• Don't Ask What Their Open Rate Was
    More times than not, I sit at conferences and seminars and hear many of the same questions asked: "Do you have deliverability issues at AOL?" "What is your average open rate?" Or my favorite so far: "Why can't the subject line be clickable?" While I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as a stupid question, I do often wonder what the askers of such questions intend to take away from the response. Instead, why not prepare a list of questions that will actually provide some insight to take back to the office and do something with?
  • Relevance Is Overrated
    Marketers, especially email marketers, are obsessed with the topic of relevance. Of course, there are good reasons for this obsession. Messages targeted to subscribers based on their interests yield higher response rates. Too many irrelevant messages increase the likelihood people will unsubscribe from future email messages. In recent years, I have become obsessed with the question, "What companies do customers think do the best job marketing to them?" After considering the thousands of responses received through surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews, something occurred to me: relevance is overrated.
  • The Next Wave Affecting Email Design
    Email design is constantly changing, blown this way and that by the ever-evolving inbox environment and changes in consumer behavior. In past years, email design needed to adjust to images being blocked by default, the increasing use of preview panes, and the emergence of SWYN functionality, among other factors. Our upcoming report, "Email Design & Coding Recommendations," addresses the current wave of changes affecting email design, including the rapid adoption of HTML-friendly smartphones, the exploding tablet market, and the launch of Facebook Messages. Here's a sneak peek:
  • Measurement By Averages
    If we were Vegas odds brokers, what type of odds would we have on the future growth of email marketing in 2015 vs. other emerging channels? I've said for years that email is not dead. Several trends and observations that will shift how we hedge bets on the channels:
  • Email Decision-Making: Beyond Revenue Or Best Practices
    "Where should I put the unsubscribe link?" "Should I use a prechecked box to increase opt-ins?" "Should I send email to the addresses we collected via business cards gathered at trade shows three years ago?" Whenever someone asks questions like these about email marketing, the answer has seemingly been pretty easy: "It depends, so test it. When in doubt, follow the generally accepted best practice." But, like everything else in the email world, I believe the conversation has become much more complex, and the easy answer often isn't the right one.
  • Combating Pandora's Inbox: Email Marketing After the Breach
    s someone who has been working in email marketing for more than a decade, I have been anticipating the day when the industry would finally get the attention it deserves. Well, earlier this month, it got attention in spades -- but for the wrong reasons. As consumers began getting emails from top brands informing them that their names and email addresses had been stolen, email marketing as an industry was formally introduced to the consumer consciousness. Before this month, hardly anyone knew who Epsilon was or how it worked with their favorite brands. That's not the case anymore.
  • Solving Problems: It's A Beautiful Thing
    Like many people, I was surprised when Cisco announced the discontinuation of its popular Flip camera. The tiny size and ease of use made this digital video camera a favorite gift for holidays and graduations last year. The reason for shuttering the business unit came down to the camera losing its uniqueness. Cell phones now have the ability to take video, so who needs to carry two devices? This turn of events made me wonder if email service providers (ESPs) have fallen into the same rut of being hard to distinguish among their competition in the marketing universe. In other …
  • Four Things You Can Do Now About Privacy
    The specter of privacy legislation looms over our industry (and others). For a while now, we've anticipated it with a sense of dread otherwise reserved for the four horsemen of the apocalypse, under the assumption that any regulation attempted by Congress will likely be more harmful than helpful. That may be inaccurate. Industry groups are bringing together insights into customer behavior alongside the latest in data protection protocols to help guide any legislation down a path that should help rather than harm. In the meantime, here are four things that we can do now:
  • A Brief History Of Anti-Spam Efforts (And A Guess About The Future)
    The history of deliverability for the last decade has been driven by the fight that large mailbox providers have waged against the Internet "axis of evil" -- those that abuse messaging. A brief history of the battle (highly simplified, highly impressionistic, with approximate dates) would look something like this:
  • Five Hot Tips for Cool Summer Email Programs
    Seattle may have seen some snow flurries last week, but the calendar tells us that summer is fast approaching. That means it's time to start soaking up some inspiration for sunny-day email campaigns. Here are our top five tips for 2011 summer success:
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