Killer Email Industry Stats

In case you missed it, the Direct Marketing Association’s outstanding research department recently released some interesting reports (link so you can see the details of reports available to purchase). In particular, two stats jumped out at me:

  • Email marketing in the US alone will account for approximately 71,000 jobs this year, growing at 8-10% annually historically and projected into the future as well
  • The ROI for email marketing is $57.25 for every dollar spent. The ROI of all non-email online marketing is $22.52, less than half

This jives with something we heard a few years ago from one of our clients, a very smart B2C marketer, who reported that she got a 40:1 payback for every dollar spent on email marketing versus an 8:1 payback on search.

Her problem, however, is volume. She would spend more on email if she could – but she feels limited by a housefile that she can only email a certain number of times per week. This is true for many marketers. The available inventory for traditional channels is so much larger than for interactive media, including email.

But we think this highlights a great opportunity! Most marketers still have email addresses for less than 25% of their full customer database, meaning that if we do our job as an industry, we should be able to increase the availability of email addresses threefold in the coming couple of years. With the inevitable scale efficiencies in email marketing, that 40:1 number can become much bigger, maybe even as high as 100:1, over time.

The challenge for the industry is that this kind of transformation isn’t easy. A lot of the low-hanging fruit of early online adopters is gone. This means marketers are going to have to do more to embrace permission and drive organic list growth if they want to keep pushing the email ROI metric forward. Not necessarily brain bending stuff, but there aren’t a lot of shortcuts for it, either, and it requires a different mindset than traditional advertising and direct marketing. In the end, it all comes down to respecting the consumer and delivering the value exchange to customers.

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