Study: 58% of email marketers say “creating relevant content” key to success

By Egor Gribanov from St. Petersburg, Russia (02 x10K_ IMG_3743) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

In a recent study of B2B email marketers, nearly two-thirds stated that their biggest challenge was creating relevant content for their target audience.

I’m going to take a small leap and say that content-specific problems cover a wider marketing span than just email. If you agree with that premise, then you would also agree that there is a huge chasm between what users want and what brands are delivering them. Let’s examine that further:

Lead-generating content

Here are a few insights from the study:

○ Marketers identified webinars, white papers, and face-to-face events as the best lead-generation tools

○ Marketers are primarily using their organic email lists

○ Only 25% of email marketers are focused on mobile

○ Most email marketers augment campaigns with social media

Email marketers seem to be finding merit to media multiplexity (the idea that affinity is greater the more types of social interaction that one has), and they may be demonstrating that there is a hierarchical structure to which social interactions convert customers best. They are dealing primarily with people who are familiar with their brand. They’re also lagging behind in mobile.

 By ewrdg (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

“Engagement” and Social Care

Extrapolating the content woes and aspirations to general content creation, there is a dissonance between some of the advice that is commonly given, particularly around engagement. Consider this:

An IBM study of social media showed that the highest priority for social consumers are discounts and miscellaneous perks, while a survey of businesses showed these as their lowest priority. One of the great insights from that study is this line:

“Social media is ultimately about interacting with others with an expectation of getting something in return”

The insight from the B2B study about the power of webinars, white papers, and face-to-face events seems to substantiate this. Customers don’t want to randomly engage a brand – they want something meaningful from it. They have “Friends” to have conversations with – they want something else from businesses.

In J.D. Powers recent Social Benchmark study, they conclude that the majority of social customers want Social Care, despite the fact that it a low priority for businesses. This is another example of misaligned priorities.

Of course businesses will aspire to create relevant content for their prospects and customers, but until they start understanding what their customer’s priorities are (deals, tangible benefits, care) there may continue to be a gap between the content that businesses produce and content that drives business.

What do you think? How well are businesses doing at generating content that customers want?


By Egor Gribanov from St. Petersburg, Russia (02 x10K_ IMG_3743) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By ewrdg (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Jim Dougherty

Jim Dougherty

Writer and chief of miscellany at
I'm the guy that wrote the article you just read. Sorry for the typos.


  1. says

    I must agree, Jim!

    Being an email marketer myself, with quite some experience (almost 7 years since 2007, when I started), I have tried many different ways to reach as larger an audience as possible.

    Nothing works better than laser-targeting the correct segment that would
    be interesting in a certain topic. The filtering process starts (or
    normally should, for everybody) from the very beginning, at the
    acquisition process, on the landing (squeeze < I kinda hate that
    word) pages of the lead acquisition funnel.

    It doesn't stop there, though… Even deeper drilling into demographics,
    geo-location, preferences, using carefully 'event triggered' mechanisms in the automation marketing software (autoresponder) is needed to be able to create relevant content for each category.

    Last but not least, gender plays a great role too. Women do not respond
    well to the same 'buttons' as men do, marketing-wise. Ideally, any email
    campaign should be deployed with that in mind and, of course, segmented

    Great article, Jim. Loved it!


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    eMail Tips Daily Newsletter ✉

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