Recently marketing experts have cited significant changes in the email marketing sector. From its role as a unique and specialized medium for marketing communications, emails have evolved to become an integral part of marketing campaigns across industries in about a decade and a half. Some of the factors that are contributing to the evolution of both email marketing and those that provide email marketing services are as follows:
The industry has grown so much and an astounding number of options are available to customers when it comes to email solutions. A wide range of service providers, including ill-defined categories, such as email service providers, email marketing companies and email list providers, among others, are operating in the market now. Whereas some of them offer services for free, some others charge thousands of dollars on a monthly basis.
Customers may feel that the baseline services offered by all of the email marketing service providers are the same. However, top service providers achieve higher rankings on customer services. So, the challenge as far as 2015 is concerned is how service providers can stand out among equals.
More email service providers are likely to open up shop, offering more services for free. This likely to drive the prices of various services downward. As a myriad of solutions will be available from providers for a common set of problems, customers are more likely to look at the price in order to make their decisions. This will result in them availing services of cheap providers without even looking at the value propositions offered by the top tier companies.
Non-traditional service providers may enter the market and leverage on their existing customer relationships. For example, advertising and marketing agencies would add email marketing services to the existing design and analytics services they offer. Aprimo and Eloqua, marketing automation companies, have already added such services to their CRM platforms.
In addition to the competitive environment within the industry, email services will be challenged by other mediums of communication, especially the social media. Customers will have to devise strategies to incorporate emails as part of their overall marketing plan along with Twitter, Facebook, blogs and LinkedIn, among others. Of course, email is not the same as all these channels. Therefore, customers will have to make tough decisions as far as allocation of resources is concerned, especially in these times when marketing budgets are shrinking.
The aim of enacting CAN-SPAM Act 2003 was to curtail illegal and illegitimate email marketing methods. The act acknowledges email as marketing communications channel, but sets standards for commercial emails. Genuine service providers will have to strive hard to separate themselves from a large number of unscrupulous and fly-by-night operators who have not only entered but also rapped the market.
It is predicted that email marketing will continue to dominate the direct marketing space for one more decade. In the past year, as much as $12 billion was spent on email marketing communications. Further, it is anticipated that spending on email marketing will grow as much as 18.5 percent during the next five years. Additionally, it is widely felt that the threat from the social media sector is not real. In fact, the social media channels are expected to contribute to the growth of email communications. This can be attributed to the successful integration of the different media to maximize the ROI. All these things point towards the fact email marketing is not likely to remain stronger for some more time.