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Are Email Marketers Overconfident in Their Segmenting Abilities?

Most are satisfied with their efforts, but admit they do not use audience data to its fullest

The ability to segment and target audiences is key to online marketing, and email is no exception.

According to email delivery and automation provider Emailvision, 96.51% of online marketers worldwide placed some importance on the ability to send targeted and segmented email marketing communications to their audiences. The majority (68.44%) felt it was very important.

More than half (55.16%) of the marketers surveyed were either satisfied or very satisfied with their segmentation and targeting capabilities, suggesting a sizeable audience that is both confident and reportedly adept at reaching the right audience. Just 14.71% said they were dissatisfied with their targeting capabilities.

Because email is often a central aspect of any customer retention program, marketers often have more known data to work with when crafting email marketing campaigns for these audiences than for other lead-generation focused campaigns in which marketers may only know one or two key attributes about their prospective audience.

Still, May 2011 data from The Relevancy Group found only 39% of US email marketers segmented their audiences based on customer and revenue-centric data such as customer profitability or lifetime value. Instead, the majority segmented audiences by demographics (61%) and geography (51%).

Not surprisingly, Emailvision found most marketers believe—in spite of their self-satisfaction—they could be doing much more with their customer data. In fact, 83.66% of respondents said they could be doing more—or significantly more—to realize the full potential of their client data.

When measuring campaign success, high clickthrough rate was the most-cited metric upon which online marketers worldwide measured their email marketing campaigns. High open rate was mentioned by 23.96% of respondents. Missing from the data are options for revenue-focused metrics such as conversion rate, return on investment or other sales-driven results.

Data from Epsilon and Email Experience Council help to benchmark “high” clickthrough and open rates in North America. The average email open rate in Q3 2011 was 23.8%, the highest in two years, with the average clickthrough rate at 5.5%.

Better targeting and segmentation might be a contributing factor to improved open rates over time, presenting email recipients with more seemingly personal, relevant communications. As marketers work toward tailoring both their email segmentation and messaging, it will be interesting to watch the resulting clickthrough rate metrics.

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Check out today’s other article, “Do Social Media Postings Always Require a Brand Response?

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