Adobe: Email is King in the Digital Marketing World
In early 2017, an annual study from the Radicati Group predicted that the total worldwide number of business and consumer emails sent and received per day would reach 269 billion by the end of 2017, and is expected to continue to grow at an average annual rate of 4.4% over the next four years, reaching 319.6 billion by the end of 2021. When we narrow down the scope geographically, Adobe has recently surveyed over 1,000 white-collar workers in the U.S. about their email habits. The study unveiled that up from the last year, 61% of respondents would like to be contacted by brands through email. However, the content matters as they prefer to hear less about promotions, and more about valuable information, which will also be discussed shortly in this article.
Back in July, I covered a survey conducted by Yes Marketing on consumer habits by generation that includes Centennials (under the age of 21) to Baby Boomers (ages 53 to 71) and everyone in between. One of the key findings from that survey concluded that Millennials (ages 22 to 37) demonstrate the most brand loyalty of all the generations, in contrast to the common dichotomy saying Millennials are fickle. Furthermore, the findings suggest that this generation values email more than any other generation. In fact, 67% say a brand’s email is important for their decision to purchase, and in the past three months, 83% have made a purchase as a result of an email. Why Millennials value email more than any other generation definitely makes sense to me as this age group has utilized email as a primary engagement channel since they were writing their school papers. On top of all these, given 75% of the workforce will be millennials by 2020, email usage doesn’t seem to slow down, yet it is projected to continue growing over time.
It's no wonder why Web Content Management (WCM) and Digital Experience Platform (DXP) providers have lately been amplifying their email marketing capabilities through machine learning algorithms and integrations. As a case in point, less than a month ago, Kentico released a major upgrade on its flagship product, Kentico EMS, and one of the main focuses of this release was adding robust email marketing capabilities.
In another news, Adobe, which was named a leader for the fourth consecutive year in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Multichannel Campaign Management 2017, acquired over 200 new customers to the Adobe Campaign family in 2017 alone. The mutual pattern among those new accounts, including Bose, Brooks Brothers, Dell, Domino’s, Harvard Business Review, Mattel, Novartis, Panera, Pizza Hut, Quantas, Sephora, SiriusXM, TIAA, Vanguard, Virgina Tech, Vitamix, WB Mason, and WESTJET, is that they all kicked off their relationship with Adobe to improve their email experiences first. It came as no surprise because speaking to CMS-Connected ahead of Gartner’s recognition, Kristin Naragon, Director of Product Marketing for Adobe Campaign, said: “Typically B2B marketers leverage our email marketing mostly.” She also pointed out that 60% of marketers start their email creation process with Adobe Dreamweaver. Therefore, the vendor made a direct integration between Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Campaign in order to save marketers and organizations time as well as the pain of going back and forth with their internal agencies. In my view, with this and the previous integrations, Adobe has ridden the crest of the cloud shift as the vendor executed such a smooth and successful shift for desktop software and its software development process.
Americans’ Email Habits
Paddling back to the key findings of Adobe’s survey on Americans’ email habits, here are some of the big takeaways that stood out from the report for me:
Smartphones continue to be the most commonly used device for checking emails, although computers are the preferred device for checking work email. In addition, the rate of checking emails on tablets has gone down since 2016.
82% of work emails and 60% of personal emails are opened, meaning work emails are more likely than personal emails to be opened, with nearly half of respondents (and over half of the females and those 35 years old or older) saying they open 100% of their work emails. Of those, 83% of work emails and 64% of personal emails are read.
Most respondents expect their email use (both personal and work) to remain the same over the next two years.
Excitement to check work email is highest among those 18 to 24 years old.
Instant messaging, followed by email and video conferencing, are seen as the communication methods that have innovated the most over the past five years.
Despite the fact that the tech industry has been betting on chatbots as the next frontier, only 1% of respondents would prefer to be contacted by brands via chatbots.
Because the report is jam-packed with so much data goodness, there are many actionable takeaways just like I cited above for marketers and content creators. Although many of them seem quite straightforward to put in action when it comes to dealing with the challenges associated with managing a multitude of content, and distributing that content globally in multiple languages, so-called straightforward customized communication from brands may get a little out of control. This is where Multichannel Campaign Management (MCCM) platforms come into play.
Gartner predicts organizations with fully functional online personalization will outsell companies without it by more than 30% this year. To satiate this ever-rising demand for personalization capabilities, almost all Multichannel Campaign Management (MCCM) vendors now are adding personalization engines to their offerings. It means that instead of purchasing a stand-alone tool for personalization engines, buyers will expect an MCCM platform to natively deliver those capabilities. Sure enough, just like the other market research reports, the Adobe study cited above also suggests that customization of emails from brands is very important across all age groups and genders.
When it comes to the critical capabilities buyers must have to thrive with multichannel campaign management, Kristin Naragon made really good points during her conversation with our media reporter Laura Myers. You can view the full interview here.
Apparently, email use continues to see strong use in the business world, as well as among consumers. However, the quality of engagement will matter so brands should not continue to send out tone-deaf emails geared so obviously on lead generation over providing quality content. Now that we are armed with predictive analytics tools, marketers should act like a chess grandmaster and think ahead of what your customers might be looking for. To do so, they need to thoroughly map out their consumer journey as the way consumers engage with brands varies at each step of a customer’s lifecycle.
With this in mind, if we circle back to the findings from the survey, to be honest, I am a little confused when it comes to the respondents’ statements about content displayed in branded emails. 40% of respondents would prefer that marketing emails were less about promotions and more about providing information. However, according to another finding from the same survey, a whopping 62% of respondents are most interested in receiving special offers and promotions from brands. I sensed a little bit of irony there. If you’ve gotten a better interpretation, I would love to hear it in the comment section below.