Email marketing is one of the earliest ways of using the Internet to reach out to customers and bring a brand’s message effectively to the people. While the stigma is still serious, opt in mailing has been growing, particularly in the last 12 months.
However, a recent report by comScore showed that in the last 12 months, the total minutes spent on web based email in India has been on the decline. In fact, the measurement company reports that time spent on web-based email has gone down by 19 per cent from November 2009 to November 2010.
This does not take into account email applications like Outlook, or mobile devices. However, despite the large downward trend reported by comScore, email marketers say that the sector is booming, going through a spurt like never before.
Samarth Saxena, Founder and COO, Octane Marketing, also said that the email marketing business in India had been growing. He said, “We have seen a double upsurge in targeted email marketing with opt-in techniques, and things generally are very positive.”
The growing penetration of mobile devices and increase in mobile Internet accounts for the change in usage patterns, the experts say, but does email marketing have to change in turn to work effectively? Email has to factor in mobile phones, images and formatting have to be completely different. Email marketers new devices for the future, but they aren’t a threat to the way email advertising works right now.
Saxena added here, “In our experience, email access using mobile has been growing at a fast pace in India. A lot of our client campaigns are accessed on mobile devices, so this data is directionally aligned to our observations in the marketplace. The increase in smartphone usage in India, with availability at starting price as low as Rs 2,500 means that the users can engage with richer communication and content. They can access HTML emails and updates from brands they like. This was earlier possible only on select mobile devices and PCs. In our view, this category of smartphone users holds enormous potential for Indian marketers.” He stressed that a clear focus on new technology was essential for any company operating in the dynamic digital space.
It’s clear that the digital space is one where everyone has to be prepared for change, but while there is a clear trend towards email use in India, it’s also clear that at this stage, it’s too soon to change the way email marketing works. And over the next few years, as the numbers shift to make it imperative to target tablets and smartphones, the devices in turn are likely to be significantly different from what we see today, with large screens and interactive media experiences being in the reach of most consumers.