E-mail: The Metrics That Matter
Say what you want about e-mail. The fact is, it is the backbone of online marketing and communications. E-mail remains the top online marketing channel today, according to Forrester Research. And for good reason. No other channel provides such clear, consistent and, quite frankly, unparalleled ROI.
While open and clickthrough rates may not be what they were in the early days of the medium, when 80 percent open rates were not unusual, e-mail still wins every time over other channels in terms of return on the marketing dollar. That's because today's e-mail is all about precise targeting and relevancy, determining what makes a user click and then using that information to continually fine-tune communications to turn browsers into buyers, buyers into repeat customers and customers into brand evangelists.
Long gone are the days of batch and blast (and good riddance). Today's
e-mail is a medium whose success is built upon careful testing and analysis, then continual improvement and enhancement of efforts. What other channel provides such accountability and clear measures of success? Fully understanding the components of success or failure, then acting upon them, can help marketers achieve future triumphs more quickly and effectively … and that means even greater ROI.
However, over the years in our industry we've strayed a bit from our true path. With all the metrics and data we have at our disposal, it's been all too easy to get caught up in "analysis paralysis." We have seen the formation of a slew of roundtables and committees, all addressing the "hottest issues" in e-mail marketing. And while these groups have their value and these topics certainly are pertinent, somewhere along the line, we've taken our eyes off the prize.
Let's face it. In the end, e-mail is about making money. The only metric that truly matters for a marketer is ROI.