Email Marketing Still Going Strong; Social Media Not a Threat

MarketingSherpa just released its 2010 Email Marketing Benchmark Report with information gathered from over 1,400 marketers. The biggest trend to come from this year’s report is the effect (or lack thereof) that social media is expected to have on the future of email marketing. Some of the highlights are listed below. email

 What’s gaining importance?

  • Competition with social media for recipients’ time and attention (a 48% increase from last year – in 2008 only 23% of marketers said it was important, compared with 71% this year)
  • Getting people to opt-in to lists (a 10% increase)
  • Measuring and proving ROI of email campaigns (an 8% increase)

Conversely, delivering highly-relevant email content has decreased in importance by 6% and email deliverability has decreased by 5%.

Email marketing budgets are still steady overall…

  • Business/financial services saw the biggest increase in email marketing spend, with 51% increasing budgets in 2009; 38% of technology companies increased email marketing spend
  • The industries with the biggest decreases in budget included publishing/media and hospitality/travel (18% decline reported for each)

Social media’s impact on email marketing…

  • 81% agree that social media has extended the reach of email content to new markets and over three-quarters believe that this has helped increase brand awareness (check out an article from B2B earlier in the year on tips how to do just that)
  • However, social media is not aiding in lead generation – 57% of marketers say they can’t prove that social media has helped them generate more qualified leads and 43% don’t think it’s helped grow their email list
  • Social media has not “killed” email marketing – yet. When asked how marketers share something from the Internet with others, 78% said they email them the link. Only 22% said they share it through social media tools.

It will be interesting to see if these metrics change next year, although other studies also support the claim that email is here to stay despite the increase in social media usage. A recent survey of SmartBrief on Social Media readers found that 59% say email use has stayed the same despite the growth of social networks and an ExactTarget 2009 Channel Preferences Study found that 75% of online consumers prefer to receive permission-based promotional messages through email—up 3.6% from 2008.

 — Posted by Melissa Coyle

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2 Responses to “Email Marketing Still Going Strong; Social Media Not a Threat”


  1. 1 Adam Needles November 16, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Great round-up, guys. I think there is some skew here, though, in the nature of Sherpa’s results.

    Having read dozens of studies on this space, my opinion around e-mail vs. social is two-fold: 1.) Just becuase someone can’t measure impact on leads from social/inbound, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. And 2.) Comparing social vs. e-mail is ludicrous to me. They’re not either/or. Research shows that they serve different purposes at different phases of the buying process. Sequencing is the only way to understand how the two inter-relate.

    So I read these figures both with intrigue and also with a belief that the angle is a bit off.

    But nonetheless, I do agree w/ the overall importance of e-mail. I really think more than ever that e-mail and automation are critical connective threats in tying together e-marketing and online marketing activities.

    Either way, appreciate your sharing this.

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