Since the beginning of online advertising, promising new formats—like pop ups, expandable banners, video, social media, native and mobile—have captured and held the industry's attention and dollars. Many of these formats have delivered and become trusted elements of the media mix. At the same time, these newcomers have often overshadowed email and cast it as a dying player in the digital marketing game. In reality, email marketing is a lucrative digital strategy which has not only proven to be the most robust and thriving digital channel for ROI, but which in today's digital ecosystem has emerged as the centerpiece of the marketing automation platforms.
Email's Proven Success
According to eConsultancy's "Email Marketing Industry Census 2014," email marketing increased company revenue proportionately by 28% in just one year. On average, companies attributed 23% of their total sales to the email marketing channel, compared to 18% the previous year. Furthermore, according to EmailExpert for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $44.25. Yet despite such staggering ROI, just $3.5 billion was spent on email marketing in the U.S. in 2014, compared to more than $40 billion in total digital ad spend.
Why is that, when there is such a clear rationale for increased spend on email marketing? Generally speaking, email is constrained by the slow drip of new email signups. Ad tech, despite a 60% tilt toward performance-based ad solutions, has failed to deliver on the promise of email subscriber acquisition. The complexity, constraint and expense of using traditional online ads as part of an email sign-up program has flummoxed email marketers seeking database growth—this is true of large enterprises as well as small businesses. It's simply too complicated and too expensive to execute a social, search or banner campaign with the goal of generating highly engaged new email subscribers at scale.