2009 marked a critical year where mass awareness and adoption of social media collided with a global financial crisis. The result? Consumers became more skeptical, conscientious, and empowered -- all at the same time.
Among my forecasts for next year: Inactivation campaigns will become more important, thanks to ISPs giving weight to engagement metrics when determining whether to deliver to the inbox or junk folder or to block email. More preference centers will be launched. And, opt-out processes will become friendlier and more effective at retention.
The altitude is 8,000+ feet, it's full of snow, and 140+ have descended on Park City, Utah for the biannual Email Insider Summit hosted by MediaPost. I've been involved in this event as an advisor, speaker, moderator, roundtable lead and programming chair since we began putting these on in 2005. I continue to marvel at what a great event this is, for several simple reasons: networking, networking, networking. After all, why do we go to industry events in the first place?
One of the greatest strengths of email marketing has always been its measurability, especially compared with other channels such as print, broadcast and direct mail. The breadth and depth of available email metrics, however, is something that a lot of email marketers don't take advantage of. Or, they simply don't delve much beyond the basic open, click and bounce metrics.
In email deliverability blogs and in conversations with clients, there seems to be an underlying expectation that domain-based reputation systems at top ISPs will cure all deliverability problems for commercial mailers. I'm increasingly concerned that this excitement from email marketers is based on unrealistic expectations of how domain reputations actually works. Domain reputation is a very good thing -- but it's not going to cure all your deliverability ills.
I'm going to come right out and admit that I don't know if there is a concrete answer to that question. I know there are a lot of opinions, but is there really an answer? Sure, we can look at sales results to see if people responded to an email, but unless a retailer tests their creative with and without the Black Friday or Cyber Monday handle, there is no way to know.