New research indicates that while email still remains a vital platform for the marketing mix, its impact as a standalone channel is dwindling. While over two-thirds of businesses concur that it complements inbound marketing channels, a marked drop in lead rates from email-only outreach has been observed. In a striking transition, multi-channel outbound marketing has demonstrated significant growth, underpinning the necessity of a diversified outreach strategy.
These insights were produced by a comprehensive study, the State of Prospecting 2024, conducted by sales technology firm Sopro. The report provides a robust picture of current marketing trends by aggregating data from over 75.2 million emails and the professional perspectives of over 350 sales and marketing professionals.
Despite witnessing a fall in success rates for email-only outreach by 22% within a year (2023-2024), email remains the preferred choice of communication for 67% of buyers. However, as businesses grapple to hold the attention of prospects, the volume of marketing emails experienced a growth of 49%.
Another vital revelation from this report states that B2B purchases are no longer single-handed decisions. An average of four stakeholders are now a part of this process, which is an increase from 3.6 in 2023. Additionally, for 11% of companies, this number even extends to between six and nine people.
Speaking on these evolving scenarios, Ryan Welmans, CEO and Co-Founder at Sopro, shared, "It is clearly a tough environment for businesses and marketing professionals, with increased competition and stricter regulations on the way, against a constantly evolving economic backdrop. But this also presents an opportunity for those who have the knowledge and tools to follow best practice and stand out from the crowd."
Welmans also shed light on the importance of personalisation in emails, saying, "When combining expertise with new tools, in particular, AI, businesses can offer recipients real personalisation that goes beyond email, and that can be maximised across all relevant channels."
The study's findings highlighted the top three B2B marketing challenges, which were generating leads, ensuring lead quality, and creating quality content. Conversely, the survey found a surprising observation that 18% of people would welcome communication via post, indicating a resurgence of interest in direct mail for intelligent prospecting.
Also notable was the data suggesting that gifting could improve lead quality by 36.1%. Branded merchandise emerged as the most successful gift at 49%, followed by drinks at 44%. The least popular gift option was tree planting, with 45% of respondents not redeeming it.
As businesses prepare for new email-sending regulations, set to be enforced by Google and Yahoo in February 2024, this survey provides a timely guide for sales and marketing professionals. The regulations that target excessive spam will apply to those who send over 5,000 emails daily, underscoring the importance of varied marketing strategies.