Email Summit 2012: Meeting email marketing challenges


MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2012 kicked off Wednesday, February 8 with Sergio Balegno, Director of Research, MECLABS, and Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director, MECLABS, the parent company of MarketingExperiments.

Sergio emphasized this is a research-based event driven by the 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, featuring W. Jeffrey Rice, Senior Research Analyst, as the lead author. This book is our ninth annual benchmark study.

The benchmark report includes research and insights from 2,735 marketers, and identifies barriers to email marketing success and what marketers are doing to overcome them.

For example, here’s a chart from the report that illustrates email marketing challenges:


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As you can see, email marketers are facing a wide variety of issues at fairly high percentages. Everything from data systems integration to email efficiency comes in at 40%, or higher.

“Challenges to email marketing success are pervasive and growing,” said Sergio.

Flint immediately gave the audience empirical evidence that there are no expert marketers, only experienced testers. He added several slides to his presentation deck showing the result of a recent MarketingExperiments test on a Web clinic email subject line.

Paul Cheney, Junior Editorial Analyst , MECLABS, came up with a Web clinic title based on a style that has worked well in the past, and Flint challenged the model by writing a title that reflected a hypothesis he wanted to test with the audience.

After the test reached validity, Paul sent this email to Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS:


From: Cheney, Paul
Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2012 10:21 AM
To: Burstein, Daniel
Subject: headlines on deadlines


My clinic headline beat Flint’s by 92.2%. Significant.

Thank you,

Paul Cheney


This test perfectly illustrates the value of testing over just applying “best practices” concepts for email elements like subject lines. Or as Flint put it, “There are no expert marketers. There are only experienced testers.”

Here’s another test on email message calls-to-action based on a campaign conducted by a previous Email Summit attendee.

The set up:


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Flint says, “This is the control.” Here is the top of the original email:


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And, here is the bottom of the original email with the call-to-action highlighted:


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This image shows both the old and new calls-to-action. The CTA was the only element of the email that was changed:


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“There’s a difference in the thought sequence,” says Flint.

“In the first, you’re being asked to do something. In the second, you’re being asked to become someone. The second has more value because it connects to your identity.” What difference did this simple change make? Here are the results of the test:


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Related Resources:

Marketing Research Chart: Top email campaign elements routinely tested to optimize performance – Part 1 of 2

Quick Lifts: 4 ideas to increase email clickthrough

Test Your Marketing Intuition: Which email achieved 104% more clicks?

Global Email Marketing: 3-part campaign sent in six languages averages 28% CTR

Email Marketing Research: 7 steps for successful email marketing testing and optimization

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  1. Paul Cheney says

    Easy for Flint to say “There are no expert marketers, only experienced testers.” He lost. 😉

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