According to Forrester, spending on email marketing solutions is poised to grow strongly over the next years. Although the data concern the US market, Forrester mentions several reasons for the predicted growth that are valid for most countries. One of them is the increasing use of email marketing automation.
Although there is still a long way to go for many businesses, the attention for trigger-based programs is on the rise and marketers launch more sophisticated acquisition and retention email marketing campaigns, certainly in specific industries. A second reason Forrester identifies is the integration of email and social media.
It's quite remarkable to see that this 'increasing sophistication' and the 'innovations' in email marketing are not really impressive and remain strongly related to the channels themselves. Especially as we know many email marketers struggle with the integration of other marketing systems, channels and functions, as well as with CRM.
The increasing use of email marketing Forrester predicts is really limited to rather channel-centric evolutions such as the mentioned use of triggered emails and the integration with social.
One wonders if, instead of investing more in automated email marketing, it wouldn't be better to have a more integrated overall marketing approach, revolving around customer preferences and starting from triggers, flows, scenarios, segmentation and personalization, whereby email is an essential component but far from the only one.
Forrester also looks at the growth of email marketing as a consequence of increasing (indeed, increasing) email usage. The company expects the number of active email users in the US to grow considerably with email as a key component of what Forrester calls 'universal operability'. In this regard, it's interesting to note how the inbox also will become the 'universal notification center' of the consumer in a world where people consume more content.
Other - rather obvious - findings concern the increasing use of mobile email. However, the question remains: despite a predicted increase in email volume, why will spending go to email marketing solutions? Isn't it about time that we see email marketing functions as an essential part of a marketing solution that goes beyond the channels and looks at the customer first? How much longer will we see reports about the troubles marketers have to prove ROI, get a better customer view and improve experiences across all contact moments?
It isn't about integrating social and email anymore. It isn't even about triggers and automated email marketing anymore. It's about a mix of overall marketing automation and personalization across the whole journey. Marketers that just invest in 'better email marketing tools', will quickly run into new challenges and the limits of a channel-centric approach.
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