COVID-19's Effect On Marketing Budgets, The Road To The Inbox & Email Marketing In Europe

How much did the COVID-19 outbreak affect your marketing budget? What are the current challenges and opportunities for email marketers? What’s the most important advice about email marketing in Europe?

“Focus on growing your list all of the time as newer subscribers are more engaged, adding to healthier open rates and ROI.” – Karl Murray

In this article, we’ll cover the following email industry news:

  1. The effect of COVID-19 on marketing

  2. [Study] A journey to the inbox 2020  

  3. Email marketing in Europe – privacy regulations

Ready to dive in?

[Study] COVID-19’s Effect On Marketing

Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 mayhem, businesses are spending more on marketing with driving not only innovation but also shifts in marketing channels with a strong focus on the customer. 

According to a study from our friends at Merkle, when it comes to increasing the budget for marketing, email is in the top three channels chosen by marketers with 51% of businesses saying they’ve boosted their email spend. The first two being site/mobile chats (56%) and mobile app functionality (55%).

The stats show that only 16% of businesses are decreasing their email budget with 33% of them leaving the budgets unchanged. Overall, 52% of companies have increased their spending on marketing since the pandemic outbreak. However, according to the study, “investments in chat and mobile are more temporary*, while current investments in* email platforms are more permanent*.”*

Additionally, 30% of businesses who took part in the survey, state replacing their email technology in the next two year is highly likely, with 34% somewhat likely to do the same.

Further innovations introduced are – 

a) trying out new marketing technologies and features – 50%;b) becoming more consumer-focused in marketing messaging – 45%;c) adding a new marketing channel – 39%; and,d) identifying a new audience – 33%.

Despite the fact that innovations are here to stay, it’s not easy and businesses can come across disruptions such as – 

a) a very long marketing decision process – 46%;b) too many places holding data which might render it unuseful – 43%;c) not leveraging the data a company has – 38%;d) lack of coordinated channels – 36%;e) inefficient organisational structure – 34%;f) inability to share content and images across channels – 33%;g) relying too much on agencies – 30%.

[Study] A Journey To The Inbox 2020

Email data accuracy in 2020 has improved significantly with only 13.7% of businesses fretting about high levels of inaccurate data compared to 15.7% in 2019, according to a recent study by our friends at Validity.

According to the stats, 87% of business using email consider email deliverability vital, with 17% stating it’s the top factor in their email campaigns, 38% only saying it’s important and 31% indicating it’s of average importance.

The study points out that 45% of businesses think data quality has a significant impact, with 48% citing it has somewhat of an impact on their email deliverability. The second factor – email content – is considered by 44% of companies to have a major effect on deliverability with 49% claiming it has just some effect.

These two top email deliverability elements that have a major effect on email deliverability are followed by – 

a) sender’s reputation – 42%;b) engagement – 40%;c) technology – 35%; and,d) authentication – 35%.

The most curious thing we found out in the study is that 70% of businesses use purchased email list – 13% using them always, 34% often and 23% only sometimes. However, using purchased or rented email lists is a huge ‘no-no’.

Furthermore, over 90% of participants in the study claim that poor email deliverability has some financial impact on their business, with 8% citing it’s severe, 36% claiming it’s moderate and 47% saying it’s limited. According to the study, marketers who “spend 1% more of their current digital marketing budget on email will see a 4.1% increase in online traffic. This might not seem like a significant increase but the same amount spent on paid search delivers a 0.6% increase, versus 0.4% for social, and 0.2% for display.

Email Marketing In Europe

The one and only thing to remember about email marketing in Europe is – “Don’t even bother unless you have the recipients’ explicit consent.

Under the GDPR and UK’s Privacy Communication Regulations, businesses can only send email campaigns to people who have explicitly agreed to them doing so. Being it ticking a box saying “click here to subscribe” or registering for an event and providing personal information when doing so with verbal agreement to receive content.

However, it appears the EU thinks U.S. businesses require some ‘further education’ given the loose privacy regulations that exist under their CAN-SPAM law. In theory, under that law, businesses must only provide the option for recipients to opt-out from their emails.

There is a major exception to both EU and U.S. privacy rules though. You can email existing subscribers without specific consent if – 

a) they’ve given you the contact information by showing interest in your products/services; and,b) you’ve given them the option to opt-out from your marketing emails in every other message after you’ve collected their data.

Overall, for successful email marketing – all over the world – the recipients’ explicit consent is the holy grail businesses must-have.

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