Email’s Role in Marketing Automation

Email has been rated as the most successful digital marketing and engagement tool by 67% of marketers worldwide, shown by the May 2012 data from the Chief Marketing Officer Council.

This finding is also supported by the June statistics from Direct Marketing Association (DMA), which reveal higher open rates and clickthrough rates for emails sent to customers and prospects in 2012 when compared to the 2010 figures. The data reveals an increase of 2.6% average open rates and 1.1% increase in average click through rates of emails that marketers send to their customers, both existing and present. The open rate for new leads or prospects remains stagnant, but the clickthrough rates have doubled. This means that new prospects are less likely to open mail sent by marketers than before, but once they open it, chances of them taking follow up action has doubled.


Possible reasons for customers becoming more receptive to the marketers’ email could be advances in the web analytic industry, making it easier to implement better marketing automation and data segmentation. This allows marketers to personalize emails and identify relevant audiences better.

But an increase in email receptivity does not translate to higher conversions. Customers and prospects are more likely than ever before to open emails or follow up on its contents, but there is no statistical evidence to indicate that they end up buying more, and often.

This could be because the increase in the number of digital touchpoints, which are important in marketing automation. Earlier, the customer or the prospect had little option but to click on the link given in the email and make the purchase. Today, a prospect could open the email and gain information about the product, but may convert through a retargeted display ad or another campaign.

To get a correct picture of which marketing initiatives matter, the marketer has to acquire multichannel attribution capabilities rather than rely on last click attribution. Even though email might not translate to higher conversions, it is still important to use email in to market your product or service. Having a mix of marketing touchpoints is critical to finding out more about your customer and appealing to their preferences.