Marketo Data Tells Us: Which Industry Has the Best Email Performance?

Marketing Metrics


Just like the saying goes to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, it’s important to keep tabs on what your peers are doing as a good benchmark of your own results. While your email campaigns may be hitting all of your marks, you may want to set your goals higher for 2016 based on how other companies in your space are doing.

After posting my earlier blog around email performance, in which I revealed which types of email perform the best, I received a ton of requests to break it down by industry so marketers can compare the performance of their email campaigns to those of their peers. The numbers are in and the wait is over!

Refresher on Email Types

In case you’ve forgotten the three types of email campaigns, here’s a recap from the original blog post:

  • Batch Emails: Also known as “batch and blast”. These types of emails don’t have any “intelligence” built in. Instead they just gather a list of contacts and send them the same email. A great example of this is your company newsletter—it goes to everyone, no matter what.
  • Nurture Emails: This is a series of targeted emails based on personas (e.g. by industry, role, or use case). Nurture emails are primarily used to lead prospects through the sales funnel and warm up leads for a sales handoff. A nurture email offers something different to a person based on where they are in their buying journey. If they are just learning about you, your nurture email might offer a fun, light infographic versus a buyer who has engaged with you many times and consumed your content might get a webinar invitation to a live demo.
  • Trigger Emails: These are personalized emails that are delivered based on prospect actions. Some range of email “intelligence” is built in based on behavior (think of it as a two-way conversation of listening and speaking). An example of a trigger email would be this: a prospect visits your events webpage and then, based on that activity, receives an email invitation to an event in their area.

Email Performance by Industry

Here’s the email performance for the three types of campaigns across all industries. As you can see below, batch campaigns performed significantly better in Healthcare and Life Sciences and Travel, Recreation, and Leisure. Nurture campaigns, on the other hand, performed the best in Energy, Healthcare and Life Sciences, and Transportation and Storage. Trigger campaigns prospered across several different industries, with the highest average click rate across all types of campaigns.

marketo data by industry

This data represents average click rate for the 3 email types across all industries. Per the legend on the right, the green shades indicate the relative click rate performance (0.2% – 23.5%). Only industries with statistically significant averages are shown above.

What We Learned

This chart speaks for itself, but there are definitely some cool data points that stand out. Here’s my take on why certain email types do better or worse for certain industries. But I’d love to hear from readers of that specific industry (I’m looking at you…) to give their opinion.

1. In General–High Performance Trigger Emails

I know I sound like a broken record, but despite its proven success at Marketo and beyond, there are still plenty of email marketers that don’t realize the potential of trigger emails. So I’m going to say this one last time (no promises)…personalized messages based on behavior are much better than batch and blast. In fact, they’re 3x better on average. They are an important customer touchpoint so spend that extra time and effort to create those triggers campaigns!

2. Energy–The Power of Nurtures

The Energy vertical has the highest nurture email performance of any industry, at a whopping 12.4%! That’s as high as some trigger email metrics. It makes sense if you think about how an energy utility company communicates with their customers. Do you get regular emails around your energy usage, ways to save energy, and updates to policies? Those highly relevant targeted emails are nurture programs at work. Below you’ll see a similar example from a water department.

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3. Travel–Brochures for Everybody!

This one is really interesting. The Travel, Recreation, and Leisure industry has the highest batch rates, but the lowest nurture rates. Their batch programs perform almost 40x better than nurtures! This is most likely due to the nature of the travel industry. Interest in travel traditionally happens by time of year and less dependent on the individual. Nurturing a customer every month probably isn’t as effective as blasting your entire database with beach excursions right before summer or a trip to the mountains right before ski season.southwest ski

4. Healthcare–You’re in Great Shape

The most well rounded email performance award goes to Healthcare and Life Sciences. They excel in every type of email campaign. I think this is due to two main factors. First is how technologically advanced healthcare has become in the past few years. The overnight shift to the digital era definitely shows in their marketing efforts. Second is the wide range of use cases that each email type solves for this specific industry. Patient doctor office visits? Triggered emails! Ongoing preventative care tips and tricks? Nurture emails! Hospital announcements and newsletters? Batch emails!

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You can see that different types of emails serve different purposes, but I hope that digging into this data gave you some ideas on how you can use email more effectively for your organization.

Notice something in the data that stood out to you? Have suggestions on what data to dive into next? Got follow up questions for me? Leave your comments below.