How Email Can Help Businesses Scale During Economic Uncertainty

By Sam Holding, Head of International at SparkPost

Economic uncertainty is leading marketing leaders to adopt more creative strategies to engage their targets. But for Sam Holding, Head of International at SparkPost, this is a time to reassess your approach to email marketing, one of the most reliable and valuable marketing channels available.

Despite economic and environmental challenges in 2020, the reality is many businesses are still succeeding due to innovative shifts in marketing strategies. Businesses who have otherwise taken a conservative approach to spending marketing dollars online, have now been thrust into the same advertising marketplace as e-commerce and tech giants.

While this is uncertain and at times scary territory for many businesses the opportunity for success is huge. Marketing teams have had to look more critically than ever before at which marketing channels are working for them, especially during a time where consumers are primarily interacting with brands via their smartphones and computers. While many brands have opted to spend their budgets on digital and social media marketing, there is a more tried and truer channel that has stolen the spotlight: email.

In fact, SparkPost’s recent study revealed that 58% of global leaders note email marketing efforts drive value and positive impact to their business and 59% of email practitioners believe email is a main source of revenue. By focusing marketing efforts and dollars on email, brands can build a strong customer experience and an agile marketing team as well as create a foundation for other marketing channels.


What Sets Email Marketing Apart from Other Channels?

One of the greatest benefits of email is that no one entity owns the marketing channel. Unlike other ad placements that are owned by social networks and search engine monoliths alike, email is a world all its own. While digital marketing channels require that brands follow certain rules like word count and image content, email is more malleable enabling companies to flex their creative muscle and build totally unique campaigns.

Of course, there are many best practices when it comes to creating a great email marketing message, but the very channel itself allows brands the necessary flexibility to market in new ways during a cultural moment in which the “new normal” changes by the hour. More than that, with emails, marketing teams can be incredibly agile when it comes to catering to business needs. Because companies don’t pay-per-click when it comes to email opens, brands can send email as they please to communicate new and important updates to customers.

Since those who receive mail from a brand must be opted into the mailstream, email only serves to enhance the customer experience as email updates keep engaged recipients abreast of the latest company news. Email is the reliable choice when it comes to rolling with the punches of the continued uncertainty we are all facing.


Email Marketing Also Boosts Team Morale

In addition to flexibility and agility, another benefit of email is that investing in it can actually boost marketing team morale. According to SparkPost’s research 83% of marketing leaders and practitioners are happy at work, an impressive metric during a time when stress is running high for everyone. SparkPost found that one of the major factors in this overwhelmingly positive statistic is that many marketers leverage automation and emerging technologies to exceed expectations at work.

By investing in a comprehensive marketing stack rife with innovation, marketing leaders can create a positive environment where marketing team members can be more effective and be rewarded for doing a great job. Investing in technology specifically for the email channel is a win-win since many recent innovations can surprise and delight subscribers in addition to making email marketers’ lives easier. Allocating a larger budget to email can supercharge team morale and output.


One of the greatest benefits of email is that no one entity owns the marketing channel. Unlike other ad placements that are owned by social networks and search engine monoliths alike, email is a world all its own.

Sam Holding
Head of International, SparkPost

Headshot Sam Holding SparkPost

The Future Potential of Email Marketing

During 2020, there was a dramatic increase in investment in social media, communications, digital and email marketing. During a time in which people were spending more time on their phones, tablets, and computers, marketers were betting on a “fire on all cylinders” strategy, the foundation of which was email. In fact, SparkPost reported that 44% of marketing leaders increased their email budget in 2020.

Email has time and again proven to be the best resource for solid data to improve future touchpoints with customers across all marketing channels. Email is the fastest and most effective way to determine things like engagement, a metric that can help measure the success of a brand’s customer experience. As such, investing in the resource is the best way to streamline marketing data and create a centralized source of truth across marketing channels.

The ever-changing waters of the global recession have created a perfect storm for companies and brands to get creative with their marketing efforts and how they allocate their marketing dollars. But with consumers interacting with brands digitally more than ever before, marketing leaders still need to be critical even with all the opportunity for tests and innovation. Email provides the flexibility and strength marketing teams need to continue to market successfully as the tides continue to change.

About our Guest Writer

Sam Holding
Head of International, SparkPost

Sam Holding is the Head of International at SparkPost, the #1 email delivery and analytics service. He leads all international strategies and activities related to sales, marketing and customer retention. Prior to SparkPost, Sam was Senior Director, EMEA at Oracle Data Cloud. At Oracle, he led a team responsible for measurement, context and audience partnerships with publishers and platforms. Sam also has more than 20 years of experience in digital marketing, data products and ad technology, having worked at Trinity Mirror, France Telecom, Experian and Adform before joining Datalogix, which was later acquired by Oracle Data Cloud.