If You Led the Email Marketing Industry...

What initiatives would you launch if you ran an email marketing trade group? As a former staffer at the Email Experience Council, I sometimes muse to myself about initiatives that (1) would be good for our industry's long-term health and (2) accomplish the goal of growing email marketing budgets. Ignoring the necessary consensus-building and often formidable logical challenges of putting initiatives into effect, here are some ideas I've been mulling lately:

Establishing an Industry Code of Ethics Not all email marketing practices are good for our industry, whether they are legal or not. Establishing and actively promoting an industry code of ethics seem like a fundamental step in setting standards for our dynamic, yet mature marketing channel. This has become even more critical in recent years because of the influx of new practitioners into the field. The Ethical Imperatives that I listed in my "'Best Practices' Are Dead" column seem like a great starting point.



Launching a Good Email News Network Thanks largely to the success of Groupon, the din of "email is dead" chants has died down. But as an industry, we haven't done a great job of singing our own praises. One way to toot our own horn would be to tap into the social, newsletter and blog networks of email marketing community members, asking them to promote positive articles about our industry.

Recent good email news articles have included: "Email, Search Drive Most Online Retail Traffic.""Global spam e-mail levels suddenly fall," and "4 Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2011."

A Good Email News Network feed could also be integrated into a site like Mark Brownlow's that provides big picture statistics on the health and reach of the email marketing industry.

Tout Email Marketing's Green Thumb One of email's key strengths is that it's much more green than direct mail. It's a key messaging point that brands use to convince their customers to convert from receiving account statements and other routine information via mail to via email.

We should support that messaging point during Earth Week by estimating how many trees email marketing saves each year and by pooling case studies of brands that have been able to transition customers from direct mail to email. Sharing that information with trade and general interest publications would propagate this message.

Name October "Email Marketing ROI Month" One of the key challenges of our industry is the continued underinvestment in email marketing in relation to the returns it generates. Investments in analytics, triggered email programs, segmentation and other advanced tactics will define email marketing success in the not-too-distant future.

To help email marketers lobby for bigger budgets for the next year, every October we should pool case studies and other information that help prove email marketing's superior return on investment. An email marketer who wants to get budget for a shopping cart abandonment email program, for instance, would have ready access to several case studies to show management how others have done it and their results.

Create eGift Day (Dec. 23) One of email's strengths is its speed, making it a quick-to-market channel but also a speedy deliverer of digital gifts. Last year some enterprising person launched eGift Card Day on Dec. 23, which is traditionally the biggest day for e-gift card messaging by retailers. Let's take it a step further and dub the day eGift Day and highlight email's ability to deliver not only e-gift cards but other digital gifts like music, games, in-game items, and other downloads that will only grow in popularity in the years to come.

So those of are few of the ideas I've been mulling over. What initiatives would you launch if you ran an email marketing trade group?

2 comments about "If You Led the Email Marketing Industry...".
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  1. Rolv Heggenhougen, February 1, 2011 at 1:11 p.m.

    The problem with email marketing is that everyone focuses on mass emails.

    (Comment Deleted)


  2. Chad White from Litmus, February 1, 2011 at 1:33 p.m.

    Rolv, I appreciate that you are excited about about what your company does, but could you please keep your comment spam off my columns and stop trying to put them on my blog? It's really annoying. Thank you.

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