The 2014 State of Marketing report issued by Salesforce is the result of a survey of thousands of top digital marketers which provides a unique insight into where online marketing is today and where it seems to be headed. One of the most interesting results was that email marketing continues to lead all other channels, with 88% of all respondents stating that it was their digital marketing organization’s primary area of focus, ahead of social media marketing by ten full points.

97% of all marketers state email is #1

When we add the 9% of respondents who stated that they plan to use email marketing in 2014, we arrive at a staggering 97% of all marketers which is well above any other result. Indeed, so huge is email marketing’s lead as a main area of focus that some of the other scores seem to fade in comparison. After social media marketing with 78%, the next highest scores are SEM/ SEO at 73%, display/banner ads at 64%, social listening at 60%, and social advertising at barely over half at 57%. Some of the least favored strategies include offer management at 32%, personalized web at 29%, guided selling at 27%, and mobile push notifications at a mere 18%.

Most marketers plan to increase email spend

Given this prioritization of email marketing it is also not surprising that the report found that when it came to expectations to increase their marketing budget this year, 58% stated that they were going to be looking forward to a spending increase in their email marketing campaigns, ahead of the 57% for social media marketing, 55% for social advertising, 54% for SEM/SEO, and just 43% for display/banner ads. The resources allocated by online marketers to email is also very significant, with 13% stating that they have more than 5 people on their email team, another 13% stating they have four or five staffers, 46% claiming that two or three people work on email, and just 28% saying that there is just one person dedicated to email.

Conversion rates are the primary goal

When it came to marketing priorities, 47% of respondents stated that driving increased conversion rates was the #1 goal, with a very close second with 46% was the increase and improvement of brand awareness. After these top two with 29% was the collection, measurement and utilization behavior-based data, and one percent behind that with 28% was subscriber acquisition. At 24% improving measurement and results of digital channels was the fifth most claimed goal with sixth place at 22% were the respondents stating that channel expansion, or the addition of new digital marketing channels. The last five places were a statistical dead heat with testing and optimization, and leveraging actionable data at 21%, data acquisition or the improvement and expansion of data collection efforts at 20%, and with a rate of 19% each, organizational alignment or the increase of collaboration between business units, and campaign attribution or the identification of the campaign’s role in sales were the bottom two.

Newsletters are the main lifecycle campaigns

Lifecycle marketing campaigns which were termed to be the most successful are newsletters at 66%, promotional at 61%, and web opt-in at 54%. All of the others scored below 50%, with transactional at 42%, welcome series at 41%, social opt-in at 39%, re-engagement at 37%, loyalty at 36%, and post-purchase at 35%. Bringing up the rear with 24% is win-back, with 23% at browse re-targeting, 22% at mobile opt-in, birthday at 19%, and anniversary at 17%. Not surprisingly, abandoned cart is just at 15%, as it generally indicates a customer who has already given up to some degree.

The annual email send volume is extremely impressive, with 6% stating that they send a staggering more than 100 million missives every year, followed by 3% with between 50 and 100 million, another 3% between 25 and 50 million, and 5% between 10 and 50 million. That makes a total of 17% of all online marketers exceeding 10 million emails a year, or about 200,000 per week! These statistics prove that email remains the digital marketer’s most powerful and effective tool!