywriter for your email messaging. You need to invest in list building.

But, email is an ever-evolving beast. In the MarketingSherpa 2013 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, we asked marketers:

Q: What new developments will affect your email marketing program in the next 12 months? Please select all that apply.

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As we approach 2014, I thought this would be a good opportunity to take a look back at this benchmark survey, conducted about one year ago today, to see if you've followed up on these emerging tactics and dedicated as much time, budget and resources as you had intended to at the beginning of the year.

Much like a New Year’s resolution, I'm guessing the answer is "no."

Instead, you got caught up in a product launch gone awry. You were distracted by a merger. You switched email service providers in the middle of the year. You had an extra strong push to make plan in the second quarter.

In other words, the crises of today stole from the foundation of tomorrow.

I'm being presumptuous, I know. Let's take a look at a few of these tactics and see if you lived up to the intentions you had one year ago today.

Do you know the size of your mobile opportunity?

Of the 1,095 surveyed marketers, 58% indicated the pervasiveness of mobile smartphones and tablets was a new development that would impact their email marketing program.

If we segment the data, 46% of marketers in the manufacturing or packaged goods industry, 65% of marketing agencies and consultancies, and 59% of retail or e-commerce marketers indicated mobile would impact their email.

"Accessibility on these is a big issue for us, and increasingly our content is being consumed on mobile devices," a nonprofit marketer responded in the benchmark survey.

I'm not suggesting you must invest in mobile, but in the past 12 months, have you:
  • Achieved a firm understanding of how much of your traffic occurs on mobile devices?

  • Worked with customers to understand if and how they would like to consume your email and content on mobile devices?

  • Engaged in a few basic mobile optimization tactics, such as ensuring each email has a relevant preheader?

  • Made sure that links in mobile-friendly emails send recipients to mobile-friendly landing pages?

  • Made sure QR codes sent prospects to a mobile-friendly landing page?

Do your customers use social media?

When we look at the segmented data, social media was seen as a particularly big opportunity in the nonprofit and education industry, with 71% of those marketers identifying it as a new development that will affect email marketing, as well as:
  • 60% of online or offline media or publishing marketers

  • 55% of software or software as a service marketers

  • 52% of technology equipment or hardware marketers

"As social media continues to evolve and offer more effective methods of marketing, it affects our use of all other marketing strategies," responded a marketer in the Benchmark Report.

With Twitter's billion-dollar IPO and Facebook's $3 billion offer for Snapchat, the financial markets are telling us that social media is here to stay — or perhaps wild speculators are inflating a new bubble.

Either way, if you're focused on the bold headlines in the newspaper, you're looking in the wrong place. Focus on your customers and prospects.

In the past 12 months, have you:
  • Explored which social networks your customers regularly use?

  • Gained a firm understanding of your marketing performance on social media, whether you're measuring engagement, sales or whatever key performance indicator (KPI) makes the most sense for your product and sales process?

  • Decided what that KPI is?

  • Vetted new social networks to see if they are worth the investment and commitment of launching your brand on them?

  • Kept up with the social networks that your brand is already involved in, or have you let them die on the Vine?

Cheap puns aside, 2013 is nearing an end.

Whether you have or have not lived up to the intentions you set for your marketing department this year, you have a brand-new chance to set a course for your marketing that is not only focused on the here and now, but also helps your team prepare for the future of interacting with and delivering value to your customers.

Keep the established and emerging tactics in mind as your set your campaigns, plans, budgets and New Year's resolutions for 2014.

Related Resources

Email Marketing: 3 award-winning lessons about relevance

Marketing Research Chart: How do marketers perceive the ROI of email marketing?

The 4 Pillars of Email Marketing

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