This year, Acxiom released its first-ever consumer marketing survey that asked 1,000 regular consumers about their adoption and use of email, social and mobile. Ryan Phelan, VP,Global Strategic Services at Acxiom, revealed key findings, and insights on how to execute multi-channel communication programs in order to improve KPIs and customer lifetime value during the final session at Interact 2013.

Ryan Phelan

Idle time is “email time”

Where does email fit into the daily life of an average consumer? Findings on consumer behavior from the 2013 Acxiom Digital Impact Consumer Digital Study showed that:

  • 91% of consumers check email on their mobile phones
  • Nearly 49% of respondents have an email account for emails they rarely intend to open
  • 36% of respondents check email, social media and texts before doing anything else after they wake up
  • 21% check their email before breakfast
  • 60% never read emails that are saved to be read later
  • 72% of consumers read email when they are bored
  • 29% read email while in the bathroom

While 40.2% of respondents cited discounts as the most important reason for signing up to receive emails from companies, 22.7% signed up to participate in product research, 21.1% to get product/service updates and 13.1% because they were brand fans. In short, consumers are not just looking for deals and discounts and email marketing is not just about the deal of the week.

Change is required in both emails sent and programs enacted

Some 30 – 40% of overall email revenue is reported by retailers as being from trigger programs. Here are some other tactics to consider which involves utilizing customer behavior to deliver the right message at the right time.

  • Next Logical Product What has your customer bought? What are they most likely to buy next based on an analysis of common customer behavior?
  • Browser Marketing Your customer has been browsing your site. Examine their behavior and send them emails related to products they have looked at.
  • Event Has your customer abandoned their shopping cart? Send them an event triggered email to urge them to complete their purchase.
  • Transactional Inform customers of a financial transaction or some update to a specific purchase.

Reducing Customer Churn in Email Lists

Instead of just opt-out options, provide consumers with opt-down options that allow them to set the frequency of emails and select the type of emails they want to receive. This can reduce attrition by up to 40%.  Also, make sure to survey customers on reasons for opting out to improve your understanding of consumer behaviors.

List Verification, Customer Preferences and Data

Use list verification services and make sure aged records are cleaned before sending. Ryan recounted a horror story of a client who sent to email addresses from an old CD from 2002. Make a guess what happened to that client’s deliverability rate… not pretty.

Ryan encouraged marketers to find out more about client behaviors and email preferences with questions, but cautioned against creepy use of data – the data that consumers do not expect you to have.

Keep in mind that your direct competitors are not the only people you need to worry about. Ryan ended his session with these key takeaways:

  • Customers – through response, behavior and analysis – want smart marketing.
  • Mobile integration enables subscribers to better convert.

With the digital landscape and customer behavior constantly changing, marketers need to evolve with the times and pay attention to customer behavior to stay ahead of the competition!

Learn how to extend customer lifetime value through transactional email and real world case studies with the Transactional Messaging Best Practices eBook.

Transactional Messaging Best Practices

Email guru David Daniel’s recently published white paper on the differing impact of marketing efforts based on email technology used is exciting to all marketers for a number of reasons.

One of these reasons is that it provides a really in-depth look on the types of challenges marketers face when using an email service provider versus an enterprise email solution (or on-premise email solution).


Across the board, marketers experience fewer challenges with an enterprise email solution. Only on the question of creative content development did respondents report better results with outsourced solutions, and then by only a single percentage point margin.

What’s really eye popping is the huge gap in terms of the extent of the challenges facing marketers. While not much difference exists between knowledge for optimizing marketing and creative content development, the percentages demonstrate how much more value marketers are getting from an enterprise email solution versus an email service provider.

Percentage Gap In Challenges Experienced by Marketers Using An Email Service Provider

  • Lack of data security: +11%
  • Adequate staff to manage email: +10%
  • Adequate IT support: +10%
  • Analyzing campaign results: +9%
  • List turnover subscriber churn: +9%
  • Email deliverability: +7%
  • Automate campaigns: +5%
  • Lack of budget: +4%

So, we can see that the area where enterprise email solutions are really having the most impact is in terms of security, manpower deployment, analytics and the dread customer churn. That’s a lot of cumulative areas that could add up to improving your ROI and getting that lead to convert.

Another interesting point to note is the difference in the top three challenges experienced by marketers using different solutions.

Top 3 Challenges for marketers using email service providers:

  • Analyzing campaign results: 25%
  • Ability to automate campaigns: 24%
  • Adequate staff to manage email: 24%

Top 3 Challenges for marketers using enterprise email solutions:

  • Knowledge to optimize marketing: 21%
  • Ability to automate campaigns: 19%
  • Creative content development / analyze campaign results: 16%

While both parties identified analytics and automation, these were much bigger problems for marketers using email service providers. In contrast, it is possible to surmise from the results that marketers using enterprise email solutions were focusing more on challenges to deal with optimizing content and marketing as their technology was working more effectively for them in all other areas.

Do you agree with the results? How are enterprise email solutions working better for you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

(This is the third part of a series on the Unlock the Potential of Email Marketing webinar, which presents findings from a survey of 400 email marketing professionals.

Part 1: Three Email Marketing Metrics You Need To Measure
Part 2: Three Reasons Why Email Marketers Turn To In-House Email Solutions)