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The majority of client companies state that 'reporting' and 'customer service' are the two most important factors when selecting an email service provider (ESP), according to the first Client Email Marketing Survey from the DMA Email Marketing Council. The emphasis placed on 'reporting' indicates an increasing interest from marketers in wanting to understand how customers interact with their email messages and, given how business-critical email has become to so many organisations, their desire to measure the effectiveness of each campaign. In addition, the fact that customer service is more important than functionality and price may demonstrate that cost per thousand for delivery has levelled off.

The report, which surveyed 110 client companies, also highlights the biggest concerns for email marketers as being 'conversion' rates, followed by 'deliverability' rates and 'click rates'.

Richard Gibson, chair of the DMA Email Marketing Council's Benchmarking Hub, comments: "Based on these findings, we could see Email Service Providers enhancing their reporting tools to meet client demands. The report further shows that 87% of companies rely on or work with their ESP to manage deliverability. Whilst there is only a small minority, it is concerning that some organisations either do not monitor or do not consider deliverability to be important."

Previous DMA Email Marketing Council predictions that email marketing will continue to grow are also reinforced by the report. The majority of companies (78%) believe that email marketing budgets will increase with 63% of respondents stating that the increase will not come at the expense of other channels, suggesting a rise in confidence in the effectiveness of the medium and its ability to generate returns.

The report also demonstrates that there is a real opportunity for clients to grow their opt-in email database with less than half of marketers surveyed stating that they had an email address for only between one and 25% of their entire database. Only 18% of companies surveyed have between 78 -100% of customer email addresses.

Offline data capture and websites are the most common places to acquire new email addresses, with over 50% of addresses being collected on a website by 39% of companies and offline by 32% of companies.

In terms of how the email channel is used, 78% of organisations state that the primary use is to drive traffic to a website, while 72% also use the channel to communicate new offers and 48% of respondents acknowledge that email is used to create brand awareness.

Gibson adds: "The Client Email Marketing Survey is a new initiative by the Email Marketing Council and provides a useful insight into the demand side drivers and complementing the National Email Benchmarking Report. As a result, it is likely to be run on an annual basis."

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