Pardot Survey Finds That Nearly 70% of B2B Marketers Aren’t Using Email Marketing as Their Primary Lead Generation Tool

Email marketing, while still a prominent marketing tool, is most effective today as a nurturing platform than for acquiring leads, according to research conducted by Pardot, the leading provider of marketing automation for small and mid-sized businesses. Pardot conducted an online survey in June of 2012 to determine the role of email in B2B marketing strategies. The survey covered topics ranging from email marketing best practices to usage and testing, and was completed by more than 100 anonymous B2B marketers in the United States.

Usage Trends

A majority of B2B companies (65%) allocate less than 25% of their budgets to email marketing, while only 9% are devoting more than 50% of their budgets to email efforts. The survey also indicated that 70% of B2B marketers do not consider email marketing to be a primary lead generation tactic.

“Instead of using email, most marketers are using a variety of other lead generation tactics to get that initial prospect information into their systems,” explains Adam Blitzer, co-founder and COO of Pardot. “Email marketing is then used to move new leads through the sales process or to re-engage dormant leads.”

Yet email still has a role in marketing campaigns:

  • More than 60% of B2B marketers are using email for drip nurturing.
  • Of those, 65% are using targeted messaging, by changing which emails are sent based on how a prospect responds.

“The fact that email is being used more for drip nurturing than lead generation isn’t that surprising,” said Blitzer. “We’re moving into an age that places more emphasis on communicating through various channels. While companies are still using email, they’re also using landing pages, forms, social media, paid search ads, and more to generate leads.”

Finding What Works

Creating successful email campaigns requires trial and error and many B2B marketers rely on testing to improve their campaigns. According to the survey, 58% of respondents test to see what type of content results in the best click-through-rates; 57% test for a correlation between subject lines and open rates; and 46% test to see how open rates are affected by time of day.

Marketers report the following trends:

  • 44% of respondents agree that sending emails on Tuesday results in better open rates.
  • 53% have had the most success sending emails between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m.
  • 53% say that Friday is the worst day for email open rates.
  • The most effective offer to include in an email is an invitation to a webinar.
  • White papers are the second-most effective when it comes to generating responses, followed by case studies.
  • Less-popular content includes freebies, discounted services, limited time offers, and personal, text-based emails.

While testing to improve response rates is popular, fewer marketers are conducting deliverability testing. Only 33% are doing SPAM analysis prior to email deployment, indicating that perhaps results could improve if more marketers checked content against major SPAM tools. In addition, only 25% of marketers test their emails for accurate mobile rendering.

“As email marketing tools become more powerful, we expect to see a greater focus on personalization, smarter segmentation, and an increase in the use of email metrics,” remarked Blitzer.

About Pardot

Pardot is a B2B cloud marketing automation software provider that increases revenue and maximizes efficiency for companies with multi-touch sales cycles. Pardot’s platform features CRM integration, email marketing, lead nurturing, lead scoring and ROI reporting to help marketing and sales teams work together to generate and qualify sales leads, shorten sales cycles, and demonstrate marketing accountability. Pardot offers affordable pricing for the SMB market.