Email marketing has been a consistent workhorse in marketing organizations. In fact, CMOs estimate they allocated about 9.7% of the 2021 marketing budget on email marketing, up from 8.9% in the prior year.
Still, email marketing program managers – like other marketing channel leaders – are under pressure to reduce costs. During the pandemic, many CMOs had to cut budgets or re-allocate funds to other channels. Email marketing, in some organizations, got chopped.
Consider Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey 2021. It found that 62% respondents changed the prioritization of channel investments from 2020 to 2021. Of those that changed channel investments, about the same number increased spending on email marketing (31% of respondents) as decreased spending on email marketing (27% of respondents). By industry, there were noteworthy differences:
- More CMOs in retail or consumer products increased spending on email marketing compared to respondents from seven other industries in the survey.
- More CMOs from IT and business services than other industries cut spending on email marketing. (Instead, these respondents were more likely to increase spending on digital advertising, social marketing and SEO than email marketing.)
Looking ahead, 69% of CMOs surveyed said they expect to increase spending on email marketing; 27% expect a significant increase and 41% expect a slight increase. The others expect spending to remain the same or to be cut.
CMOs must provide sufficient budget to email marketing initiatives, such as testing and optimizing subject lines and other content and ensuring teams have skills to take advantage of segmentation capabilities.
Gartner analyst Evan Bakker, who led the work on Gartner’s upcoming Email Marketing Benchmarks report, shares this practical advice:
- Support reach and engagement goals by deploying short, concise subject lines when blasting content at a wide audience.
- Provide more detailed, specific subject lines reflective of a relevant insight when targeting narrower audience subsets.
What’s more, marketers need to be prepared for disruption. Apple, for instance, announced plans to change in privacy controls that will have major implications for email marketing programs. Matt Moorut, a Gartner analyst, shares recommendations in the blog post, “What iOS 15 Privacy Controls and the Loss of Open Rates Mean for Email Marketers.”
The year 2022 may continue to be the year when less is more. CMOs and their teams have an opportunity to improve email marketing’s role in converting visitors to buyers and to deepen loyalty and advocacy. Gartner clients can access the report, “Mapping Email Marketing Tactics to Key Stages in the Customer Journey” and look out for the upcoming Email Marketing Benchmarks report.