I've been a good boy this year. I try to guide my clients so they don't overuse email. I have tried to stretch the boundaries of email and I've worked within unrealistic budgets to achieve goals. I only have a few wishes this year.
#1 : Rich media. Please, someone find a solution to rich media and trusted in-box delivery. I want streaming media, I want commerce applets embedded in email, and I want to once again have fun with creative for email. That's a big task for you, Santa, as you'll have to play nice with all the ISPs, as one vendor can't solve this alone. Since 1997-1999, when we could do cool things with rich media in email, we've been restricted to static imagery. I've heard people talk about it, but I don't know if it will ever get back to where it was with seamless streaming in the inbox. But if you are listening, Santa, I'll pay extra for video, it does work. I'm on the "nice" list, since my clients' deliverability is good and we adhere to all the best practices I know. You don't need to drop down the chimney, just send me a video email that plays in Yahoo, AOL and Outlook, and I'll be the happiest kid by the tree.
#2: Put a few email managers in my stocking and my clients' stockings. I, like many people in this space, want to work with talented, motivated people that know email, know direct marketing, and understand how to do more with less. While we hear about layoffs across the board in many industries , good email marketers will always be on Santa's list.
#3: Give me a new calculator for determining attribution. It's not fair that someone is on my list and then clicks through on a search term or banner and buys something and I don't get credit. How am I going to get more budget if I can't track or attribute revenue properly? I just want a calculator that we can use across an organization that simply tells us what attribution is, how to calculate it and we all agree to. At the Email Insider Summit, Jim Sterne summed it up with (I'm paraphrasing), "There is no magic to attribution, and no one has accurately solved it, since the better you get at it, the more complex the business rules for reporting and analysis."
#4: I want a great communication calendar. I want a calendar that all channels participate in creating. I want a calendar that is online, shared and is the guide for which we build our interconnected touchpoint strategy. You don't have to put cute puppies on it or swimsuit models; an Excel spreadsheet is fine.
#5: I want integrated data. I doubt this will fit in your stocking, Santa, but we spend far too much time on linear data. As Brad Schlief from Northwest Airlines said at the Email Insider Summit: "There isn't a segment too small." While I agree in principle (there are some segments that are too small) I'm more interested in getting to real segmentation, not descriptive terms. I want a data model and data warehouses that allow me to mine this data and create truly actionable segmentation and actionable analysis from this data.
#6: My last wish is to create a real online marketers' forum that people invest their time and passion in. While we've been off to a good start, I still think we are missing real strategic groups that look at email as an organizational channel, not a single channel in itself. I belong to at least 10 lists depending on what area of expertise I want to read about -- and typically I find that the media people don't know email, the email people don't know media and search, and the business intelligence people don't care about channels. I'm on tactical lists where there isn't anything you couldn't find out about delivery or email, but I haven't found that sweetspot yet for strategic marketers.
Hope you have a safe trip this year and if you do bestow a few gifts on me, thanks. Many people in our space will appreciate even more than I.
P.S. I promise to leave you cookies and milk by the tree.