Customers demand perfect moments from brands, where relevant deals on items they want, often before they realise it themselves, are presented at precisely the right time and place.

This is one of the findings from IBM’s 2015 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study, which analyses email marketing trends from 3 000 global brands, representing 40 countries and multiple industries.

With 50% of companies increasing their digital marketing budgets in 2015, it’s clear chief marketing officers and teams are looking to answer the call by delivering these experiences across multiple channels including social, mobile, Web and in the store. As the adoption of these tactics continues to grow, email remains a vital component – the Direct Marketing Association reports that for every $1 spent on email marketing, there’s an average return of $44.25.

“In an industry that’s evolving at the speed of light, email, when leveraged in context of the customer’s experiences, remains one of the most effective ways for brands to engage with the always-on consumer,” says Deepak Advani, GM of IBM Commerce. “By combining email marketing with deep analytics, marketers can now understand their customers on entirely new levels, generating additional insights from the digital world to deliver meaningful experiences for each consumer at the right place and the right time.”

According to the IBM study, top performing brands demonstrated a commitment to establishing an ongoing engagement with customers, one that provides each individual with additional value while opening up new revenue opportunity for the business.

Specifically, the study found that brands using email campaigns triggered by a person’s previous action, such as a recent purchase or the resetting of their password, drove higher customer engagement due to the timeliness and relevancy of these messages. In fact, according to the study, these campaigns (known as transactional emails) produced an open rate of 72% and average click through rate of 30%.

For example, if 500 customers who purchased a cruise vacation are sent a follow up email containing additional deals on related items, 360 consumers would open the email with close to 110 clicking on the link to get more detail.

“Keeping our fans around the country up to date on the Kentucky Derby is a key component of our digital marketing,” says Kate Ellis, marketing analyst at the Kentucky Derby. “Email is vital as it allows us to target our messages to specific levels or types of customers, giving them each the information they want including important upcoming news, details about their trip to the Derby, charitable initiatives and other special events. We can also use it to conduct surveys about their experiences. Looking forward email will continue to remain a critical vehicle for us to engage customers with personalised campaigns that drive business success.”

Additional key findings of the study include:

* Top performing brands in the travel industry excelled, with email open rates reaching upwards of 50%, 10 times more than their lower performing peers. Travel brands, which tend to effectively use strong visuals and offer-heavy approaches, led all top performers with click-through rates of just over 15%.

* While the travel industry soared, retail/ecommerce missed the mark, producing some of the lowest customer engagement rates. These low rates result from retailers that continue to rely on traditional batch-and-blast methods which lack the personalisation that today’s consumer demands.

* Asia-Pacific brands outperformed their counterparts in North America and Europe on most benchmarks, with top quartile performers achieving a nearly 50% open rate. This likely indicates that marketers in the region are capitalising on the explosive digital marketing growth in the area