Relevancy Becomes More Relevant to Emailers

Making email more relevant to consumers is harder for e-commerce marketers than driving conversion rates, according to a survey of more than 200 online retailers and brand marketers conducted by Bronto at its recent customer summit. Asked to cite their biggest challenge in deriving more revenue from emails, 31% replied “making email targeted and relevant,” compared to 24% who said “driving orders.”

“They’re all familiar with what relevancy means, but they’re still wrestling with how to execute it,” says Kevin Skurski, director of marketing communications for Bronto. “How to get people to open emails—they’ve been talking about that for so long. Driving relevance is a little fuzzier to them.”

Conversion rate had no equal as the key driver of email revenue, named by 58% of attendees, though list growth had a strong showing at 30%. How respondents answered, however, seems to depend on whether marketers defined “key revenue driver” in the present or the future. “A lot of these people have done a great job optimizing conversion rates,” Skurski says. “But there is a growing segment of them who say, ‘If we could keep converting at the same rate but grow our list…’”

The issue of relevancy, interestingly, became nearly irrelevant when email marketers were asked what they saw as the biggest benefit of marketing automation. Half said “triggered messages” and a third responded “less work for me.” Delivery of relevant messages was named by fewer than 20%.

“When we ask our customers what their biggest marketing challenges are, one of the first things they say is that they don’t have the time or the resources to do what they’d like to do. So it wasn’t a surprise to see many of them answer ‘less work,’” Skurski says. “But their response could also speak to their understanding of what marketing automation can really do.”

Emailers have surely recognized that the desktop PC is no longer the sole repository of their messaging. Seventy percent said that the most important function of using mobile marketing methods is reaching consumers on their preferred devices. Attesting to the heavy representation of e-coms in attendance, only 5% said that location-based messaging was mobile’s greatest contribution to the marketer’s toolbox. Geo-location of prospects, meanwhile, becomes ever more important as a traffic driver for their brick-and-mortar brethren.

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