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Managing content poses challenges for e-mail marketers

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E-mail marketers need to do a much better job managing content, particularly with the proliferation of new devices and formats by which to access e-mail, according to a new report from JupiterResearch.

The report, called “The Chaos of Content,” examines some of the chief challenges facing e-mail marketers in today’s rapidly changing technological environment.

The report was based on an online survey of more than 600 e-mail marketers, conducted with ClickZ.

One of the biggest challenges for e-mail marketers is integrating e-mail content with other marketing content and systems in the organization.

“Moving forward, it’s really going to be about having those content repositories integrated into the various transactional marketing systems—whether that’s an outbound e-mail system that’s talking to an e-mail client or to a mobile client—or in other formats as well,” said David Daniels, VP-research director at JupiterResearch and lead author of the report.

“There are a number of e-mail marketers that are now beginning to coordinate what they’re doing in the offline channel with their e-mail. But there are a number of challenges right now just in terms of the production process,” Daniels added.

For example, the survey found that 46% of e-mail marketers currently upload content manually into e-mail applications, while 24% manually create content within e-mail applications. An additional 10% send e-mail with content attachments to an e-mail service provider or agency.

“Those types of manual initiatives certainly increase cost, and it’s one of the top challenges that we find when we’re talking to marketers regarding why they are not doing more targeting or dynamic content. It really gets down to having enough staff to develop those multiple permutations or just to navigate the current processes,” Daniels said.

“The optimal arrangement going forward would be to have those applications truly integrated into the internal content management systems.”

Only 9% of e-mail marketers surveyed currently have complete integration between their e-mail application and a content management system, while just 7% have scheduled uploads of content through FTP drops.

The survey also asked e-mail marketers to identify their top three production challenges when building e-mail marketing mailings.

The top challenge cited was having enough staff to develop multiple mailing versions (36%), followed by proofing and approving content in mailings (30%) and excessive time needed to work with content in applications (23%).

Daniels said part of the solution lies with e-mail vendors and their ability to provide more integration with content management programs.

“It’s going to really require some effort from the e-mail marketing vendors, whether it’s the service providers or the platform vendors, to allow more standard integration to many of the popular content management applications.”

Mary E. Morrison contributed to this story.

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