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Webinar provides look at future of e-mail marketing

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The numbers were flying fast and furiously earlier this week when executives from reputation provider Habeas, e-mail service provider Innovyx and Forrester Research discussed the future of e-mail marketing during a webinar titled “The ABCs of ESPs.”

Among the highlights: More than 97% of Forrester Research’s panel of 700 marketers is using, piloting or expecting to pilot e-mail marketing by the end of the year. More than 35% are sending promotional messages, while 28% are sending out newsletters. Another 17% are marketing through service—embedding marketing communications in their transactional messages to cross-sell or promote a completely different product, said Shar VanBoskirk, senior analyst at Forrester.

What marketers are spending their dollars on—and what ESPs will eventually offer—may be changing, she said. Today, 26% of a marketer’s e-mail spending goes toward delivery, 22% towards creative, 11% to data management and 10% to analytics. Going forward, marketers should plan on spending less on delivery and more on analytics, strategy and data or technology integration, VanBoskirk said.

“I think this represents a maturing of the e-mail medium,” she explained. “The focus becomes less on sending out as many messages as you can and instead on running analytics to figure out whom you should be sending messages to, or tech integration so that your e-mail program is better aligned with your customer service or your database marketing efforts.”

Doing more with less will be significant for marketers, whose e-mail teams are usually staffed small. About 41% of all companies have two or three full-time employees focused on e-mail; 22% have a single person running the entire e-mail show.

Another big change in the e-mail marketing landscape: CPMs are going to stop declining, and e-mail vendors will start charging for analytics as additional providers step into the fray. You may also start spending money outside your current ESP each month, VanBoskirk said.

“You can also expect to see additional providers stepping in to aid marketers in e-mail,” she said. “E-mail service providers today provide a lot of delivery solutions—actually just sending the messages. But there are a lot of other specialists—consulting companies, ad agencies—that are really good at strategy, and analytics and the kinds of services where e-mailers are going to need more help going forward.”

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