Marketing Campaign Priorities [Report]

Marketing Campaign Priorities [Report]

In their push towards digital marketing and advertising, marketers’ priorities seem to be more digital than traditional forms of media, according to the new Nielsen report. For example, respondents cited audience targeting – for which digital is highly touted – as their top campaign priority this year.

Marketing Campaign Priorities

Ad creative is the second-most prominent priority for the more than 350 brand and agency executives surveyed. This is followed by audience reach – one of the traditional benefits of legacy mass media.

MarketingCharts’ latest US Media Audience Demographics report shows that radio and TV continue to have the widest weekly reach among US adults.

Surprisingly, data quality is only a marketing campaign priority for 28% of respondents. That’s despite companies relying more and more on data to help with various business decisions as well as to assist in other priorities like audience targeting and personalization.

Paid Media Effectiveness vs ROI Confidence

Nielsen’s survey found that search was perceived to be the most effective paid digital channel. This may relate to the priority being placed on audience targeting, search engine marketing strategies are often informed by such tools.

Other paid digital media perceived to be effective include video (online/mobile) and social media, while emerging channels such as streaming audio and podcasts are perceived to be less effective for now, potentially due to lower adoption or time with which to prove themselves.

Nielsen’s report does point out that the perceived effectiveness of a channel does not necessarily mean that marketers are confident that they are able to measure its ROI. For example, marketers are more confident in their ability to measure the ROI of email than of video or social media, yet they show less confidence in email’s effectiveness than in those other channels.

As such, businesses appear willing to continue investing in digital channels that may not be performing up to snuff or at least that they cannot necessarily prove are as effective as they think. Budgets may be following perceptions rather than reality: even though marketers are not very confident that they know how to measure ROI for many digital channels, most still expect to see their budget increase for the media they believe to be effective.

On the other hand, budgets for what may be considered tried and true traditional channels are expected to either remain the same or decrease in the next 12 months. Per the report, channels such as linear TV, radio or print have been around for much longer, and their effectiveness is not a guarantee that budgets will increase. Consciously or not, marketers seem to hold traditional channels to a higher standard.

Download the full report.

About the Data: Results are based on data collected via newsletter and follow-up emails in 2019 for a sample of 363 respondents; 247 brand executives and 116 agency executives. The majority of respondents (74%) were based in the US.

Are your campaigns delivering ROI? Schedule a call or email Lori Berson at


BersonDeanStevens has been a recognized brand strategy and marketing leader for over 25 years, including over a decade in Marketing Automation. We work in partnership with you to differentiate your brand and achieve your business goals. Client list.


Email Marketing Priorities for 2020 [Report]

Email Marketing Priorities for 2020 [Report]

Email Marketing

Two of the key email marketing strategy priorities marketers hope to achieve are to increase sales revenue (59%) and to boost the number of leads generated (49%). But these are only two factors in marketers’ quest to make email marketing more effective, according to the latest Ascend2 report.

Email Marketing Priorities for 2020

3 Key Takeaways:

1. Marketers Are More Focused on Improving Engagement Than Boosting List Size

Increasing sales revenue and generating more leads aren’t the only goals marketers are looking to accomplish with this year’s email marketing strategy. About 39% say they will work on improving email engagement, which makes sense given increasing competition for attention in the inbox. Moreover, it appears that more marketers will be focused on engaging their current subscribers as opposed to adding to their email list, with only 21% of respondents saying increasing their email list size is a key goal for the year.

This isn’t to say that respondents think that improving engagement will be simple. 45% say it is also a challenging barrier to the success of their email marketing strategy – making it the biggest obstacle cited in the survey. This challenge is nothing new to marketers as increasing email engagement has been a challengethey have faced for several years.

2. Almost 1 in 3 Marketers Say That Email’s Effectiveness is Declining

Last year Ascend2 found that email marketing campaigns were considered less effective than other tactics such as social media marketing, content marketing, and search engine optimization. When respondents of this most recent survey were asked to what extent effectiveness is changing for email marketing, slightly fewer than one-third said that effectiveness is actually decreasing, either marginally (24%) or significantly (7%).

Other data from DemandMetric and Return Path from Validity has found that more than 43%of marketers believe their email effectiveness remained unchanged last year, with only 28% seeing a slight improvement. Combined with that result, the relatively large number of marketers who report a decrease in effectiveness in this latest survey is significant as the majority of marketers still consider email to be one of their most important marketing channels.

3. Marketers Focus More on Response Rates Than Conversions

When looking at the metrics used to measure the health of their email programs, respondents emphasized click-through-rate (CTR, 55%) and open rate (48%) first among all. This is understandable considering marketers’ wish to increase engagement, especially at a time when open rates and CTR are declining.

