Marketers are shifting their focus from customer acquisition and tools like buy buttons to brand loyalty and awareness, according to new research from Campaigner, which recently announced the results of its Digital Marketing Industry Report study. The surveyed marketers plan to rely on content marketing—and more specifically, email marketing—to help lead these efforts.
While attracting new customers is still the top marketing goal for respondents, fewer are focused on it this year, with a shift toward other marketing efforts taking place. Compared to 2016, 9.5 percent fewer marketers chose customer acquisition as a top goal for 2017, while 14 percent and 11.4 percent more selected brand awareness and brand loyalty as a top goal, respectively.
“Though building the customer base is always a key goal for marketers, the industry is beginning to realize that brand awareness is a cornerstone for not just acquisition, but reputation, customer retention and word-of-mouth marketing as well,” said EJ McGowan, general manager at Campaigner, in a news release. “Brand loyalty is also invaluable, with existing customers providing a steady stream of sales and an avenue of outreach for new customers.”
Inadequate Instrument: Buy Button
According to the survey, marketers are overwhelmingly rejecting the use of buy buttons on social media platforms, and for good reason: A whopping 72 percent report that they have seen no sales as a result of buy buttons in 2016. In fact, 25 percent fewer marketers are using them now compared to this time last year, and over 40 percent plan to reduce their use of them in 2017.
“With marketers seeing a lack of results from buy buttons on social media, the industry may begin implementing them in newer ways next year,” said Seamas Egan, associate director of revenue operations at Campaigner, in the release. “For instance, as marketers look to make email interaction more similar to that of visiting an actual retail website, buy buttons may be useful in creating that experience in consumers’ inboxes.”
Surpassing Strategy: Content
As the industry maintains focus on this consumer experience, content marketing continues to be a major area of focus, with over 40 percent of marketers planning to make it a priority next year and over 45 percent expecting to use it in a greater capacity in 2017.
Marketers identify newsletters as their content of choice—outranking articles, videos, infographics and quizzes—with at least 46 percent planning to increase their distribution of newsletters next year. On the other hand, at least 23 percent of marketers foresee using fewer infographics in 2017, with 22 percent already using them less today than they did in 2015.
Outstanding Channel: Email
Furthermore, to distribute this content, marketers are looking to email as their channel of choice. In fact, email marketing is the top method that marketers will use in 2017, with at least 72 percent planning to increase their use of it. Email marketing also ranked as the most effective digital marketing method for 2016, beating out social media, online advertising, SEO and search marketing.
However, although email is a preferred marketing channel, it doesn’t come without its challenges. Increasing open rates is currently the top challenge for email marketers, while maintaining click-through rates proves to be a growing issue, with 37 percent more marketers listing it as a top challenge this year over last year.
Inconsistent Tool: Emoji
Finally, for the marketers surveyed, the use of emojis in email subject lines presents a paradox. While the images are often reflected as a modern way to grab attention and convey a brand’s personality, marketers seem to have mixed feelings when it comes to their benefits and applications.
According to the survey, 24 percent of email marketers use emojis in subject lines; of those using emojis, 89 percent report increased open rates as a result. However, emojis are the No. 1 element that respondents plan to use less of in 2017. These results may imply that as marketers continue to become more familiar with their integration, they are learning that emojis might be beneficial only when used to a certain extent.
As marketers look forward to 2017, it’s important for them to take measure of these, and other strategies, as well as identify which tools will have the biggest impact on their business in the year to come.
The online survey was commissioned by Campaigner on November 6 through November 15, 2016. The survey sampled 562 email marketers from the Campaigner customer base, and the average margin of error is +/- 4.08%.
Source: Business Wire; edited by Richard Carufel