Many Retail Marketers Expect to Boost Investment in E-Mail Initiatives in 2017

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CHICAGO—A recent survey of retail marketers found that improving customer engagement is one of their highest priorities in 2017, and a larger investment in both e-mail and social media channels are the tactics they intend to use to meet their goal of enhancing engagement with customers/patients.

The findings in the survey, conducted by Yes Lifecycle Marketing, are based on interviews with more than 300 executives from late last year. Respondents were asked to identify their top objectives for 2017 and, as expected, the responses were: to increase sales, improve customer engagement and improve customer acquisition. The marketing channels the respondents cited as those they most likely will use to support these goals were: e-mail (68 percent) and social media (54 percent).

“Offline initiatives such as telemarketing and direct mail rank low on the list,” according to The 2017 Yes Lifecycle Marketing Channel Report. The report can be downloaded here.

Another area where brands see value is via integrating digital and offline to gain “a consistent view of the customer and offer an improved experience,” the report noted. “Many will implement cross-channel marketing strategies in the year ahead to integrate siloed communication programs. Forty percent say they are looking to implement cross-channel attribution initiatives, followed by test tools for channels and content at 38 percent and a data-fed, consistent view of the customer at 35 percent.”

Most retail marketers already use tactics such as social media share buttons and video to engage with customers, the report noted. But tactics such as dynamic offers and user-generated content are not as prevalent, according to the report, although some respondents expressed interest in implementing these technologies.

In a rundown of key takeaways, the report noted that “e-mail remains and will continue to be a tried and true method of customer communication. With social and display rounding out the top three channels to receive an increase in attention and/or budget from marketers, brands are understanding the need to present relevant customer experiences across these channels in order to increase engagement.”

The findings in the report are based upon Yes Lifecycle Marketing’s survey of more than 300 professionals at the National Retail Federation’s Shop.org Digital Summit in September 2016, and a second round of online surveys in October of 2016. Among the respondents, 58 percent identified themselves as either a “manager” or a “director” of a brand.