Personalisation, Subject-Line Predictors Got A Very Quiet Thumbs Up At Dmexco

As you would imagine for a digital marketing event where top-line talkers speak about the shiny future powered by the likes of augmented and virtual reality, poor old email did not get much of a mention at Dmexco 2016 in Cologne, Germany this week. If ever you want to know how overlooked the channel that no business could do without truly is, you need only got to a trade show to see a hundred companies -- all with very similar names -- promising to boost your programmatic or take you marketing department to a virtual reality high.

So it was interesting to see Adobe touch on the email advances it has -- and is -- building in to its software. Prime among these is subject-line rating. In the past, email marketers might A/B test a pair of headings, but with technology now from Adobe and other vendors, email marketers can get instant feedback on how a subject line is likely to perform. A scale, for example, allows the executive to know whether it's shorter or longer than what has proven to be the optimum in the past, and more effective words are offered as a kind of thesaurus of subject-line writing. It was interesting to see the technology for action. It looks like the kind of feature that will become more commonplace.

For anyone who still needs to fight the good fight within their marketing department, there were also some interesting statistics from Travelocity, which showed that personalised emails increase open rates by 29% and click rates by 41%. On the theme of travel, it was perhaps apt, considering where many of the delegates at Cologne, Germany had flown in from, that Adobe's Product Marketing Manager, Timo Kohlberg, picked Heathrow Airport at getting its email and customer experience spot on.

I'm not so sure the slide he showed of a customer being prompted to take the train and park a car at Heathrow was too personalised around previous behaviour, unless that customer often arrives by both rail and road, but it prompted me to check out my email from Heathrow. Do you know what? He's right. I've never taken the train to the airport and so my email is usually around parking and the offers are typically around the higher end airport food I love at Terminal 5 -- and this is the strange bit -- gin offers at the Duty Free shop. My Heathrow loyalty card is telling tales on me about how once I've parked, which Heathrow already knew about, I head for a breakfast at Gordon Ramsey's restaurant and then get a bottle of gin. 

Considering the massive success story of Heathrow's digital transformation I thought it very revealing that we were talking about email driving this, with beacons picking up customers and passing on offers once they arrive. While the rest of conference was transfixed by high-tech that has yet to go mainstream or deliver on its core promise, email was at least being given the thumbs up in one small corner of the massive show.

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