With the majority of respondents setting increasing sales revenue as a key priority this year, it is somewhat surprising that fewer (43%) say that one of the most effective metrics used to measure their email marketing strategy’s success is post-email conversions.

Other Findings

  • Better content (66%) and more personalization (65%) are considered the best tactics for improving the effectiveness of email programs.
  • Relatively few marketers feel they can improve effectiveness with more video and animation (22%) and more testing (12%).
  • Almost three-quarters (73%) of marketers plan to continue their investment in email marketing either moderately or significantly, while 16% say they have no plans to invest at all.
  • About half (49%) of organizations use a combination of outsourced and in-house resources to implement their email strategy, with more than one-third (37%) saying they keep it all in-house.

Check out the full report.

About the Data: Ascend2 surveyed 287 marketing professionals across B2B (37%), B2C (43%) and B2B/B2C equally (20%) sectors during the week of December 9, 2019.

Need help with your 2020 email marketing strategies? Schedule a call or email Lori Berson at


BersonDeanStevens has been a recognized brand strategy and marketing leader for over 25 years, including over a decade in Marketing Automation. We work in partnership with you to differentiate your brand and achieve your business goals. Client list.


Email Marketing Priorities for 2020 [Report]

Email Marketing – How to Ensure Email Deliverability

After putting in countless hours creating the strategy, designing the graphics, writing the copy, programming, and segmenting your target audiences, you’ll definitely want to make sure the intended recipients receive your email. Unfortunately, we’ve all experienced less than 100% deliverability. Most are due to soft bounces, hard bounces, unsubscribes and spam filters, etc.

Email bounces are a normal part of email marketing. And unfortunately they’re not always unavoidable, but you can maintain a healthy email bounce rate. Some factors are in your control, but others are not, so you’ll need to adjust your tactics accordingly. Below you’ll learn the factors that make emails bounce and how to keep your bounce rate low.

An Email Bounce

Email bounces mean that your email service provider could not deliver the email you sent for several possible reasons. Better Bounces states that over 31 billion emails bounce every day, which means it happens to virtually all businesses. In most cases, something went wrong on your subscriber’s end that resulted in your email not making it into the inbox.

Why Emails Bounce

  • Your recipient’s mailbox is full. Most email providers only allow so much storage. If your subscriber has reached their limit, they can’t receive emails from you or anyone else.
  • Your IP address is bad. A bad email service provider can result in your messages not being delivered. If another marketer is sending spam from the same IP address (shared IP for example), the IP’s reputation will be damaged.
  • The subscriber blocked you. Instead of clicking “unsubscribe,” the recipient could have blocked your email address from sending emails.
  • The recipient has an auto-responder set up. Auto-responders can trigger a soft bounce until the recipient turns off this notification.
  • The server is overloaded and needs a break.
  • The receiving server doesn’t trust your content. You can control several factors that may be giving you that “email bounce” notification. (See below.)
  • The subscriber’s email address is invalid. They may have entered the wrong email address upon signup, or they gave a fake address.

Interpreting Each Bounce

Here are the different types of bounces and steps you can take to lessen the damage.

Soft Bounce

A few soft bounces are nothing to worry about. They’re normal and are included in the typical email bounce rate. A soft bounce usually means that something went wrong with the subscriber’s email server, due to the reasons above. Best of all, soft bounces are temporary.

In this case, your email server will generally attempt to resend the email several times over the course of hours or days until it manages a successful delivery. Most email service providers have a standard period for re-attempting to deliver soft bounces. If your email is still undeliverable, depending on your email service provider, the failed soft bounce might change to a hard bounce after exhausting all attempts.

If you’re getting a lot of soft bounces, adjust your campaigns and try again.

Hard Bounce

Hard bounces are serious and should be removed immediately to prevent damaging the reputation of your service provider. You cannot contact the subscriber and you shouldn’t continue to try. Hard bounces are permanent.

Hard bounces indicate the email is invalid. The subscriber could have entered the wrong information or changed their address and deleted the old one. Either way, remove the subscriber and continue sending to your remaining list.

Do not enter what you think is the correct email address. There are new privacy laws in Europe, General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), and in California, that require subscribers to opt-in for email communications from marketers.

How to Lower Email Bounce Rates

Two to three percent is a healthy email bounce rate, depending on the size of your list. Best practice is to remove those hard bounces ASAP. With soft bounces you should take a few steps to ensure that you’re optimizing your email deliveries.

Use a Reputable Email Service Provider (ESP)

An ESP, with a full M³AAWG membership, will have a dedicated compliance and deliverability team that proactively monitors IP health and works with clients on their reputation. This drastically reduces the risk for all customers by having a robust permission-only sending policy and adhering to the leading email marketing industry standards.

