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Email Marketers Still Failing to Segment: Relevancy Group Report

By Ken Magill
Despite the availability of the tools and data to segment their email campaigns effectively, most marketers are failing to do so, according to one finding in the recently released Relevancy Ring ESP Buyers Guide by email consultancy The Relevancy Group.
“Marketers are missing optimization opportunities, especially because the tools to do so are widely available from ESPs today,” the guide said. “Demographic and geographic data remain the only two types of data used by more than 35 percent of marketers. Marketers seldom use proven and available data types such as ‘recency of purchase,’ ‘clickstream analysis,’ and ‘click-through on previous email marketing offers,’” the guide continued.
Failing to use recency of purchase is particularly eye-opening as it was a direct marketing staple long before email became a viable commercial channel.
The problem, according to the report, is lack of central data management and a lack of understanding of the value of the data.
“Less than four out of every 10 marketers surveyed indicated that their companies had a centralized data repository for all customer data,” the report said. “Twenty-eight percent maintain more than one customer database, each for a specific channel. Even more importantly, there is a decided lack of understanding as to the real value of the data that many marketers could potentially leverage and exploit.”
However, the report said, improving segmentation and targeting is a top goal for marketers in 2015.
Meanwhile, this year’s guide profiles 11 email service providers: Epsilon, Experian Marketing Services, IBM Silverpop, MessageGears, Message Systems, PostUp, Sailthru, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, WhatCounts, Yes Lifecycle Marketing and Zeta Interactive.
“[E]each vendor was given a score in the major category areas including: vendor reported data; detailed use-case-driven product demos; product roadmap reviews; as well as an inspection of inbox placement rates; client satisfaction and examination of services offerings,” the report said.
Each vendor also paid the same fee to be included in the report, according to David Daniels, CEO and founder of the Relevancy Group.
“They all pay the same fee for a couple of reasons,” Daniels said. “It levels the playing field and it adds a level of transparency.”
Participating vendors answered a questionnaire of 260-plus questions on their company, strategy, products, staff and infrastructure. They were then scored accordingly, according to Daniels.
Vendors also had 90 minutes to demonstrate their product. The Relevancy Groups also interviewed three references supplied by each of the vendors to gage client satisfaction.
The report involved three months of study by five analysts, according to Daniels.
“Each analyst is responsible for one portion of the analysis, if you will,” he said. “The two analysts that do demos are different than the analysts who are looking at client satisfaction.
“We don’t know who is going to come out in that placement [ranking in the report] until we combine all of our scores,” he said. “The people who are doing the use-case story have no idea what is going on on the reference side. We all score the questionnaires and we don’t always agree. It’s very different than an organization that has one analyst that will make kings or queens.”
Epsilon has purchased distribution rights to the guide. Download it here.

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