Survey: E-Mail Associations’ Preferred Marketing Channel

A new survey by the Association Research Board reveals associations favor email over other marketing channels, including direct mail, telemarketing, and social media.

In addition to a reluctance to capitalize on other channels, the survey shows associations have a fondness for “DIY” marketing.

The findings are based on Quarter 1 2017 poll completed by 100 association executives.

The survey found that 62% of associations rely on email to market products and services. Only 27% use direct mail; and only 12% use telemarketing.

The survey also found that 18% of associations use some additional channels to market products and services, including social media and face-to-face.

In addition, the survey revealed that associations are over-reliant on their “house lists.” Only 25% ever rent or buy outside lists; 75% never do.

Associations, in addition, essentially practice “DIY marketing.”

The survey found that 47% of associations do not outsource any marketing services. Fewer than 10% outsource marketing research, marketing strategy, list management, email marketing, telemarketing, digital advertising, or social media. Only 38% outsource creative services and graphic design; and 16% outsource direct mail.

Associations are missing out, big league.

Low inbox rates, dismal email response, and over-digitalized members are only half the problem associations face. The other half is "list fatigue."

If you’re not constantly augmenting your list with fresh names, you’re not going to grow. And if you’re not growing, you’re probably shrinking.

Associations’ problems are compounded by a dependence on staff for marketing.

Staff may understand members’ needs and preferences, but they’re apt to be close-minded toward marketing channels they haven’t tried—despite the declining performance of email.

We live in different times.

Maybe it’s time to try something different.

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