I always say, I get more done before 9 a.m. than I do the rest of the day. But with email, it’s a continual stream: it’s the first thing many check before they brush their teeth, have coffee, or breakfast.
One of the most stressful things you can possibly now is leave home without your mobile phone. Can’t imagine not being connected, can’t imagine what you are missing while life just piles up! Let’s not argue the merits of email as one, if not the most important digital Hub-n-Spoke to your personal and professional life. 10 years ago, we would talk about how consumers were switching email addresses like business cards. Filtering email was a nightmare and people would rather switch email addresses vs. try to filter the unwanted email. Today, consumers get more email, yet are smarter about how they manage email: work email, unwanted subscriptions, and personal email (likely the one you signed up with most of your social sites). And of course the ISPs have greatly improved the email user experience.
Many argue that email is going to die or diminish as the younger generations emerge. Will the new generation, which doesn’t even know what a mouse is, evolve a newer, more efficient means of communicating in their lives?
The best way to reflect on our industry is to think a bit more macro about trends. I love Trendwatching.com, as they mention loads of cool trends that create “ah hah” moments -- but more importantly, they provide another way of looking at how the consumer and branded world of marketing is changing.
Of their Top 10 Trends for 2013, here are a few that stuck out at me:
“#1 Presumers and Custowners: As consumers will embrace even more ways to participate in the funding, launch and growth of (new) products and brands that they love, expect pre-ordering, crowdfunding and consumer equity to compete with traditional consumption in 2013...”
“#3 Mobile Moments: consumers will look to their mobile devices to maximize absolutely every moment, multi-if-not-hypertasking their experiences, purchases and communications...”
“#7 Data Myning: In 2013 expect savvy shoppers to start reversing the flow, as consumers seek to own and make the most of their lifestyle data, and turn to brands that use this data to proactively offer customers help and advice on how to improve their behavior and/ or save money…”
“# 9 Full Frontal: So what’s next for the mega-trend of transparency in 2013? Brands must move from ‘having nothing to hide’, to pro-actively showing and proving they have nothing to hide…”
“#10 Demanding Brands: 2013 will see switched-on brands (i.e. brands that are embarking on the much-needed journey towards a more sustainable and socially-responsible future) demanding that their customers also contribute…”
What does this make you think of? Does it make you believe there will be more involved brand experience that are not the traditional “bait” driven world of offers, promotions and consumption? Will engagement be “every moment”, and digitally driven -- which may transcend the device to all screens (in-home and out-of-home)? How transparent will brands be with consumers about the customer data they know and use?
Advertisers are getting smarter, publishers are getting smarter, and the consumer is getting smarter. The one constant of all of this is, communication will be the catalyst. Email will be the delivery agent to inform, to notify, to fulfill, to promote, to share. Asynchronous communication will not change. As an industry, we will get better about content delivery (richer and more real-time), connecting communications with experiences, and better at using email for more than just -- email. (The email address has many other values)
So, when you are answering email before you have your coffee in the morning or using it to pass time when you have downtime, think about how your life starts and ends every day. Project that onto marketing, and you’ll have confidence that we are only scratching the surface of what we can d, based on where we are going!