Adobe Updates Its Email Maturity Model

Adobe has enhanced its email maturity model in an effort to help brands send more relevant emails.

The model, introduced in 2015, is an interactive tool designed to help clients evaluate their email programs and advance from the basic classical level through the more advanced dynamic and contextual stages. But it was due for a refresher, says Michael Sciano, Adobe Campaign’s product marketing manager.

The news comes as email volume grew by a staggering 125% over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, based on what Adobe saw clients doing over the period, Sciano reports.

Some companies may have overdone it. 

“Retailers know that sending emails works and drives revenue, and suddenly they abandon best practices from all year long, and send too many," Sciano says.

As result of this they are resorting to the old way, and “consumers are going to unsubscribe after the holiday because they’re tired of all these messages and have marketing fatigue,” he predicts.



The updated maturity model has three new elements.

First, Adobe has tweaked the 20 questions it asked marketers to make them more accurate. These help a brand determine which stage it is in.

Next is an impact report, offering “thought leadership based on where you score,” Sciano says.

The third feature is “an internal package of resources,” providing both short-form and long-form reading based on what is in the impact report. The objective is to help marketers move from the classical stage to the contextual, he continues.

The firm is working with its account teams to use the assessment tool with customers to provide “deeper conversation and consultative recommendations,” Sciano adds. 

The foundations is based on two closely aligned studies sponsored by Adobe, one by Forrester and the other by the Relevancy Group.

These studies show that brands grew their results by four times as they moved to the contextual stage. 

In the classical stage, firms pursue fundamental email marketing — for example, a welcome email, or other forms of rudimentary promotion, Sciano says.

In the dynamic stage, they focus on profile data to differentiate content — for example, location or gender data. “But it’s still static,” Sciano comments.

The contextual stage is where brands conduct their marketing based on what they know about the customer.

“It has component of real-time content or interaction based on current events,” Sciano explains. “It could be location-based or behavioral, or weather based.”

For example, a hotel chain might sent a triggered message after the guest checks out, asking how the experience was or for input on the next trip.

Such contextual emails pay “attention to what I’m doing with your brand, and base the next offer based on those experiences and that data,” he says.

Meanwhile, sophisticated brands are “making a concerted effort to get better at “cross-channel orchestration,” Sciano notes. “Email may be a great place to send a message, but it might also mean using SMS or even call centers. We want to help them look at the journey and evaluate where the messages should be sent and how they work across multiple channels.”


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