One of the more interesting things I've been exploring this week is email subject lines. Direct marketers that use an affiliate network usually have a strict set of subject lines that their affiliates are allowed to use, although policing those affiliates can be a challenge.
I've never seen "A Beautiful Mind," but I've been told that there are scenes where Russell Crowe's character begins to see patterns in endless reams of meaningless data. The patterns in streams of random numbers begin to pop out at him. I'm beginning to feel that way about email.
One of the most amazing things to me is the number of unnecessary hurdles that many companies thrust in front of their customers who are simply trying to sign up for their newsletters. Sometimes the simplest newsletter has more security surrounding it than some of my investment banking accounts.
A colleague of mine walked into the office the other day and told me he had just bought an X10 camera system. I don't think I have to explain to this audience what X10 cameras are and the effect that their "pioneering" work in pop-ups have had on the whole of interactive marketing. Now, my colleague is a very savvy interactive marketer himself so this news made me pause. This is what he told me: "I don't remember if I went to their Website, or saw an ad, but I just decided one day that I wanted to have one."
How things have changed. When I first started evangelizing rich media (over seven years ago now!), it was really the poor cousin of online advertising. Back then, and well towards the end of the '90s, rich media represented only the tiniest fraction of the online advertising market, according to IAB stats at the time. There was little usage, little coverage, little interest, and very little understanding of this strange area of online marketing that consisted of talking banners and interactive ads.