Today, the future is much clearer. For me, it's a concept I'm calling "mocial": the convergence of mobile/social/local/email, driven by a few key trends: Facebook has become the second Web. Mobile devices are the norm. Check-ins and daily deals are the new coupons. Smartphone apps are moving users off the Web. These and other trends are opening opportunities for email to increase value in the marketing ecosystem. What separates email marketing from these other channels is its ability to deliver dynamically targeted messages in a true one-to-one fashion.
The frenzy of a good holiday season creates a whole new kind of stress for marketers and advertisers. 2010 holiday season jumped off to a great start in November, followed by comScore's report of the first billion-dollar day in our history on Cyber Monday. While shopping is up, so is the amount of email big brands are sending. We've seen a 40% increase in volume across the largest brands -- not just more email, but increased use of segmentation, creative testing, custom-date driven promotions and auto responder programs. In order to keep up with this pace in 2011, marketers and ...
Email is a terrific channel -- everyone wants to use it to drive more exposure and success for their marketing programs. And when that success is realized, it is these folks who will pat themselves on the back for a marketing program that was planned and executed flawlessly. It is also this same group of people that will ultimately blame the email channel for poor program performance. Funny -- it wasn't your lack of planning or misdirected idea that caused the failure... it must have been because of the email. (Sense my sarcasm?)
Since my firm first got into the business of monitoring inbox placement and reputation (2003), this past year (2010) has been one of the more interesting. Most of the changes we've seen in 2010 are in response to two big trends: 1) the continued growth of "graymail"; and 2) an increased focus on making email safe.<
We are always impressed with email marketers that drive engagement and conversation by putting a face on their brand. Apple consistently reminds subscribers about its in-store Specialists in email recovery modules, as the company does in this holiday email -- and other brands go further by featuring important minds behind the brands.
If you had asked me that question a few weeks ago, my answer would have been, "Yes, always." As with most of my colleagues in the email marketing industry, I feel strongly that permission is at the core of email. That being said, some recent events -- conversations as well as personal experiences -- have caused me to pause and reevaluate permission. Allow me to explain.
It's understood among email marketers that correction emails generally have higher open rates than regular emails. But using "oops" or similar terms just to get a higher open rate is simply deception. The practice is no better than the trickery of those direct marketers who print "Official Business" on their envelopes.
Of all the metrics and analytics available to email marketers, none is harder to countenance than the unsubscribe rate. Not coincidentally, it is also the metric most often ignored or at least dismissed by email marketers, in favor of numbers that speak instead to the success of our messages. For most email marketers, unsubscribes constitute a relatively small percentage of a list, and can certainly be marginalized by focusing on the aspects of the email program that drive the business forward. But relatively is a dangerous word. It means we are rationalizing a failure, instead of learning from it.
The holiday season represents two completely different trains of thought. As a consumer, it's the deluge of offers and options I have available to help with my buying decisions. The holidays are always a conflict between convenience, timing and budget optimization. As a marketer, my world revolves around "decision management": maximizing consumer traffic (who, when they are ready to buy) and convenience (where and how they can streamline the purchase) and promotion (what creates the urgency).
I just got home from the Email Insider Summit in Park City, Utah after acting as the programming chairperson and MC for the event. While it would be challenging for me to provide a comprehensive recap, I wanted to touch on a few things that stood out. Walking away, it is clear that despite skeptics, email is alive, well, and growing. One need look no further than the $2 billion-dollar annual revenue reported by Groupon and the fact that much of the company's success has come as the direct result of its email efforts. But if that's not enough, consider ...