How do you connect the amount you spend on marketing and advertising to the revenue it generates?
It’s been a challenge since at least the turn of the twentieth century and a recent survey of CMOs by Gartner shows that despite renewed focus by these leaders, the question continues to have no simple answers.
John Wanamaker famously pointed out a century ago that it’s difficult at best to gather any truly data-based insights from traditional marketing and advertising strategies. Enter the digital arena, however, and tracking of customer behavior and analytics begin to enter the picture—an arena where email marketing is particularly valuable.
Declaring success in marketing was once left largely to anecdotal information or extrapolation of incomplete data. In today’s digital world, we have accurate statistics upon which to base our conclusions of success and failure. The inevitable result, according to Gartner, is a marketing team that is substantially more accountable when it comes to tying the spending on their programs to revenue.
One clear takeaway from the research is that today’s marketers are relying on digital technology to deliver the insight that was never before possible.
The email gold standard
At this point, it’s important to point out that email marketing remains the gold standard when it comes to return on investment (ROI) in digital marketing across virtually all industries.
Marketers consistently ranked email as the single most effective tactic for awareness, acquisition, conversion, and retention, according to Gigaom Research.
And about 71 percent of marketers surveyed by Gartner say they have specific budgets dedicated to innovation that, on average, equate to about 10 percent of their overall marketing budget.
Among the programs they intend to embrace are:
- Digital marketing hubs
- New analytics tools; and
- Social and mobile listening centers that capture information in real time.
The goal, they say, is to develop a strategic plan that has a direct and trackable impact on revenue and converts leads into sales.
Again, this is an area where email already excels with compelling results.
On average in 2014, companies attribute 23 percent of total sales to their email marketing efforts. That’s up from 18 percent in 2013, according to Econsultancy.
Little distinction between “traditional” and “digital” marketing
Beyond this, email completes a connection to another point to come out of the Gartner report — that there is less and less of a distinction between “marketing” and “digital marketing.” Marketers, particularly retail marketers, are coming to the understanding that consumers no longer think of their interactions with brands in terms of digital or non-digital.
A recent study by Deloitte shed a bright light on this point as well, illustrating that while 94 percent of all retail purchases are still completed in person in a store, 70 percent of consumers are influenced by digital before they make that purchase with only about 30 percent influenced by in-store brand messaging.
Clearly, consumers have integrated digital into the way they do things and marketers need to start communicating with them accordingly, if they haven’t already.
Consumers interact with brands on multiple levels through a variety of channels and particularly when it comes to retail brands, they no longer follow a single path through to their purchases.
The value of email insight
Email communication with these consumers offers a unique perspective on their thinking. While 64 percent of all emails are opened on a mobile device, for example, very few of those first mobile interactions result in conversion. Often, it will be the second or third open of the email where a consumer becomes a customer.
Email allows you to achieve a series of insights along the customer journey that makes the connection between marketing and revenue come to life.
The right email marketing tools enable customers to:
- Receive live, rich content optimized by the device on which the message is viewed
- Carry handheld content with them into a live store experience
- Feel individual attention through hyper-targeted personalization
- Live through a continuity of experience whether the destination is the store or the website
Marketers reap the benefits of:
- Contextual insight into analytics like time, location or device
- Real-time tracking of live campaigns
- Testing and optimization of specific creative options before sending; and
- Workflow tailored to their specific needs.
All the research is pointing to a world where consumers experience brands on their terms utilizing both digital and live experiences, and it is in that confluence where marketers will begin to see where their marketing expenditures match up with the revenue their programs realize.