New Year’s predictions can be a waste of time. Who really knows what new privacy scandals will emerge or who will win the American League pennant?
But we’ll give it a try.
Here are five predictions from some email marketing thought leaders on what to expect in 2019. We’ll add more in the days ahead.
1. Voice — All pundits seem to agree on this one. “It’s an emerging channel,” says Michael Sciano, Adobe Campaign’s product marketing manager. In part, that mean marketers will be seeking to integrate their email with Alexa, Siri and other services.
What’s more, B2B sales reps “will be using voice and AI to automate tasks and help identify recommended next steps,” states Robin Grochol, VP, product management, Salesforce Sales Cloud. “Sales reps will essentially have an AI assistant in their pocket to increase productivity and in turn, focus on closing more deals, Grochol says.
2. Federal privacy legislation — The era of self-regulation seems to be over, says email marketing expert Ryan Phelan. “As such, the need for legislation on a federal level will continue to gain momentum, especially if platforms like Facebook and other social media platforms are exposed for a severe overreach of data permission.”
If states each go their own way, it would create a logistical mess for the marketer to manage that complexity. How do you use this insight to make it in 2019? Behave as if you’re headquartered in Europe and obliged to comply with GDPR.
3. The end of data entry — B2B sales reps now spend 64% of their time non-sales tasks such as data entry. So they will gain valuable selling time by using automated data capture, says Grochol.
4. The rise of GenZ — “In a survey, we discovered Gen Z will use email more as they get older — a kind of rite of passage,” says Len Shneyder, VP of industry relations at SendGrid. “They prefer to hear from brands via email through other channels."
5. More and better AI — Kirsty Traill, VP of customer support for Hootsuite, predicts a balancing act o AI & human interaction at scale. ““We’ve all had those terrible experiences where we’ve been trapped in an automated doom loop and can’t get out, and I think that’s scared a lot of people,” she writes, according to Customer Experience Predictions For 2019, a paper by Confirmit. “That said, technology is now at a point where companies can meaningfully start testing how they can automate those routine, mundane tasks that -- let’s face it -- most support agents don’t love handling anyway.”
Gilad Raichshtain, VP, product management for Salesforce Sales Cloud, adds: “AI will be able to forecast indicators such as customer engagement, which will be used by top performing sales organizations to retain and grow their customer base.”
We’ll add two of our own, although neither is an original thought.
One, all sources seem to agree that email volume will not only hold, but will grow despite the rise of other channels: The old workhorse hasn’t lost its utility, especially on the transactional side.
Two, we predict that BIMI — the email validation standard developed by several companies working together — will take greater hold. It allows brands to place their logos in the subject line — if the email has been validated.
Finally, here’s an oddball prediction from Mario Natarelli, managing partner at branding agency MBLM: “In the area of personal branding, the most successful hopefuls to take on Trump will come from entertainment over politics. Think Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey, Dwayne Johnson or the like.”
Say it ain’t so.