Planning For 2016? Here's Some Direction

This is the time of year when every industry pundit reviews the past year or predicts what will happen in the next 12 months. Although I've written my share of both, I've always wondered how useful these columns really are.

So I'd like to change the usual year-end focus and talk about the three questions I asked myself when I was down in the email-marketing trenches. Today, they form the basis for the work I do, whether in one-on-ones with clients, as I write my Email Insider columns or when speaking at industry conferences:

  • What trends should I watch for?
  • What strategies and tactics will drive noticeably better results for my email program?
  • How can I advance in my career?

If you want answers to any of these questions, you might find some food for thought in the topics I covered in 2015, from mapping your email messages, to your customer's journey, to email's role in the evolution of marketing.

Below is a quick look at these three key areas and links to follow for commentary and, perhaps, some ideas for driving better results from email, developing your own career and keeping on top of increasingly faster change in our industry.



 1. Trends

These changes signal long-term shifts in technology, customer perceptions, competitive strategy and device usage that can spell the difference between growth and stagnation. Understanding the most significant trends will help you develop strategies to stay competitive and keep email profitable and productive. 

Mobile-first adoption was a trend until this year; now, it's the norm. Using emojis in subject lines is trendy -- but adding automation and content management to create a 1:1 experience for your customers is more than a trend. It's becoming essential to stay competitive. The columns below explain that and other emerging changes:

2. Process: Strategies and Tactics

Email success doesn't happen by accident, whether you want to grow and maintain an active list, drive increased revenue, update technology or achieve efficiencies throughout your company. You need a well-designed strategy and a set of tactics to help you achieve it.

I advise you to consider programs that will deliver the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time if you can't easily answer the question "Where do we begin to improve our email program?" The columns below offer several starting points. 

3. Career Care

Your professional life isn't just about creating a stellar email program. You deserve to be rewarded for your achievements, whether that means a new title and the perks that go with it, or more resources and recognition for your team.

Both would be nice, of course, and my suggestions in the columns listed below will help you get on that track in 2016.

In the meantime, what challenges are you gearing up for in 2016? Let me know in the comments section below.

Until next time, take it up a notch.

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