I believe that benchmarking the maturity of digital marketing capabilities is an essential approach for businesses who are serious about making the most of opportunities from digital communications and channels.

Benchmarking of email marketing maturity is particularly valuable since email is a key sales driver for many businesses. Yet research shows, again-and-again, that businesses struggle to use it to its full potential. Marketers know that sending relevant, personalised emails to subscribers will get the best response, but as this report shows, the core techniques to deliver relevant emails like segmentation, data-driven targeting, progressive profiling, behavioural emails and dynamic content tend to be used by a select few at the highest levels of capability.

The power of benchmarking maturity is in its ability to give an objective evaluation of your current use of best practices and identifies the gap between where you need to be and where you should be. You can then demonstrate to colleagues the gap and make the case for change and resource to take your marketing to the next level.

One finding within Pure360’s recent research that I found particularly interesting is that marketers who are more advanced in three key areas: data, automation and proactive campaigns, see an increase in email marketing results of 20%. This opportunity isn’t being grasped by marketers due to the challenges they are facing in reduced resources and increased responsibilities, but really these should remain at the top of marketer’s priority list.

Additionally it appears that there are many barriers to improving the maturity of email marketing including lack of resources within Marketing (31% mentioned), lack of support from IT (31%) and data integration (26%). In my experience, the best way to break down the barriers is to get different teams to participate to agree a clear customer communications strategy to improve subscriber engagement over the whole customer lifecycle.

Benchmark audits are quantitative, but there are often human, organisational and cultural reasons behind lack of adoption of more advanced email marketing techniques. So in this report it’s good to see this acknowledged with the research-based ‘pen portraits’ of different types of email marketers. Which ones do you most closely fit? Once you see where you fit, use the insights from this research to see how you can improve.

I know my belief in the power of benchmarking is shared by Pure360 in their practices. I know through collaborating with them to review their approach to maturity assessment that it’s at the heart of their strategy and approach, particularly for their Account Managers who continually work with clients to review and improve their use of email marketing, using the insights available in their platform to drive best in class results.

All the best for taking your email marketing to the next level!

Dr Dave Chaffey
Co-founder, CEO of Smart Insights

Download the Pure360 Email Maturity Benchmarking report here, or read more of Dave’s recommendations for using benchmarking in digital marketing here.