Verify Your Domain

This is easy to do through your email service provider and can lower your bounce rate. It gives specific server permission to send emails from your domain addressed as your website.

Keep Images and Emails Small

Email clients may send large emails back to the sender. If you’re getting a lot of bounces, check the size of your emails. Plus, smaller emails will load more quickly on mobile devices. Here are some common limits:

  • Gmail: 25Mb
  • Outlook: 20Mb
  • Yahoo: 25Mb

Avoid Triggering Spam Filters

Spam filters update their algorithms all the time. It’s important to stay updated on what constitutes spam to avoid getting flagged and damaging your ESPs brand reputation.

Limit the size of your emails and graphics, avoid trigger words like “money” and “FREE,” avoid writing in all caps. Don’t send email campaigns with attachments or lots of exclamation points either—they could look spammy to readers and affect engagement. And low engagement can cause your emails to be filtered as spam.

Use a Signup Form and Double Opt-in

To avoid hard bounces, take advantage of double opt-in features when your subscribers sign up. After entering their email address for the first time, each subscriber will receive an email that asks them to verify their email. Each subscriber physically has to click “yes” or follow a specific link to sign up. This eliminates invalid emails right away. Plus, only people who want to hear from you get your emails.

Use an Email Bounce Checker

Most Email Service Providers (ESPs) and marketing automation platforms, as well as Better Bounces will offer email bounce diagnostics to understand error codes and what went wrong so you can improve your deliverability. Your email service provider should also help with special tools and information about maintaining a healthy email bounce rate.

Create a Master Suppression List

Keep a list of all bounces and unsubscribes. Before sending any email, be sure to scrub your list against your suppression file to remove any unwanted emails.

Cleanse Your List

Sending emails to invalid addresses of hard bounces can damage the reputation of your IP address and create even more bounces. Keep your subscriber list clean by removing hard bounces as soon as possible. Email hygiene is imperative to the long-term success of your email marketing efforts.

Have your list cleansed through a professional service to remove known bounces and spam traps. Spam traps are especially harmful to your online reputation and removing them will help keep you from being blacklisted.

Remove Unengaged Subscribers

Remove email addresses from your database that haven’t produced engagement (clicked or opened) in the past 6 months. You may decide to follow-up on these emails with a re-engagement campaign in the future, but don’t continue sending them regular emails.

Remove Unsubscribes

Your reputation at risk when you continue to send emails to a prospect that has already asked to be removed. It is critical that you remove these emails immediately to comply with CAN-SPAM requirements.

Filter Out Certain Domains and Addresses

Consider filtering out certain domains if they have caused delivery problems in the past. Some domains (.gov, .biz, .edu, .mil, etc…) can be more problematic than others. Don’t mail to any address with ‘Postmaster’, ‘Info’, etc.

Keeping your customer data clean and up-to-date can seem daunting. However, it has never been more critical for email deliverability. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) do their best to protect clients from unwanted emails and spam. These ISPs determine whether your email ever makes it to the intended inbox. Email hygiene is imperative to the long-term success of your email marketing efforts.

Ready to take your email marketing to the next level with marketing automation? Contact Lori at 877.447.0134 or

Email Marketing Priorities for 2020 [Report]

Email Subject Line with Name Boost Clicks

Email Personalization

Interested in breaking through inbox clutter?

Put the person’s name in the subject line. That tactic will boost clicks even when the content is “not particularly informative,” according to research conducted by a team of academics, as summarized by the Chicago Booth Review. The research was conducted by Stanford University’s Navdeep S. Sahni and S. Christian Wheeler and Chicago Booth’s Pradeep K. Chintagunta.

That team tested emails from a major online test-preparation company, MercadoLibre, a Latin American online marketplace, and Stanford University. They split the emails between those personalized with the person’s name in the subject line and those that were not.

It’s not clear whether this personalization consisted of first names, last names, nicknames and suffixes. Here are the results:

  • Putting the name in increased the probability of the addressee opening the email by 20 percent, from about 9 percent to about 11 percent of emails, Chicago Booth Review reports.
  • In addition, this maneuver drove a 30% boost in sales leads valued at $100 apiece. And there was a 17% decrease in unsubscribes.
  • This practice also boosted engagement for MercadoLibre and Stanford.
  • One caveat: Discounts only worked when the email was personalized.
  • Another caveat: These findings are not necessarily supported by other research. For example, a InMoment study found that 75% of consumers find most forms of personalization at least somewhat creepy.
    – 22% will dump a brand after being creeped out.
    – Adobe reports that almost one-fifth of consumers are turned off by the creep factor, a pertinent finding in an age when people are afraid of phishing attacks and identity theft.
  • For 33%, annoyance builds when recommended items fail to match the person’s interests. And 17% are irritated when their name is misspelled.
  • When asked how they would change the emails they get from brands, 39% said they would make them less about promotion and more about providing me information. Moreover, 27% say they want content that’s better personalized to their interests.

