As its annual National Client Email Marketing Survey points to a bright future for email, the DMA is calling on marketers to fulfil the true potential of email marketing as part of an integrated marketing strategy. For the first time, the report highlights the power of email as part of an integrated campaign yet also demonstrates a significant disconnect between how important organisations believe email marketing to be and the level of recognition that it receives at board level which it believes is preventing companies from fulfilling the full potential of email marketing. “Email is an extremely powerful medium when used alongside other media yet remains the least exploited of all channels. Audiences live in a multi-channel world where they are happy to consume messages though a number of different media. Direct marketers need to understand those multi-channel linkages and weave together different on and off-line messages to build compelling, engaging, personal experiences that deliver a healthy return on investment,” says Richard Gibson, chair of the DMA Email Marketing Council’s Benchmarking hub. The results show that email marketing is, for the most part, controlled by marketing and is most likely to be managed centrally. However, it seems that responsibility for email typically stops at management level despite nine out of ten companies stating that email is strategically important to their organisations. According to the report, combined with email, direct mail and telemarketing came are the most successful with 39% of marketers reporting that combining email with direct mail had been very successful or successful and 34% found similar success by integrating email with telemarketing. The majority of marketers are reporting an increase in the number of messages being sent and anticipating that budgets for email marketing will continue to rise. Over 80% of respondents stated that they expect their company’s expenditure on email to increase, with just over half saying that they will not be taking money from another channel to fund their email marketing, reinforcing the net increase in client spend on email in these organisations. The survey also reveals that email has allowed marketers to maintain a more frequent dialogue with their prospects and customers, with almost nine out of ten having sent out more messages this year yet only a fifth of respondents put this down to an increased number of contacts. Despite the significant development in the adoption of email, it has not yet caught up with the reach of other direct marketing tools, with companies, on average, having email addresses for only 50% of their database. The majority of respondents gather new email addresses through organic website traffic with offline (paper based) activity accounting for 40% and telemarketing accounting for 31%. Gibson adds: “It’s encouraging to note that many organisations are taking a multi-channel approach to growing their email databases. We mustn’t underestimate the challenges for many organisations in integrating off-line data capture of email addresses – there needs to be a multi-channel view of the whole customer experience.” The report also highlights average response and delivery rates which are slightly down on last year’s findings. This is thought to be due to increased volumes and the heightened competition in the market place, reiterating the importance of adopting an increasingly sophisticated approach and maximising the use of all available data. Achieving such relevance can be measured through the average click-to-open ratio, that is the ratio of unique clicks as a percentage of unique opens averaged across all campaigns, which according to the report, stands at 17% for acquisition and 31% for retention. About the DMA: For further information please visit www.dma.org.uk. For details on the benefits of becoming a DMA member please call 020 7291 3388 to speak to the membership team, email email@example.com, or visit www.dmamembership.org.uk.