To date, few researchers have drawn a direct correlation between the rise of social and email marketers’ woes. That, however, is not keeping those marketers from developing social strategies.
Take Constant Contact, which is seeking to put more social spin on its core email and CRM platforms with the help of Fanplayr. A self-described “gamification” specialist, Fanplayr will add gaming and social media layers to Constant Contact’s campaigns.
“These tools are all proven to help small businesses win customers and build successful relationships with them,” said Rick Jensen, senior vice president and chief sales and marketing officer at Constant Contact.
Last year, the company bought BantamLive, which it used to launch a new effort in January to help small businesses run social marketing campaigns on Facebook.
In addition, the company has been seeking ways to exploit its presence in local organizations to move beyond e-mail lists. Earlier this year, it acquired mobile loyalty platform CardStar, Inc. CardStar offers an app that aggregates loyalty card numbers for easier in-store use. It had more than 2 million active users at the time of the deal.
Also this year, Constant Contact bought MobManager, which helps businesses handle the back-end administration of daily deals, and eventually launched SaveLocal — its push into the coupon market.
The Waltham-based company reported $214 million in revenue in 2011, the vast majority of which came from its core business of running the back end for group e-mails.
Despite the rise of social networks and texting, marketers still rely on email as a highly engaging and measurable way to target consumers. Recent research, however, has suggested that the channel is rapidly deteriorating from increased ISP filtering, sinking sender reputations and inbox overload.
As a result, for the first time in three years, inbox placement rates (IPR) declined 6% during the second half of 2011, according to a recent report from email and reputation management firm Return Path.
Worldwide, that brought inbox placement rates to a record low of 76.5% — compared to 81% in the first half of 2011. Historically, IPR have remained steady at around 80%, with one in five marketing emails blocked, or delivered to consumers’ spam folders.
Matt Blumberg, CEO of Return Path, blamed the rapid decline in IPR on what he called a “perfect storm.” He said “clients are having difficulty in getting their emails delivered, ISPs are tightening requirements on reputation metrics and the number of companies using email to market continues to increase.”