Killer Email Industry Stats

Posted by Matt Blumberg 

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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About Matt Blumberg

Matt Blumberg founded Return Path in 1999 because he believed the world needed email to work better. Matt is passionate about enhancing the online relationship between email subscribers and marketers so that both sides of the equation benefit. It is with great pride that he has watched this initial creation grow to a company of more than 400 employees with the market leading brand, innovative products, and the email industry’s most renowned experts. Before Return Path, Matt ran marketing, product management, and the internet group for MovieFone, Inc. (later acquired by AOL). Prior to that he served as an associate with private equity firm General Atlantic Partners and was a consultant with Mercer Management Consulting. He holds a B.A. from Princeton University. You can learn much more about Matt by reading his email marketing and entrepreneurship blog Only Once – one of the first CEO blogs on the Internet. Last year he wrote a book, Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business.

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