So, it has happened: For the first time since 1961, the Chicago Blackhawks have won Lord Stanley's Cup. As a hockey fan here in Chicago, it's hard to focus on anything other than last night's victory this morning. On the drive into the city, I listened as local radio stations reported the whereabouts of the Blackhawks...after landing at 3:47 AM at O'Hare airport, they moved from bar to bar and are now grabbing some breakfast at a "joint" by the United Center. While they have been celebrating, I, of course, have been thinking about email marketing.
The Microsoft Hotmail Team just released a new version of Hotmail that has important implications for marketers. The main purpose of the release is to "address inbox clutter" -- which seems to mean mainly marketing email. Microsoft has even coined a name for the non-spam, but unwanted mail that the company wants to help subscribers avoid -- it's called "graymail."
I was recently struck by all the analogies used by my fellow Email Insiders: Email is like the Olympics, like baseball, like a a newborn. I knew there were even more great analogies out there that would help us better appreciate and understand email marketing, so I asked folks on Twitter for their best #EmailAnalogy. Sixty tweets later, we had some great ones. Here are some of the ones that stood out to me:
A 12-year-old pianist sat down to play before a venerable musician and an audience of 50 or so observers. The young performer played classic after classic, from Mozart to Chopin, and he was note-perfect. One of the observers leaned over to the older musician and said, "Isn't this amazing?" The musician replied, "This kid is great at playing the piano. One of these days he'll learn to make music." To make music with our channel, you need to consider a few things that will directly impact how you operate and thrive in the future.
As many of you know by now, Stefan Pollard, one of the email marketing industry's most beloved figures, died recently. The best tribute I can give Stefan is to let his words speak for themselves. Following is a sampling of Stefan's views on some frequently debated topics that raged in various industry forums:
Now might be a good time to rethink the fixed-width template wisdom. This is clearly a convention born out of Web design best practices, but at odds with the way email was designed to work. Just compare the newsletter and marketing emails in your inbox to the correspondence emails from your contacts. If you are on a mobile device, the difference is obvious. If not, just narrow your window and compare. See how most of the correspondence emails nicely adjust to the change in width, while the others do not.
Email marketing hasn't been this exciting since late 2003, when I kept my browser window pointed to the House of Representatives floor proceedings site, refreshing every 10 minutes to see if CAN-SPAM had passed yet. The big change this time around centers on mobile and social marketing. While these channels are both far broader than email in many respects, there is a component of each that is simply "messaging." That's where email marketers need to step up to the plate and take some ownership.