The industry has evolved from the days of simple applications designed to support a couple of tasks to very involved workflow solutions designed to allow many people to work on the same campaign, work on many variations of creative and parse through hundreds of segments and reports. The first applications allowed you to upload your email data, upload simple/static creative, schedule, send and report. If you had to do this for many groups that had different creative or times, you had to rinse and repeat.
Email marketing applications went through a shift in the early 2000s, as some went for the pure Web experience, some tried to simulate early CRM apps, and some thought the “installable” software (desktop) application was the way to go. Ironically, most of the applications did virtually the same thing, some with a few more steps and some with a few more checks to ensure you didn’t make silly mistakes.
The applications, in my opinion reached maturity in the mid 2000s, with only moderate changes since. Sure there are better data visualization tools than there were in 2005. Reporting has certainly advanced with more intelligent dashboards. Even designing campaigns is more intuitive for managing email, mobile and social campaigns. But the fact is, we have not made email marketing easier or really bent lasers when designing for the collaborative workplace.
I wonder how far the marketing apps of the future will go. Will we see gesture-based navigation designed, without the “click” of the “mouse”? Will we see real-time collaboration built into the tools with a common workspace that includes synchronous video/text and white boards to infuse creative with campaign processes?
There are days I get inspired by cool user experiences and I try to imagine how that would be applied in a workplace, designed around a simple task: create and send a campaign.
Here are a few that inspire me :
Track180, an Pad app that is a pretty cool way of accessing information, displaying it and organizing newsfeeds. Imagine this as your campaign design console!
Want to see the future of the workspace? Check this out!
Imagine you meet here instead of a boardroom, and then run back to your cube to do your work.
Before I get too excited about the future of the workplace and role of applications and collaboration, I refer back to a quote from Bill Gates to keep me grounded. “The first rule of technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency”.