The Once and Future King of Marketing


Email remains the most effective commercial channel

According to the fifth national email survey by Spotler (article in link available in Dutch only), Dutch consumers prefer to get the news and special offers from their favourite brands and stores by email. Advertising on social media or targeted adverts on websites is much less appreciated. This makes email the most effective channel for marketing. Despite the promises of ever more accurate targeting, most people are annoyed by adverts on Facebook or WhatsApp. Social media are used for entertainment and keeping in touch with friends and family. Social Advertising is perceived as intrusive. Despite the promises of evermore accurate targeting, most people are annoyed by adverts on Facebook or WhatsApp. Social media are used for entertainment and keeping in touch with friends and family. Social Advertising is perceived as intrusive. Retargeting, showing people adverts for recently viewed products on unrelated websites, is also counterproductive. Every regular internet user has an idea how this works by now, having googled it after they were relentlessly pursued by adverts for stuff they already bought or trips they already booked. This marketing method should be used only sparingly and very carefully.

The advantages of email

Spotler questioned 2029 Dutch people of all age groups. The majority was happy to receive commercial emails. The yearly Twinkle 100, ranking e-commerce in the Netherlands, seems to confirm that. Website traffic originating from emails mostly outranks that from social media in the published figures for the top ranking companies. Most of those questioned prefer email when it comes to official communications from government agencies, banks, insurers and utility companies. But they also like to receive newsletters and offers from their favourite shops and brands. Email is very suitable for this purpose because the recipient is in control over when and where to read the message. It’s not as intrusive as personalised advertising on websites or Facebook, and it’s easy to unsubscribe. 93% of Dutch consumers are subscribed to at least one newsletter, 85% has subscribed to a new newsletter in the past year and 75% has made a purchase in connection with an email. These numbers suggest that email is still the most effective marketing instrument. Most people read their emails on a smartphone and check their inbox 1 to 6 times a day. Conversion from email is getting even easier and more cost-effective with new methods of paying and even buying directly from emails, that are being developed right now. Email is the ideal way to inform and tempt your customer if you make sure you are compliant with the GDPR.

Beyond email: the complete customer journey

Despite all of the above, email only no longer suffices if you want to accompany your customers on their whole journey with your brand or organisation. Use the channel that is best suited for every touchpoint. This can be email, SMS, push notifications in an app or customer service via social media.

Social media for customer service

If used correctly, customer service through social media can significantly enhance customer experience. Questions and complaints can be dealt with much quicker on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp. All you need is a dedicated social media team, equipped with the right tools. They need access to all the significant data about your customers, your products and FAQs and common complaints. Also: be clear about business hours and the time it will take to solve an issue. Transparency is everything. Remember that dissatisfied customers can and will use social media to vent about disappointing or bad service. Happy customers will just as easily become ambassadors for your brand.


Another interesting development is the use of apps by commercial enterprises. Apps are popular with department stores, fashion and sports brands and vendors of food and beauty products. There can be multiple touchpoints within apps. Loyalty programs, for instance, or push notifications for personalised offers, based on the customer’s location. The best Marketing Automation platforms make it easy to integrate apps into your customer journey.

The integrated customer journey

To conclude: Email remains a key channel to build a relationship with your customer, but it isn’t enough. The king needs a loyal cabinet of experts in different channels. It is certainly worthwhile to look into a Marketing Automation platform that can be adapted and extended according to the growing demands of your business or organisation. Curious about how a Marketing Automation platform can add value to your enterprise? Feel free to contact us.  

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