As marketing technology improves and evolves, it can be challenging for today’s marketer to keep up with all the new tools, and understand which ones best fit their needs. Balancing the level of need with concerns about budget, competitiveness, implementation time is never easy work, and it can even lead to paralysis where a team just treads water with the martech it has because sticking with a mediocre or worse status quo is less daunting a challenge than doing the work necessary to identify and implement the right solution for the future.
How efficient is your email marketing team? For enterprise companies, it’s getting harder and harder to keep operational tasks from becoming overbearing for email marketers. As customer demands ratchet higher for the messages they receive, the struggles for legacy marketing cloud ESPs to keep up with the needs of companies with large databases get more pronounced. And that leads to operational creep — a gradual, pernicious increasing need for various operational tasks that take email marketers away from the work they love, and that they’re good at.
This is the story we hear with increasing frequency among the email marketers we talk to on a daily basis. It’s a problem that’s growing, and it’s not likely to get better. It’s also a problem we wanted to understand a bit better. So, instead of simply drawing our own conclusions, we decided to go to the marketers themselves. We wanted to find out exactly how they felt about this phenomenon. Would the anecdotes we’d been hearing stand up to a bit more scientific scrutiny? And, if so, how was it impacting team efficiency and job satisfaction? Those were the key questions we wanted to get at in our new research report, “The Cost of Inefficiency: How Operational Creep Kills Strategic Thinking in Email Marketing.”
Savvy marketers know that each industry has its own challenges and key needs when it comes to email marketing. But it isn’t always easy to know if you’re focusing in the same direction as your industry peers, as you try to ensure you have the right tools to help you deliver the types of email campaigns that will keep you on the forefront of the competitive landscape.
To truly understand the immense impact of having access to truly 100% real-time customer data while building email marketing campaigns, marketers almost invariably need an “A-ha!” moment. Or maybe several hundred of them. For the vast majority of marketers, that moment never comes, because the volume of data they’re working with is small enough to where much — if not basically all — of it can live right in their vendor’s cloud where they’re building messages.
For marketers who send fewer than 10 million emails a month, data lag and syncing issues just don’t show up on their radar. But, for those on the larger end of the scale, the barriers that can stand in the way of them delivering high-level customer experiences are high without immediate access to all their customer data. They see the value because it impacts their jobs. It negatively affects what they can accomplish, and hurts relationships with their customers.
For enterprise B2C marketers, email is among the most effective tools for reaching out to and connecting with customers. But it’s also a medium that’s challenging to leverage effectively, particularly when nearly everyone uses it — the competition for inbox space is fierce, and there’s no sign that people’s attention spans are getting longer. We understand the difficulties enterprise marketers face when it comes to maximizing their email ROI, but we wanted to dig deeper and see exactly where their priorities lie.
That was the motivation behind our recent survey, where we asked enterprise marketers to talk about their biggest challenges, top priorities, and their evaluation of how well they’re meeting their email marketing goals. It’s helpful to hear stories and talk in the field while discussing issues with clients, but this was an opportunity to look at a wide cross-section of enterprise marketers to take the temperature of the email industry, and what’s creating the biggest obstacles to success for marketing teams.
As a marketer, how much insight do you have into the entire customer journey, from first touch to ongoing communications? Do you have a complete, global view of your loyal customers, or are data silos keeping you walled off?
Today’s consumers expect personalized, relevant, and immediate messaging coupled with a consistent experience, no matter how they’re interacting with your brand. Yet, most organizations have pieces of customer data being stored by various vendors and departments. This then makes it difficult to obtain that complete view of their customers and market to them effectively. Marketers need access to the freshest data from every touchpoint to create a seamless experience. And a lot of that starts with centralizing data internally.
When you’re grinding away in your cubicle day after day, running A/B tests, segmenting your audience, poring over deliverability metrics, you know the reality of email marketing. You know what’s working and what isn’t. It’s your job to know. You’re in the thick of it. Boots on the ground. Every day. You’re not part of the C-Suite; you’re an enterprise email marketer. This is your world.
The larger the company, the less enthusiastic their marketers are about the performance of their Email Service Provider, and — paradoxically — the less likely they are to change to a new ESP.
That was one of the chief findings of our 2018 ESP Satisfaction Report, for which we surveyed 101 marketing professionals, at companies that send at least 10 million emails per month, to research a wide range of their views toward their ESP.
It wasn’t surprising to us that we found plenty of mixed feelings across the board toward ESPs. The stark nature of this particular finding was striking, though. It was one of the clearest statistical trends our survey showed — company size is a significant factor both in lower ESP satisfaction and in lower openness to change.
After spending years talking to enterprise organizations about their email marketing needs, the perception that changing email service providers is extremely difficult, time consuming and expensive has been difficult to avoid. It comes up in conversation after conversation. It can feel like an accepted fact for large B2C companies — if they’re going to make an ESP change, the problems with the current one better be debilitating enough to justify months of hard work and transition.
We wanted to explore this question further for our 2018 ESP Satisfaction Survey. So we decided to conduct a study of large organizations across the country to see if this anecdotal evidence would be reflected in the unfiltered opinions of marketing professionals who are impacted by an ESP change. We launched this survey to better understand how enterprise-level marketers use email. And how they view their relationship with their ESP.
Every marketer has faced challenges when creating what they hope to be successful email programs. For those working in highly regulated companies such as banks, those challenges can often seem like mission impossible.
The many and changing regulations that govern banks apply fully to their marketing departments. And while email marketers have been able to work around those regulations to create amazing work, many still struggle with getting the data they need and using it to send highly personalized marketing messages.
But banks have a lot going for them when it comes to marketing. They have a LOT of first-party data on their customers. Moreover, new technology is emerging that could give banks the connection they seek, while maintaining the highest level of security.