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Don't Compare Apples and Oranges

April 14, 2009  

In a post at the Email Experience blog, Spencer Kollas argues that marketers shouldn't spend their time worrying about the rates other companies achieve with their email programs. The reason, he says, is that those numbers could have little bearing on your activities. "If the industry is getting an 88% delivery rate, but you are getting a 90% delivery rate," he asks rhetorically, "does that mean that you should stop trying to improve it?"

And, notes Kollas, you might be comparing apples to oranges. If, for instance, an industry-specific survey reports an average delivery rate of 85% and an average open rate of 5%, it creates as many questions as it answers. "Without standardized metrics," he reasons, "how do we know if all of the companies that were surveyed actually determine their numbers the same way?"

So, while industry averages can be instructive, it doesn't really matter if you're ahead of the curve or behind it—your goal should be the continual improvement of your own performance, and the increased ROI it brings.

The Po!nt: "When marketers focus on what others in the industry are achieving," says Kollas, "they are spending less time focusing on their own programs. To me, it shouldn't matter what others are achieving; it matters what you're achieving."

Source: Email Experience. Click here for the full post.

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