PHILADELPHIA: Email has been confirmed as a key driver of business value, according to a new study which also reveals that marketers believe their email programs still need to be more innovative to retain customers.

Personalisation and customisation of emails are the key innovative areas where marketers want to see improvement, especially as over half (58%) report that email is effective at driving sales.

These are the key findings in the "Innovate With Email To Create Competitive Advantage" report, a survey of nearly 230 marketers in the US and UK by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Monetate, the cloud-based email optimisation company.

It found respondents believe a failure to use innovative email campaigns contributes to a loss of sales (41%), customer churn (42%) and negative brand image (37%).

Yet, in addition to the 58% who say email is effective at driving sales, nearly three-quarters (73%) say email is effective at generating leads and two-thirds (66%) say it helps to build brand loyalty.

These figures could be improved, survey respondents reported, if email campaigns made better use of advanced personalisation and other innovations.

Nearly 40% say advanced personalisation – or targeted content based on who customers are – is "critical" to creating email relevance and increased sales.

A similar proportion (39%) say dynamic content, such as changing an offer based on a user's profile, is required while 37% want more open-time personalisation, whereby content can be tailored to the conditions in which customers find themselves.

Bruce Ernst, vp of product management at Monetate, said today's consumers are dynamic. They interact with each other and with brands on all kinds of channels and in numerous ways, he said, yet brands are not making the best use of technology.

"The technology exists for marketers to create these dynamic experiences, and brands must adopt these innovative technologies in order to meet ever-changing customer expectations," he added.

Data sourced from Monetate; additional content by Warc staff