How can I show the value of my e-mail marketing program?

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Determining the value of your e-mail program can be a tricky thing, especially in the b-to-b space. If you are a b-to-b marketer who has a short sales cycle or can drive a real conversion online, then you are better prepared for “valuing” your e-mail. But if you have an outbound sales organization, longer sales cycles and little or no ability to actually convert a purchase online, then your e-mail value metric becomes more about awareness than dollars. Or maybe it is both.

In order to really demonstrate the value of your e-mail program, you need to define a few things:

  • What is the objective of your e-mail program? Maybe you are trying to drive a purchase cycle, introduce new products or services, or even close the next big deal. Whatever you are trying to accomplish, you need to define it so that you can determine the appropriate metrics to measure, dials to turn and data points to watch so that you can effectively communicate the value of your program. In essence, you need to determine what “value” means to your specific e-mail program.
  • What is the measure of success for your e-mail program? Now that you know what you are trying to accomplish, you need to decide how to measure it. What reporting access do you need to get to the level of detail necessary? Is it a dollar amount, a download/conversion count or is success measured by an inbound call volume? Whatever it is, you need to make sure that you can quantify it so that you can accurately measure or express the value.
  • How do you communicate the program’s value? You need to convey your e-mail program’s value in terms that your audience understands and cares about. While your e-mail marketing manager may be more interested in open and click-through-rates, your CMO would rather translate the program contribution to dollars or awareness, terms that he or she cares about.
To effectively communicate value, you must understand where the audience’s interests lie and then customize the view.

Kara Trivunovic is senior director of strategic services at StrongMail (, a provider of online marketing solutions for e-mail and social media.

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