Lifecycle email marketing outdoes traditional outbound messaging: survey

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Three-quarters (75%) of marketers said their lifecycle email marketing programs outperform their traditional outbound campaigns, according to a survey released by email services firm StrongMail on June 14. More than half (51%) of the 1,070 marketers surveyed said they do not have an active event-triggered lifecycle program, but 32% of that segment said they plan to implement one within the next 12 months.

More than two-third of the marketers with active lifecycle programs said the initiative has increased subscriber engagement, and 55% said they've seen a lift in open and click-through rates.

Kristin Hersant, VP of corporate marketing at StrongMail, said lifecycle programs, which deliver emails triggered by consumer actions such as initial opt-in or shopping cart abandonment, are valuable for consumers as well as marketers. She cited StrongMail client InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) as an example of the results lifecycle programs are generating.

“Over the past three years, [IHG] has undergone an initiative to migrate [75% to 80%] of their programs from batch-and-blast over to [event-triggered programs],” said Hersant. “They've seen a 16% lift in revenue attributed to the email channel because of this migration. It's been so significant that now they're talking about completely eliminating batch emails altogether.”

The most popular types of event-triggered emails, according to the study, are welcome messages sent to consumers who opt in and product review or customer service messages sent after a consumer makes a purchase. Seventy-eight percent of marketers with active lifecycle programs said they send welcome emails, and 45% said they send post-purchase emails.

Of the six industries segmented by the survey, lifecycle marketing programs were most prevalent among travel and hospitality marketers, with 63% of that sector's respondents reporting that they have such initiatives in place. Thirty-seven percent of financial services marketers said they are running lifecycle marketing programs.

Hersant said travel and hospitality marketers “are more acutely aware of the customer lifecycle” because individual consumers use their services less often. Therefore, the companies need to remain top of mind.

StrongMail conducted the survey from May 23 through June 3.

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