Email marketing: the future of precise and personalized marketing?

What is the first thing you usually do when you wake up every morning? Brush your teeth? Make Coffee? Or for some people, check emails through smartphones.

The truth is that checking emails many times per day has become a regular habit or compulsion for most modern people. Marketers also see potentials in the field of email marketing and harness the emails as an effective way to increase sales volumes, brand engagement and brand loyalty. A report from analyst firm Forrester predicted that, by 2014, companies will spend over $2 billion on email marketing in the U.S.



However, with the rise of marketing techniques like social media and mobile marketing, is old-fashioned email marketing still booming as before? If so, what are the trends driving the future of email marketing?

I want to share my personal experiences of two recent email marketing. Yesterday, when I checked my emails, I was surprised to find an email with my name on the subject line. It turns out to be an upcoming concert alert of Katy Perry from since they know Katy Perry is my favorite singers based on my interest profiles. By analyzing the collected customer databases, marketers can target emails based on demographic, preference and seasonal trend, such as holiday suggestions, useful tips, and also gift recommendation.

The second email I received is from Sephora, including a 10% off promotion code on the next purchase as a reward for my recent purchase. It offered me a sense of loyalty and commitment to the brand. According to research conduct by, 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email. In most cases, Promotional emails usually have higher open rates and click-through rates among the numerous inbox emails since consumers are more tolerant for special offers. Further, consumers are more likely to be in a buying frame of mind through emails rather than social media because emails are more suitable channels for business relationship and communications.



From the case, I know customization and precise information are two key principles of successful email marketing. It is important for marketers to devise email marketing strategies based on the understanding of consumers’ demands and preferences. Overwhelmed by spams and inbox overload, contemporary consumers are pickier about which types of message are worthy of time and attention. If the promotional emails are irrelevant, unfocused or annoying, consumers tend to immediately delete emails or even permanently unsubscribe from the email lists. The segmentation and details determine the success.


(Source: http://

In my opinion, as technology continues to evolve, email marketing still remains the dominant role in the marketing mix and has extended to the mobile platform. Social media will never replace but complement the email marketing..A comprehensive marketing communication strategy should integrate the traditional email marketing and the cutting-edge social media marketing. The incorporation of social media in email marketing campaign can greatly drive quality engagement and get the information across on different platforms.Cooperation is the future.

Is email marketing dead or alive in today’s marketing landscape?  Share your personal experience of promotional emails with us.


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2 Responses to Email marketing: the future of precise and personalized marketing?

  1. Fangya Li says:

    The first thing I do in the morning everyday is definitely checking my emails. I have a couple of different email accounts for different purposes: Hotmail for online shopping, Gmail for study and work, and USC email account. I have to check each of them to see if there is any new message waiting for my responses.
    Sometimes, I do get annoyed by some promotional emails. Some companies keep sending me one to two promotional emails each day, and the emails are all quite similar. I think what you’ve mentioned in the paper is quite true, customization and precise information are important for successful email marketing. But I think, in addition, email frequency is also an important factor. More is not always better. Too many emails will generate more unsubscribes. The optimal send frequency actually varies by user based on their expectations for the content. I think marketers should first consider their own cases and conduct researches if possible, and then determine what are the optimal send frequencies.

    • Wenjing Tang says:

      Thank you Wan. I like your topic.
      First, I do think that Fangya makes good point. The optimal frequency is important. In fact, I had been suffering for excessive ads and promotional codes that were sent to my account. My solution at last was setting up a special email account to receive all similar online commercials. I did not frequently check that account and everytime I logged in, I always found there were hundred unread emails. The huge number just made me least interested in opening anything…
      Second, I just recalled the mechanism of email campaign. As Cialdini(2009) defines, the email campaign is one of the most typical reciprocity strategies that used to sell goods. Researches have shown that once consumers receive free gifts, special offers or exclusive deals; consumers feel indebted and reciprocate by complying with requests.