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Engagement, Segmenting Survey Stats Not Quite Believable

By Ken Magill

At first glance, the most gratifying stats in a survey put out by email-marketing technology provider StrongMail last week was that marketers’ top priorities for 2011 are increasing subscriber engagement and improving segmentation and targeting.

Fifty two percent indicated the former is a top priority and 49 percent indicated the latter.

If true, these results indicate a significant percentage of marketers are finally getting the message that in email, relevance trumps volume.

But on second glance, these two stats are a bit hard to believe. Are marketers really going to focus on engagement and segmenting in 2011? Anecdotal evidence says no.

I spoke with an email marketing service provider executive recently who confirmed my suspicions—off the record, of course.

Bottom line, he said, contrary to conventional wisdom, mailing more works and segmenting takes a lot of effort. Think about it. Every segment requires another piece of creative.

Also, I am forever hearing of email managers whose marching orders from upper management are to grow their files and mail more. At a spring conference I spoke with an email manager whose boss told her that her goal was to grow the company list to 1 million names by fall.

I recently spoke with another email manager whose boss was upset with him because he refused to add a bunch of purchased names to the company file.

And I still am amazed at the number of marketers whose first question when discussing their email efforts is: “Where can I buy email lists?”

Moreover, the No. 1 email-marketing challenge cited in StrongMail’s survey was a lack of resources and staff. Forty four percent indicated they are too thinly staffed and resourced.

So are we really to believe that these folks—who are already struggling to get their work done—are going to magically find the resources to do the work associated with segmenting?

The sentiment is laudable if—I suspect—probably not doable for many.

On the other hand, 65 percent of StrongMail’s respondents said they planned to increase spending on email in 2011. So maybe some of the increased spending will go to targeting and segmenting. This is an issue on which I hope my prediction is wrong.

It would be nice if StrongMail would do a follow up survey mid-year to see how these folks are coming along with their goals.

Get StrongMail’s complete survey here.


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Terms: Feel free to be as big a jerk as you want, but don't attack anyone other than me personally. And don't criticize people or companies other than me anonymously. Got something crappy to say? Say it under your real name. Anonymous potshots and personal attacks aimed at me, however, are fine.

Posted by:
Date: 2010-12-26 04:42:55
Subject: олсарывлоаывпралоывпрал

You have a great blogheree! I love the content!
Posted by:
Date: 2010-12-20 16:15:03

are the marketers StrongMail surveyed all liars, or wishful thinkers, or simply not representative of the industry?