Is E-mail The Same Around The World?

Last week Jeanniey Mullen and I were fortunate enough to keynote and participate in an e-mail marketing conference in Holland. The experience was quite memorable for many reasons, and I'd like to share some of what we gained.

The event was the National E-mail Marketing Conference of Holland held by Beerens Business Press (BBP) in Utrecht, a beautiful city about 30 minutes from Amsterdam. BBP is one of the leading B2B publishers in Holland and happen to employ some exceptionally nice and cordial people.

MediaPlaza, Jaarbeurs Utrecht, was one of the most amazing facilities either of us has ever seen. Saying it had state-of-the-art and incredible architecture would be understating it. Some rooms were completely circular, with a 360 degree projection around futuristic lounge seats. There we had the opportunity to speak to many of the region's leading e-mail marketers about the issues and challenges they face everyday.



In general, we were both surprised to learn that many of the challenges faced in other countries are the same as those we face in the United States. The impact e-mail has on marketing efforts, funding, appropriate usage, cadence etc. were about similar to the types of questions we receive in the U.S. Two main cultural differences centered on the use of third-party lists for acquisition purposes and challenges around deliverability.

We learned that e-mail list rental is relatively new to Holland. Co-registration, affiliate deals are just in their infancy. In most cases, the e-mail focus is on retention-based and viral efforts. Deliverability/rendering issues are brand new to them as well. In fact, most of the conference attendees were shocked to see the impact that poor rendering can have on a message.

The impact that e-mail has as a branding tool was of particularly high interest to this group. They were very much "in tune" with the collective vision of the E-mail Experience Council, which positions e-mail as the backbone of all digital communications. When we presented our five e-mail "branding" best practices, all of the pens came flying out to capture the notes.

Five Secrets of Branding:

1) Know your "brand-lationship"--the context of which your audience is engaged with your brand.

2) Understand how your audience perceives your brand.

3) Be aware of how your brand "appears" to others when it lands in the inbox.

4) Establish and follow through with an engagement program.

5) Have a disaster recovery plan.

Our audience was filled with interest and questions surrounding opt-in strategies, quality versus quantity, cadence, frequency and techniques that they can implement when they go back to work.

All in all, we felt the conference was a success and were excited to see that throughout the world, everyone seems to speak "e-mail."

To download a copy of our presentation, please visit

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