Others might say it’s humor, but the days of funny emails have somewhat been swallowed by Facebook posting and Youtube, where interactivity is paramount.
Some might say it’s utility emails, which you don’t notice until you don’t have them (alerts from banks, push message from your alarm).
The sheer magnitude of email programs can send you swimming for support. There are segments to identify, promotions to match to, some programmatic/automation to setup, closing the experiences from site/browse/shop/receive. And then of course there’s the never-dying daily/weekly promotional schedule.
The question we’ve all been asking for 15 years or so is, what is that tipping point where consumer expectations for branded email changes? We now monetize ads in email from other brands when you can’t drive direct revenue. We discount heavily and earlier for promotions, thus lowering the effective LTV of a customer and conditioning them to discounting notifications as a means to recall a brand when shopping.
Where does this type of 1:1 marketing lead us in the future, when you have generations of new consumers using their smart devices differently and have far different means and perspectives for living on this planet?
We have a new generation that doesn’t like email, will use it when necessary and will join the masses when they reach “professional” age. But when boomers and Gen-Xers get older, how will the channel change to support and survive the next generation of consumers?
I tend to look at the future through a few lens:
The data lens. We’ve all known that data is the key to better. The disconnect starts with the view that lack of data is the problem. The key is what I like to call “portability of decisions" -- meaning, you need access to inputs to make quick decisions without relying on the need to sync a database or have replicas in every point solution. You need to know what data is most important to help inform a decision.
The experience lens. I like to think of this as the flyer drop-in-the mail vs. the door-to-door flyer drop. Both accomplish the same thing, but the person hand-delivering to the door knows it was viewed. In the email world, this will translate to owning those points where you can be personal, seem local, and be intrusive -- but not in a way that turn consumers off. This is why so much talk about triggers is coming. It’s where the future will be.
The optimization lens: In any world of choices, there lies the need to test and evolve. It's just nature to continually evolve, but to do it at scale, you need to think about things differently. A/B testing will help accomplish point-in-time spikes and that is still needed, but you also need an ability to iterate this through all interactions. Again, it's usually a trade-off with time/budget/priorities.
The future five years from now needs to be an evolution of what we are doing today. We are seeing universal change happening in every conversation we have in the market. The conversation is happening, but the shift in taking action has not accelerated at the same pace.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." -- late self-help author Wayne Dyer.