Though email marketing is an important means of generating awareness and promotions, there remains a massive disconnect between brands and consumers. A recent study conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by Adobe found that 70 percent of respondents rely on email for promotions, but only eight percent of consumers feel “very satisfied” with their emails. Additionally, even though 60 percent of marketers feel that their emails are interactive, over two-thirds of recipients tell a different story, with only 26 percent of consumers stating that they find their brand emails are interactive.

The report states that the reason for this divide comes from how many marketing efforts still rely on outdated methods that don’t work in today’s business climate. Therefore, it suggests that this is the time to innovate email marketing by moving it beyond promotional marketing so that brands can pivot to a customer-centric approach. Promotional emails still have value, but it cannot be the sole strategy. Instead of being about transactions, sales, their brand or day-to-day operations, the report states that brands should use email to create “customer obsession.”

Forrester defines customer obsession as “deliberately making your customer the center of your total operating model,” and measures it using six criteria: structure, technology, processes, metrics, talent and culture. By surveying 260 marketing professionals, Forrester found that companies have an inflated view of how customer-obsessed they are. About 60 percent of brands identified themselves as customer-obsessed, but only 12 percent “fully embody best practices” across all six criteria. According to Forrester, 45 percent of the surveyed brands are “customer-aware,” which is the second-least mature category for its approach.

According to Forrester’s findings, more customer-obsessed companies reported that they exceeded their revenue goals than others. They also got higher scores on satisfaction surveys.

In order to strengthen engagement, the report makes three key recommendations:

  1. Turn emails into immersive brand experiences instead of just getting people to click on links. That way, emails can become competitive differentiators.
  2. Reduce low-value promotional emails and try to increase loyalty from your best customers instead of blasting deal-seekers, which has the added benefit of reducing the amount of tracking needed for GDPR compliance.
  3. Use email as a utility for cross-channel experiences. Instead of just measuring opens, clicks and conversions, track when email assists conversion in other channels in addition to how it boosts lifetime value, customer satisfaction and brand engagement. In short, measure the campaign, not customer results.

The report further states that 95 percent of the surveyed marketers believe that they would benefit from a more advanced email marketing program and that customer-obsessed companies use the following practices:

  • Measure customer satisfaction
  • Regularly refresh content
  • Test and learn through email marketing
  • Use tools that enable advanced email applications