E-mail marketers missing the mark

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As e-mail becomes an increasingly important and cost-effective tool for marketers, companies must learn better methods of segmenting, targeting and measuring their messages, according to a new study from Jupiter Research.

The report, titled "The State of E-mail Marketing: Perfecting the Appropriate Mix of Art and Science," was released last week by Jupiter’s Marketing Operations, a new research service that helps marketers optimize their online and offline marketing strategies. The study was based on interviews with 107 corporate CMOs and marketing directors.

It found that deliverability of messages is a huge problem facing e-mail marketers. Seventy-one percent of respondents said spam filters were erroneously blocking their messages, and 59% said they have experienced decreased click-through rates as a result of messages being blocked.

Another problem is that marketers don’t effectively use metrics to optimize their e-mail campaigns, said David Daniels, Jupiter senior analyst.

The survey found that only 39% of marketers that use a hosted Web technology service for e-mail delivery use click-through rates to further target recipients after an initial mailing, and only 41% use open rates to further target recipients.

Elaborating on these statistics, Daniels said, "Only 39% are going into the data to figure out which ones actually clicked through, and are pulling out the clickers and remarketing to them. They’re not digging down into those metrics."

Other metrics that e-mail marketers could be using more effectively include recency of purchase and frequency of purchase, Daniels said.

"We are at the point now, because of deliverability issues and all the clutter that exists online, that there is not a lot of differentiation among messages [marketers] are broadcasting," he said. "It’s so cost-effective to send e-mail, but part of the tradeoff is investing in a more analytical framework that would allow them to dig more into the data."

As part of the new Marketing Operations service, Jupiter is offering a ranking of e-mail marketing providers. Called the Jupiter Research Constellation, it ranks vendors on business value, breadth of features and market suitability. In its first report, Jupiter found that outsourced full-service providers such as Digital Impact, Bigfoot Interactive and CheetahMail offer marketers the most compelling value.

Brad Linden, VP-marketing at Xpedite, an integrated e-mail delivery company, offered tips on how marketers can optimize their e-mail campaigns. He said they should identify themselves through recognizable addresses and concise subject lines, set up "triggers" that send e-mails following events, include polls in their e-mails, and test new campaigns to select audiences before broadcasting them to a larger audience.

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