A key takeaway from E-consultancy's most recent Email Marketing Roundtable was the growing need for marketers to look beyond traditional email success metrics when looking at their email strategy. In the world of multi-channel retail it is no longer enough just to examine clickthrough rates (CTR), open rates or even good old Return on Investment to see if your email strategy is paying dividends.
The problem comes when the email channel is viewed in isolation. It is easier said than done but companies and their agencies should strive for a model which enables them to see the effect that the reach and volume of their email communication is having on brand awareness and their sales across all channels.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that email marketing and statistics can no longer be viewed in isolation. For example, as one of the roundtable attendees pointed out, there are plenty of shoppers out there who are printing out their emails and bringing this information to high-street shops.
As in other areas of online marketing, companies need to figure out ways of collecting all this cross-channel information and piecing it all together.
Another related point which came out of the discussion was the need to think about individual customers and users as well as thinking in terms of percentages for metrics such as CTR and open rates. This came up in the context of database degradation and the need to understand whether email recipients have any interest in getting your emails.
You may have a high percentage of open rates but there could well be a certain proportion of people who never look at your emails. As someone pointed out, it may be the case that the same 30% of users are opening your emails every time, with the result that over-communication to a large chunk of the remainder is tarnishing your brand.
So unless you look at data at an individual user level then you have no way of knowing whether you have significant numbers of inactive users. Once an organisation has defined inactivity and how many users are inactive, it is then a case of deciding whether they should be cut from the database or re-engaged with. There is more about this in the roundtable notes.
The Email Marketing Roundtable Briefing, which includes a summary of the roundtable discussion, is free to download and also contains information about the size of the market and market trends, as well as the latest stats and resources.