The Paradox of Progress: Why Modern Businesses Cling to Basic Batch-and-Blast Emails

Several recent conversations with CMO’s from the retail landscape, reflect their adamant refusal to reduce their send volumes to incorporate a stronger, leaner and more personalised offering.

We need to be top of the inbox”, “We know the results these bring” “We already have the automations in place” – Translation “We’re worried about change and risking the unknown”.

Of course this isn’t surprising, with teams and budgets under increasing scrutiny and expectation, it’s the things we know so well, that are often the last to change.

The Landscape

At a time where digital marketing is blowing up about AI and other innovative technologies, the persistent practice of basic batch-and-blast email campaigns stands out as a peculiar but all too truthful in many businesses.

Despite the often-heavy investment in sophisticated tools, many businesses, surprisingly, still default to this archaic strategy and leave other capabilities gathering dust on the shelf.

What are the reasons behind this paradox? Why does simplicity sometimes outweigh innovation in the realm of email marketing?

One for all and all for one!

Batch-and-blast emails, the classic one-size-fits-many approach, involves sending a single email to a full list of recipients with limited, if any segmentation, no personalisation, and no real sense of actual targeting (barring they are in your CRM). Historically, this method gained traction for its sheer simplicity and ability to reach a wide audience quickly. It is the email marketing equivalent of casting a wide net, hoping to catch as many fish as possible, regardless of the type or size.

A Better Way?

But email marketing technology has evolved dramatically, offering marketers tools that can tailor content to individual user preferences, behaviours, and demographics. Innovations like AI-driven personalisation, complex and dynamic automated workflows, real-time analytics, and even predictive modelling have transformed how businesses can communicate with their audiences. These technologies deliver higher engagement, improved conversion rates, and a more intimate connection with the customer, in a nutshell they are all designed to improve CX, increase conversion and promote loyalty.

So why are some of the largest consumer brands in the world still not doing it?

Well, despite these advancements, the relative safety and simplicity of batch-and-blast emails persists along with several beliefs.


Belief:Batch and blast is cost-effectiveness and requires minimal investment, making it attractive for businesses with limited budgets or those just starting with email marketing.

Reality:Sending emails consistently to an audience who are not engaged, have not connected, and are now likely viewing you as “spam,” is not just costing you CPM, it’s also costing you Brand.


Belief:Resource constraints mean small teams or those without specialised expertise might find sophisticated tools daunting, defaulting to simpler methods they can manage.

Reality:Some of the most well-known and “adopted” tools, no need to name them, require a data mining and coding degree just to operate basic functionality. However, within the last five years, new technologies and vendors have focused on advancements in UX, alongside onboarding and operational adoption, now means, even the smallest teams can be set up in an advanced and automated campaign workflow with truly little demand on bandwidth and team.

It’s Safe

Belief:Better the devil you know! Organisations comfortable with their results from traditional emails may see no incentive to shift, especially if they’re not facing pressure from competitors or demands for higher ROI.

Reality:The only way to break old habits is to replace them with new ones, and I get it life is good, click and conversions are seeing us through but I’ve yet to speak to a marketer in the last two years that isn’t seeing declining and diminishing returns from this old approach. Form new habits now because even these take time to implement, measure and adjust.

It’s Effective

Belief:It has a perceived effectiveness and in certain industries or demographics, the straightforward approach might still resonate with audiences, making more complex strategies unnecessary.

Reality:It is better than nothing, so in this way it can be effective, but has anyone spoken to or seen a marketer that’s just interested in sending a singular message to its entire consumer base? No, we do it because we have too, not because we want to.

It’s Confusing

Belief: We’re overwhelmed by so many options: The sheer volume of new tools and tactics can be paralysing, leading some marketers to stick with what’s familiar rather than navigate the complexities of modern email marketing solutions.

Reality: Most aren’t looking at options through the lens on a specific and repeated business use case or pain point. This approach really helps you really narrow what’s needed. Being clear on this need and the expected outcome within your discussions will help filter out those solutions providers offering amazing tech, but not the right tech for your need – have the pain be the driver for the solution, not the other way around.

We Have One

Belief:We bought the capabilities and have never used them, so we don’t need them now.

Reality:You selected the wrong vendor and / or partner to support you.

So, what are the risk and limitations?

Well, sticking to batch-and-blast emails can lead to significant drawbacks, such as diminished engagement, increasing unsubscribe rates, and potential harm to the brand’s image and deliverability. Moreover, it squanders the opportunity to connect meaningfully with customers, which can lead to lost revenue and missed opportunities for growth.

A recurring theme in marketer’s concerns is around loyalty, especially in consumer markets like retail, still reliant on a relatively small percentage of consumers to drive performance and growth. This consumer is changing, and generational strategies are evolving, what worked for the millennial isn’t working for Gen Z or Alpha, to assume so, isn’t a risk you want to take.

Can it really make THAT much of a difference?

At Zeta we’ve seen the transformation of brands shifting from generic blasts to targeted campaigns, resulting in up to 586%+ increase in revenues, 9% increase in AOV and all that alongside a 51% decrease in send volumes.

Such results really underpin the tangible benefits of embracing modern email strategies tailored to customer behaviours and preferences with the right technologies in play.

Of course, these numbers are not promised, they require strategy, creativity and input, but aren’t you doing these things already?


While batch-and-blast emails may still hold relevance for some, effective and high-performance email marketing lies in personalisation, segmentation, and intelligent automation. Businesses willing to invest in these areas can expect to see substantial returns in customer engagement, loyalty, and overall profitability.

All the above also requires the right strategic direction, at Zeta we’re not only proud of our market leading ESP, but also our insights and strategy teams whose world revolves around maximising customer opportunity and return with those clients needing a little helping hand.

The question remains: Will your business evolve, or will it remain tethered to outdated practices?

If this resonated with you and you are looking to evaluate your current email marketing strategy and tools, reach out to our team!

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