CMOs Should Not Take Email for Granted

May 1, 2018 Steve Olenski

Today’s CMO is being pulled in more directions and is asked to do more than they ever have in the history of mankind. Ok, pardon the hyperbole. But it is not hyperbolic to say that chief marketing officers today are under more pressure and scrutiny than they were just a few years ago.

Near the top of every CMO’s list of “Things That Keep Me Up At Night” are anything related to data and customer experience (CX). Hitting their numbers is important too, but that’s implied in this context. Data and CX are chief among the most important things for CMOs today.

And if you want to say data and CX play a major role in the means to an end of hitting their numbers, who I am to argue? Especially when you would be 100% correct.

As for what else is on the mind of a CMO? There are the basic tactical things like mobile, cross-channel, social media, along with the trendy topics such as AI, IoT, and voice marketing.

But email?

When you say the word email to a CMO their first reaction is likely to be something along the lines of “I get too many.” That is a lament many of us would echo, for we all surely get too many emails.

Moreover, this same CMO also realizes that he or she is responsible for some of those same emails that are at the root of this overload. It is even worse if this CMO is the head of marketing for a B2C brand, whose brands tend to send out more emails than their B2B brethren.

Billion With A “B”

Last year, by one account, there were nearly 270 billion emails sent every single day, which is 31% higher than just a few years prior in 2015. Why are there so many emails dispatched every day? When it comes to consumers, it’s because they like them.

Here are some stats to think about as it relates to consumers and emails.

Overall 72% of consumers say email is their preferred method of communication from brands while:

The Word No Email Marketer Wants to Hear

Despite the fact that email has an average ROI of $38 for each $1 spent, there is a dark side to email. It all comes down to one word: Unsubscribe. This is the last word any email marketer ever wants to hear.

There are many reasons why consumers unsubscribe. Here are three of them, according to one study.

  • Too many emails overall (26%)
  • No relevance (21%)
  • Always trying to sell me something (19%)

Obviously you cannot control how many emails someone gets en masse but as a CMO you absolutely can control if an email is germane to the recipient and the message within each email.

The fact is in today’s world with data aplenty, there is no reason whatsoever to send email is that is irrelevant to the recipient. None. And the last time I checked, there is no law stating that every single marketing email that is dispatched must include a sales message. It won’t kill you to send an email that has nothing to do with a direct sale. You may find that these very emails have a bigger impact on sales than the straight-on sales pitch laden emails.

Wrapping Up

As I mentioned, the CMO of today is being asked to take on a lot of different responsibilities and is viewed with more scrutiny from those in the c-suite. That’s a lot of pressure and a lot of eyeballs to contend with.

These same CMOs rely very heavily on their directors of marketing and teams to create and implement successful campaigns. So it can be very easy for a CMO to take for granted something as ubiquitous as email.

Perhaps my ultimate point is for CMOs to really take a look at email performance. And when I say take a look, I mean go beyond the high level KPIs and look at the numbers the way your team looks at them. Find out what’s really going on within the house of email.

With the aforementioned ROI at stake, why wouldn’t you?


About the Author

Steve Olenski

Steve Olenski is a Forbes contributor, CMO Whisperer, writer, content marketer, influencer, advertising/branding guy, screenwriter, idea generator and massive coffee imbiber.

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