These studies suggest that effective personalization starts with sending relevant offers based on past behaviors — and with being informative.

People want to feel important and valued. It’s frustrating to receive batch-and-blast emails that haven’t been personalized based on the recipient’s habits or interactions with you.

Our investigation of the mechanism shows that personalized content can be non-informative, but still be valuable in garnering a consumer’s interest and increasing the likelihood of her processing and responding to the rest of the advertising message, per Chicago Booth Review.

Are you personalizing your emails? To learn how, contact Lori at 877.447.0134, x111 or

Email Marketing Priorities for 2020 [Report]

Why Targeted Emails are Better Than Email Blasts

Email Marketing
Email marketing is a tried-and-true digital channel that marketers across all industries are using to reach and engage their audience.

  • For every dollar spent on email marketing, the average return on investment across industries is between $38 and $45.
  • 95% of those who opt into email messages from brands find these messages somewhat or very useful.
  • 68% of marketers believe email is core to their business.

According to a survey from Radicati Group conducted earlier this year, roughly 281.1 billion emails will be sent and received daily in 2018.

Total Emails Sent and Received Daily Worldwide, 2017-2022 (billions and % change)

That figure includes both business and consumer emails.

Many marketers still believe that the more emails they send, the more revenue they will make. The problem is that it’s easier to continue to rely on what has worked in the past. Marketers need to recognize the responsibility of having access to a person’s inbox and send their subscribers more relevant and timely messages.

An email strategy focused on personalized, data-driven email can be more difficult and more expensive, but it will help increase deliverability and engagement, reduce churn rates, and boost revenue.

Is your email marketing strategy delivering the results you want? To learn more, contact Lori at 877.447.0134, x111 or

Email Marketing Priorities for 2020 [Report]

Most Effective Email List Growth Tactics [survey]

Email List Growth Tactics
Roughly three-quarters of marketers, sales and business professionals around the world report that their email lists are growing, but for the vast majority of those (61% of respondents overall), that growth is slow. List growth is one of the top email marketing objectives for the year ahead, per the latest survey findings from Ascend2 and its Research Partners.

Email List Growth
Almost half – 48% – of the respondents to the survey said that increasing their email list size is one of their most important objectives, ranking as the third-leading priority.

Unsubscribe rates are the least challenging obstacle to list growth success in the minds of the survey respondents. Instead, creating valuable and relevant content (44%) and list growth expertise (43%) are the most commonly-cited hindrances, with email list hygiene/accuracy (40%) and strategy effectiveness (39%) also prominent concerns. While list hygiene is a top-cited challenge, few respondents indicated that improvement in this area is a top objective for their strategy in the year ahead. That may be the result of respondents associating this with list growth and conversions, which are more highly-ranked strategic priorities.

Asked which of 8 tactics are most effective for email list growth purposes, website access and content downloads occupied the top tier of tactics, cited by 43% and 42% of respondents, respectively. (About 7 in 10 respondents are from B2B companies, which may be more likely to use form registration tactics.) The perceived effectiveness of these tactics may not only reflect today’s near-ubiquity of a digital presence (as opposed to call center or in-store capture), but may also be a function of their ease. Few respondents indicated that gated content such as website access (16%) and content downloads (22%) are among their most difficult list growth tactics to execute, at least relative to tactics such as social media sharing (40%) or paid search campaigns (39%).

It’s worth noting that, at least in the B2C space, email subscribers who implicitly opt-in to lists (in order to complete an action or access content) behave somewhat differently to those who explicitly opt-in, according to a MarketingCharts study, Why Consumers Open Brand Emails. Implicit opt-ins tend to be less engaged with the brands that send them emails, while requiring more relevant subject lines to pique their interest.

Per the Ascend2 study, two-thirds of respondents indicated that list growth is “very important” to the overall success of their marketing program, with another 29% indicating this to be “somewhat important.” The somewhat slow growth of those lists may be why respondents are only cautiously confident in the success of their email marketing programs. Respondents were 4 times more likely to say their email strategies are “somewhat successful” (56%) as they were to call them “very successful” (14%) in meeting their most important objectives.

As for those most important objectives? Increasing conversion rates (57%) topped the list, followed by improved lead generation (51%) and list growth (48%).

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 251 marketers, salespeople and business professionals around the world. 71% identify their primary marketing/sales channel as B2B, and 55% come from companies with fewer than 55 employees.

What are you doing to increase your email list? To learn the most effective methods call 877.447.0134 now.