The practice of email marketing has profited from the downturn, it has been claimed.

According to a report by Marketing Sherpa, the advertising technique was one of the few areas in the industry that was "spared the axe" of budget cuts, with the rise in its use not just being seen in email-reliant sectors in the recession but across the board.

The chart revealed that internet marketing services for the majority of companies in the business and financial sector increased their spending in this area, with 51 per cent turning to the method during 2009.

And 47 per cent of businesses in education and healthcare behaved similarly.

Marketing Sherpa observed that, "in this age of cost-consciousness and demand to justify return on investment", email marketing has continued to prove its worth as a cost-effective tactic.

Last month, Diane Forster noted in an article for PromotionWorld that Christmas time may be a particularly profitable period for firms using email marketing, although brands should concentrate on specific content such as promotional codes.

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