According to a new study from cross-channel comms firm Yes Lifecycle Marketing, 89 percent of marketers listed email as one of their top three priorities in 2018—indicating that email marketing continues to be a staple even as other channels like social media and mobile apps mature.

The report further found that nearly half (45 percent) of marketers ranked email as their top priority for 2018, most likely due to the proven ROI of marketing on a well-established channel. Website was a distant second, with only 24 percent of marketers ranking it as their top priority.

However, marketers are keeping an eye on other digital channels

Seventy-one percent rank website and 56 percent rank social media channels as one of their top three priorities in 2018, respectively. Comparatively, only 27 percent and 17 percent of marketers included channels like push notifications and direct mail, respectively, in their top three priorities for 2018.

90% of marketers say email is a top 2018 priority

“Email continues to be the cornerstone of customer communications, as marketers are continuing to see a strong ROI by using it in strategic and innovative ways,” said Michael Fisher, president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing, in a news release. “While marketers are certainly on the right track with engagement on digital channels, they must be vigilant about the preferences of their customer base and make sure they’re tailoring their strategies generationally. While the popularity of e-commerce continues to surge, the in-store experience is still top-of-mind for most consumers.”

According to Yes Lifecycle Marketing’s consumer preference study released earlier this year, the majority of consumers across all generations (81 percent) rank the in-store experience as influential, yet this new report shows only 9 percent of marketers will prioritize this channel in 2018, and only 2 percent ranked it as their top priority. This discrepancy indicates an opportunity for marketers to bring digital in-store.

90% of marketers say email is a top 2018 priority

“The modern marketer is faced with an eye-popping number of channels and options for reaching their customer base, and this data shows that their priorities don’t always match up with those of consumers,” said Michael Iaccarino, CEO and chairman of Infogroup, parent company of Yes Lifecycle Marketing. “To make sure they’re on the right track with their current and future plans, marketers need a partner who can help them understand their customer data and correctly leverage it to target generationally.”

Additional findings from the report include:

  • Only 14 percent of marketers reported social as a top priority in 2018, indicating that they’re not seeing the ROI on this channel overall.
  • Nearly half of marketers (45 percent) whose target audience is largely made up of millennials or centennials say social media is the most influential channel for those generations, indicating that marketers understand the utility of social for marketing to younger consumers.
  • Forty-four percent of marketers say they need technology innovations to help them improve their marketing communications, demonstrating that many marketers currently feel ill-equipped with the platforms and software they’re currently using.

Download the full report here.

90% of marketers say email is a top 2018 priority

For the report, “A Blueprint for Using Audience Insights to Inform Marketing Communication Strategies,” Yes surveyed over 300 marketers online and at Shop.org, the National Retail Federation’s annual digital retail conference, to uncover their priorities for the new year.

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