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Why You Need to Invest More Resources in Email Marketing in 2017

December 05, 2016

Are businesses prioritizing email in their marketing plans? With a 3800% return on investment (ROI), email has significant potential as a revenue generating machine. However, how much time and budget is enough?

Our survey on email marketing trends in 2016 shows a common email marketing perception among enterprises: your company invests enough resources in email marketing.

But is this really true? Email marketing experts surveyed for this series say no.

We argue that looking toward 2017, marketing teams need to dedicate more human and financial resources to email.



The Ongoing Debate: Do we invest enough in email marketing?

human and financial resources allotted for email marketing - Clutch's Email Marketing Survey 2016

To overcome email marketing’s primary challenges, marketers should prioritize investing in educational tools to improve email skills ­— like what to include in an email strategy and what content performs best when distributed through email — and to automate time-intensive processes — like targeting and segmenting, personalization, and results tracking.

However, our survey shows that while most email marketers struggle with these core email skills, few see not having enough human and financial resources as a challenge. And, even more significant, few believe that they need to invest more resources in the email process.

Where does this discrepancy come from? Lewkowicz, Marketing Coordinator at Litmus, a web-based email creation, testing, and analytics platform, attributes the survey results to a lack of understanding of the value email marketing creates for businesses.
“Even though email marketing has demonstrated clear ROI, most companies don’t set aside enough resources … to get the job done,” Lewkowicz said. “Many companies don’t value email marketers, and it can be difficult to get buy-in for additional resources, budget, and campaigns.”
But, don’t lose faith. Tracking and reporting key metrics can show how email helps push forward your company’s core business goals and how investing in email marketing more could double those improvements going forward.

Read More: We created an infographic to help you identify the key metrics to track to prove that email is helping your business achieve its goals.

Where to Allocate Resources

How you approach email marketing — the content you share, the frequency with which you send emails, and the overall goals you want to accomplish — varies case-by-case. Therefore, the amount of time and money required to make email marketing efficient and profitable is not the same for everyone.

However, there are some resources that all companies need if they’re pursuing email marketing:

  1. Email service provider (ESP): ESPs allow you to design email templates, schedule emails in advance, and perform A/B testing. There are many different ESPs out there, and the one that’s best for you depends on your company’s size and the volume of emails it send.
  2. Google Analytics: Tracking web traffic that results from email marketing is key for proving the ROI of email
  3. Marketing automation tools: For larger, more complex marketing campaigns, marketing automation tools like HubSpot or SeventhSense can help you streamline your content marketing and personalize emails based on the data collected about your audience.
  4. People

If we focus in on people — those ever-important human resources — we find that the size of a company’s email marketing team varies based on the size of the company itself.amount of human resources devoted to email marketing compared to company size

According to Michael Barber, Founder of barber&hewitt, a strategy and planning firm focused on business-to-business (B2B) organizations, larger organizations will have dedicated resources for email and/or marketing automation, while small- and medium-sized organizations will give email responsibilities to a general employee — someone who has some email knowledge but email isn’t his/her key role.

“In medium-sized organizations, we've typically seen more of a holistic type of employee who has email knowledge but functions as a sort of jack of all trades across the marketing team. In these organizations, there typically are one to three individuals who either own the channel or play some sort of role within it.”
Michael Barber

The Takeaway

Be thoughtful about the type and amount of resources you dedicate to email marketing. As you finalize marketing plans for 2017, consider the following:

  • The tools that make email marketing easier
  • How many people you need to do the job well
  • The specialized skills your team needs to learn to be effective at email
  • How an outside agency that specializes in email marketing can help you

For more resources on email marketing, see the first two articles in our series:

Contact Sarah Patrick at [email protected] with questions or feedback.

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About the Survey

Data comes from Clutch’s Email Marketing Survey 2016. The study included 303 respondents who describe themselves as either expert, advanced, or intermediate email marketers. They work at companies with more than 100 employees, with 47% representing companies with more than 500 employees. 31% work for business-to-business (B2B) and 69% work for business-to-consumer (B2C) companies.