Email marketing generates over £30 for every £1 spent according to a new report by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is poised to upset the channel.

According to the DMA’s email tracker report – which surveyed 289 marketers across B2B and B2C marketing – 50% of marketers are confident in calculating the ROI of their email marketing efforts, estimating return to be £32.28 for every £1 spent this year – up from £30.03 in 2017.

In addition, 22% estimated the lifetime value of an email address to their business to be at £28.56.

Despite the positive headline findings, the report drew attention to some of the channel’s executive shortfalls, with one in five (19%) of marketers claiming their organisations have “no competence at all” when it comes to email testing. Meanwhile, 15% claimed to not conduct any tests on emails sent to consumers, up from 8% in 2016.

GDPR readiness

The biggest concern, however, lies in the approach of GDPR and the potential impact this could have on marketers’ email marketing programmes, with companies required to seek, collect and record affirmative consent of both new and existing members on their mailing lists.

Citing mixed opinions – the majority (72%) feeling just “somewhat prepared” – just 36% of marketers believed that the update would have a positive impact on their email programmes, while commenting on the report, Dotmailer’s Skip Fidura views it as a “major opportunity”.

“There is very little in the new regulations that we have not been preaching as best practice for years; GDPR just forces us to follow it with the threat of eye watering fines. Perhaps ‘more fool us’ for not heeding our own advice but this an opportunity to rebuild trust with our customers.

“This is the chance to be open, honest and transparent about the data we are collecting, why we are collecting it, the benefit to us of having that data and of course the benefit to the consumer,” Fidura added.

On the findings, Marcus Gearey, chair of the DMA email council’s research hub and analytics manager at Zeta Global, said; “Email is still at the forefront of consumer marketing and both sides seem largely happy this is so.

“But marketers should be careful not to be complacent, they would be wise to learn from the principles of the GDPR inspiration and codify their own best practice for email to maintain its position as the pre-eminent marketing channel.”