We’re studying email marketing at VB Insight, and we want to share some early data with you. We’re seeing that not only is email the most consistently highest revenue generating marketing channel, but it’s only poised to increase in budget, scope, and importance, particularly as both the platforms and marketers smarten up and start to take advantage of what’s available at nearly any price point.

Among the rich user data we’re collecting, a couple findings are immediately clear:

  1. Email marketers aren’t taking full advantage of the tools at their disposal.
  2. There’s even more revenue to be generated from email as marketers start to embrace more personalization/automation features and craft strategies that target customers through various stages of the funnel.

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Though retail and consumer goods tend to be further along than most industries, we’re still seeing marketers managing large budgets (in the $1 million and up range) fail to master even some of the basics of using email to nurture and monetize customers.

To the data!

email marketing users read emails

We’re seeing this data complements other research, but we took it a step further. Among the features marketers were most disappointed with in this current email era, mobile as a broad category was near the top across the board. Users cited a lack of access and management through mobile, a lack of adequate templates, and substandard design features through mobile.

email marketing track revenue

Our data is showing users reporting an average of 222 percent ROI on their email services. We’ve seen this reflected in previous research. Email plain works — even on the simplest, batch-and-blast level. You put a dollar in, you get x dollars out. So it’s more than just interesting to see marketers reporting a lack of insight and understanding into the revenue generated by emails (and this includes enterprise-class respondents).

email marketing budgets

Email service providers available to marketers today offer some exciting benefits, so it’s no surprise email marketing is poised to increase in depth and breadth across all industries. With better customer data and campaign management more readily available through many email service providers, marketers can better craft authentic and contextual emails. Marketers can better use email as a connective tool to engage customers across multiple channels. Consumers even like receiving promotional emails. This means email — the ultimate opt-in channel — can be thought of as a truly reliable data source for all customer interactions. The marketing identity conundrum (right message, right screen, right person) is effectively solved with a bona fide email marketing platform. But as we’ve seen in the early user data, there’s still a good deal of education needed, regardless of company size and respective budget.


Companies we’re studying range from popular platforms like Constant Contact and MailChimp to upstarts like Customer.io and Iterable, plus many, many more.

We could still use some more data to better shine a light on what’s happening in this industry.

Marketers: If you’re interested in seeing the full, detailed results, take our survey and we’ll share the data with you.