While marketers should be taking advantage of the growing usage of mobile technology as another marketing outlet, a report has revealed that email still remains as the central and most used channel.

The Big Australian Report, Responsys’ study into the digital marketing activities of Australia corporate, show that 100 per cent of marketers are sending emails to customers and members despite the increase use of mobile and social channels.

Also noteworthy is the massive increase in the number of companies using data to understand and segment their customers, ensuring that marketing messages are increasingly targeted and relevant to their audience.

Responsys Asia-Pac Vice President, Simon O’Day, believes the past financial year was a watershed for Australian companies in terms of digital direct marketing.

“As Australian companies face the threat of online sales from overseas, they have woken up to the tactics used by these competitors and sought to implement them here,” he said.

“As a result, capturing and using data to understand the customer has become a priority for most marketing departments. It’s no longer enough to send the same message to all your customers and see if any of them actually care or respond, while other companies are creating genuine relationships through a cross-channel approach.”

The report also found that 77 per cent of large Australian companies are using social networks for lifecycle marketing activities, with 63 per cent “significantly increasing” focus on social, primarily with Facebook and Twitter.

Also, nearly one in three companies is sending mobile messages to customers, primarily alerts such as reminders and confirmations. There was also a 300 per cent increase in the number of emails opened on mobile devices.

For the first time, the majority (62 per cent) of Australian companies are tailoring their campaigns and messages according to preferences or behaviour of their customers.

“Social media has also evolved from experimental to a genuine marketing channel that’s targeted and measurable. This coming year we expect a growing shift from email to cross-channel campaigns that leverage mobile, social and the web. And, segmentation and targeting will continue to be critical to achieving dramatic increases in ROI,” O’Day said.
The study undertaken by Responsys analysed more than one billion emails, mobile and social messages sent by large Australian companies between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2011, as well as results from a survey of 350 enterprise marketers in Australia.