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ascend2-most-effective-difficult-email-personalization-tactics-sept2016Email is perceived to be the most effective digital tactic available to marketers today, and marketers are confident in the relative success of their strategies. However, according to a new study [download page] from Ascend2 and its Research Partners, some strategic goals are easier to achieve than others.

The most important goal of the email strategies is to increase engagement rate, cited by a majority of the 257 B2B and B2C respondents to the Ascend2 survey. However struggles with engagement rates also emerge as one of the biggest obstacles to success, second only to enriching contact data quality, which is a lesser goal for the marketers surveyed.

With this in mind, it’s instructive to look at marketers’ perceptions of the most effective personalization tactics used for email marketing purposes, as email personalization is considered to be very effective and a leading way to increase subscriber interactions. Indeed, data supports the notion that personalization boosts email engagement, though not all research supports that conclusion.

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Nevertheless, when it comes to email personalization, list segmentation (51%) and individualized email messaging (50%) are considered to be the most effective tactics for email marketing, according to the Ascend2 survey respondents. These tactics are primarily concerned with relevance, which has long been viewed as the primary driver of greater engagement.

Behavior-triggered emails (45%) are close behind list segmentation and individualized messages in the Ascend2 survey, a finding that makes sense given recent benchmarks demonstrating that triggered campaigns enjoy response rates far higher than business-as-usual emails.

Once again, some of these tactics are easier to executive than others, though. Individualized email messaging and behavior-triggered emails, while effective, are among the most difficult of the 7 tactics identified in the survey, per its respondents. Email list segmentation, by comparison, is considered difficult by far fewer respondents, and appears to hold the most promise. While most marketers are likely already segmenting their lists to at least some degree, recent research shows that better segmentation and targeting is a top priority for email marketers this year.

Marketers may do well to turn to one of the least important goals identified in the study: enriching contact data quality. This is their most significant barrier, but success in this area can lead to more effective targeting and personalization. On a positive note, it’s worth mentioning that marketers’ efforts seem to be working: almost 9 in 10 respondents said their email marketing’s effectiveness is on the rise.

About the Data: The Ascend2 data is based on a global survey of 257 marketing influencers, three-quarters of whom are from companies with at least 50 employees. Around half (51%) identified B2B as their primary marketing channel, with 32% primarily B2C marketers and the remaining 17% equally B2B and B2C.

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