Marketers are enhancing their email marketing campaigns with social media rather than replacing them, a report shows. The fourth annual Email Marketing Industry Census from Econsultancy and Adestra was released last week, tracking

how marketers are using emails to interact with customers.

More companies are using email to encourage customers to share content on social networks, as well as to promote customer ratings and reviews. Budgeting for email marketing is up from last year, and most companies rate email as a great return on investment.

But much difficulty is documented for these companies to send messages that are relevant, as well as craft them so that they actually land in the customer's inbox. Despite more adoption of email list services (over fifty percent), too many organizations are not paying enough attention to list quality.

Only 56 percent of companies are using opt-in (43%) or confirmed opt-in (13%) data for their acquisition emails
Only 60 percent are using opt-in (39%) or confirmed opt-in (21%) data for their retention emails
Quality of database is cited as a problem for 61 percent of marketers
List/data quality is a top-three priority in 2010 for only 32 percent of company respondents

"Companies must take care to focus on the relevance of their email in a world where it is becoming increasingly important for brands to demonstrate value, rather than bombarding people with unwanted messages," says Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director at Econsultancy in the Adestra blog. "Sophisticated segmentation and effective list-cleansing are more important than ever."

39 percent do not understand their ROI from email
Of those who do, five percent more than last year report over 500 percent ROI
Most companies do carry out basic segmentation (80%) and regular list-cleansing practices (58%)
Only seventeen percent have managed to fully integrate their email marketing with other sales and marketing activities, the same as last year.