3 key lessons

for companies looking to win with “Email”

By Nick Miles

Why every marketer should care about catch-all emails

The pressure to connect with customers to inform, educate and engage is constant. Companies are spending millions of dollars to create engaging content & interactive campaigns. So, how is it that we still see so many high-profile email marketing failures, even from the world’s biggest companies? Below, we set out our hypotheses as to the impact catch-all emails have and the 3 things to do to improve your chances for success.

Something has Changed 

So, what’s happening, and why?

The evidence suggests that the catch-all email is one of the main culprits when it comes to actual delivery and it is striking fear into the heart of B2B marketers.

But what is a catch-all email anyway? Why does it exist and what’s the impact?

Simply put, it’s an email account that is specified to “catch all” of the messages that are addressed incorrectly or to email addresses that no longer exist in a domain’s email server. While this may be an easy solution for IT departments, it poses a huge problem for marketers.

For example, you send an email to the wrong address (e.g., byob@company.com versus bob@company.com) and it goes to a catch-all email (e.g., info@company.com). Since you don’t receive an Undeliverable message or Unknown User bounce code, it simply remains in your database. One incorrect contact record is not a problem, however, over time as you accumulate more incorrect contact records, this poses a gigantic problem.

Assessing the impact

1. Declining Engagement Rates

    It’s the first telltale, and it happens gradually overtime. Opens, clicks, and downloads are slowly falling. The person has left, and you will never know as there was no bounce, no undeliverable. Just silence.

2. Increasing Infrastructure Costs

    Marketing Automation Platform companies such as Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot & Pardot, all charge based on the number of contacts you host and send to. So, as the database grows, so do your costs. If you’re keeping the contacts that are no longer relevant, that cost is continually building.


3. False Intelligence 

Decisions are made with facts, but what if the facts are false.

Bad data + catch-all email servers = lies

Emails sent to left contacts has a dramatic effect on metrics and subsequent actions taken. Open & click-through rates all decrease due to catch-all email. Strategic and tactical decisions are made from a foundation of false negatives.

A world where less is more

If personalization is one of marketing’s biggest trends, and technologies are becoming so advanced, why is it that companies are still missing the mark?

To properly unpack the email phenomena, ELEVATE has invested in a proprietary methodology that addresses catch all emails and data quality.

3 key lessons for companies looking to win with “Emails”:

1. Email isn’t for everyone

Perhaps surprisingly, your content isn’t for everyone. An accurate list of 1000 highly targeted & relevant contacts are much more valuable than 10,000 who have no desire for your product or service. Strategically identify and focus on these key contacts whilst removing the rest.

2. Be clear and specific

Like most exciting opportunities, it’s not always easy to get it right. Bad data creates noise and dilutes results. This leads to spray & prey, which in a world of increased competition and visibility, fails every time. Having a clear and specific target market increases performance significantly.

Marketing departments need to work hand in hand with sales teams to agree a complete set of target companies and personas in each organization. Ensure you have a complete and accurate list of all the decision makers and influencers that are relevant to sales.

3. Having strong content isn’t the whole story

Lazy marketing permeates this space. Marketing professionals need to apply equal focus on the constant application of data hygiene as to the creation of content.

Understanding how to constantly manage & maintain data, will ensure the experience you are creating has a realistic chance of being read and actioned upon.

For companies targeting key decision makers and influencers, email remains a significant opportunity.

But spotting the opportunity isn’t your advantage

Getting clarity on validity, segmentation and relevance should be the foundations of your thinking. With clarity, you can then develop your strategy that leans into the true drivers of engagement and personalization.

For more information on “Winning with Emails” and to get more information on the driver for your business, contact us.

Further reading

Related Work


The ELEVATE Group is a collection of 3 hyper-focused businesses. Each with a different center of gravity. All under one global roof.

• Data Integrity

• Demand Generation 

• Business Insights 

In time of dramatic change, with technologies and behaviors changing faster than ever before, our core principles and experience enable us to provide a timeless framework to deliver results where others repeatedly fail. Based on years of research, centering on deep fundamental truths and taking our own knowledge and customer successes, the alignment and awareness of these 3 focus areas, working independently or seamlessly together, we ultimately deliver a greater return on investment for our customers.