(This post originally appeared on Forbes)
One of my pet peeves is when I ask a company what their CRM application is and they say something like “Constant Contact.”
With all due respect, Constant Contact is a great e-mail marketing platform. But it is not a CRM application. Your CRM application is a database. E-marketing platforms like Constant Contact are not. Your CRM system is where you store all of the information about your customers, prospects and community. You segregate and target that data. Then you send it over to your email service application.
You do all of this because when it comes to marketing, email still rules. Don’t believe me? Then just take a look at three recent studies.
The first, a just-released survey of more than 200 marketers at major North American brands in June 2019 from marketing agency Merkle found that 68 percent of marketers identified email addresses as their highest priority customer data type to acquire and 78 percent of respondents deliver personalized experiences in email using customer data. In addition, 52 percent of those same marketers said that email remains their most valuable marketing channel not only for gaining new customers but for retaining existing ones.
In another recent study, Ignite Visibility, a search engine marketing company, found that small businesses with revenues of $10 million to $20 million invested more on email than any other marketing tool. Why? Because according to its more than 300 respondents email is first in return on investment. Interestingly, about 44 percent of those in that category said they spend only between $5,000 to $15,000 on email annually.
Finally, it seems that email is also hit in the financial services industry. That’s the conclusion from ad platform Dianomi. The company – and financial services marketing company Gramercy Institute – polled over a hundred senior financial marketers and found that more than a third planned to increase their spending on email marketing in 2020, putting that channel only second to paid search. Overall, financial brands will increase their marketing spend by about 10 percent next year.
The takeaway is clear: email remains one of the most important forms of marketing for businesses and brands. But just remember: CRM is not email. Use your CRM system to collect, store and ensure that it is the best data possible. But then make sure to integrate it with a quality email service platform whose responsibility is to deliver your messages.