Email marketing continues to  be an important advertising tool and Winterberry Group predicts spending in the format will reach $1.8 billion in 2012. But new developments in online media have impacted email marketing. As a result, enterprises plan to adjust how they will use email.

Despite the growing array of available online tools, marketers remain committed to using email and experts expect it will grow by 12.5% this year. The latest MarketingSherpa Email Marketing report finds that 67% of enterprises will increase their email activity in 2012. Growth of 30% or more is expected in 19% of organizations. Another 32% of businesses will spend between 10% and 30% more on email.

As with any marketing expenditure, businesses are looking for a positive ROI. The most important metrics for marketers range from financial return on investment (65%) to post-click metrics such as lead generation (62%) to performance details such as opens (56%). In addition, enterprises must find a way to incorporate the technology changes that are impacting email. CMOs say the following online developments are most affecting this channel:

  • Social media 83%
  • Smartphones and tablets 46%
  • Availability of engagement metrics on webmail 37%
  • Location-based marketing 29%
  • Privacy policy regulations 15%
  • Gamification of marketing programs 8%
  • Cyber attacks on databases 7%

Bruce Biegel, managing director at Winterberry Group noted that “Email volumes are up, but per-email costs keep going down.” Enterprises are focused on improving the management and segmentation in email. One of the key segmented groups is likely to be consumers who read their email on mobile devices. So far, about 4 in 10 marketers have rolled out formats optimized for the mobile channel. Email continues to be an effective way to reach targets so marketers will not be dropping their use of this channel anytime soon.

[Source: Rice et al. 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report. Marketingsherpa.com. 2012. Web. 8 Mar. 2012; Levey, Richard. Direct, Digital spending Will Continue Increase in 2012. Chiefmarketer.com. 18 Jan. 2012. Web. 7 Mar. 2012]