• Do Email Marketers Just Not Care? DO NOT REPLY
    While we all think about opens and clicks as engagement metrics, inbox providers also consider "reply" an act of engaging -- and we often overlook it, blatantly. We pride ourselves as facilitators of conversation with our customers, yet somehow that conversation has become very one-directional. Marketers talking "to" customers, but not allowing them to talk back? Does that seem wrong to anyone else?
  • Hotmail's Battle Against Gray Mail: Boon Or Bane For Marketers?
    Hotmail has been releasing new features to combat gray mail over the past year that have left marketers wondering if they'll have an even harder time reaching the inbox. The good news is, the changes may actually be beneficial to senders and some will actually see their sending reputations improve. The bad news is, some senders may actually see response levels drop as subscribers tune out, filter, or block more email.
  • Getting Your Email Ready For Battle: Beating Inbox Distractions
    We all get excited about open rates, and it's true that once a subscriber opens an email, he or she is one step closer to taking the action we intended -- right? Well, not always. As we strive to win subscribers' attention and clicks, we are up against a tough lineup of inbox distractions, all ready to steal away our hard-fought conversions. Strengthen your email with the best armor for the inbox battles by considering your users' experiences.
  • Customer Insights -- Real-Time Vs. Near-Real-Time
    We can argue that we are moving to personalized, coordinated engagements that all drive a unique value to the consumer and that email is a catalyst to connecting these engagements. I've bought into this story for years, and tried to shape solutions to help deliver it. The challenge is there is really no business concept for "real time" and "marketing intelligence" in the same sentence. Yet, how do we reconcile marketing intelligence and real time to execute on the best, most relevant customer insight?
  • Are You a Lemming or a Leader?
    In the days following Steve Jobs' death, I found myself thinking, oddly enough, about Apple's TV commercials, especially "Lemmings," in which briefcase-toting office workers march off a cliff until one man lifts his blindfold and sees what's happening. Many marketers run their email programs like lemmings, because they copy a competitor's or peer's new practice without doing proper due diligence first. As a result, an effective email design might evolve into a mishmash of uncoordinated additions that obscure the email's main purpose, like the call to action.
  • Email + Social Integration: More Useful Than A Holy Grail
    Combining email and social media has become a sort of Holy Grail quest for marketers and the vendors who support them. It is an apt analogy. Combining the conversation and social spreading power of social media with the analytics and visibility of email would lend some much needed accountability to social media, increasing its adoption among companies that rely principally on email and earning it a protected line item status in the budget. As marketers, it's easy to love the potential of social media, but hard to quantify what resources to allocate to it until metrics comparing email to social …
  • The Appraisal Of Your Email Delivery
    Appraisals. Hmph. I am very much over assessments, appraisals, valuations -- pick your term. As many of you may remember from my previous articles, I have my house on the market. When the stars aligned, and I was able to secure an acceptable offer within seven weeks, I was on cloud 9! We flew through the inspection unscathed and just had to go through the appraisal process -- which we were assured would not be an issue. But that's when the wheels fell off the bus. In the world of email, the appraisal is equivalent to the inbox providers making …
  • Email Insider Summit: Call for Submissions
    We are looking for Email Insiders to join us in Deer Valley, Park City, Utah, Dec. 4-7. We made a call for submissions last spring and received some great proposals that were included in the agenda as a result. So here I am asking again.
  • Seven Holiday Email Marketing Predictions
    While the jingle bells can be heard only faintly at the moment, four weeks from now email marketers will be ringing them loudly. Just days after Halloween, the majority of retail emails will include some reference to the holiday season. Here are some of my predictions on how the holiday season will go this year:
  • Email: Downgraded As An Engagement Tool?
    If email were a stock, would you short it?   For many that live outside the email space, there seems to be a growing sentiment that email is diminishing in value as an asynchronous engagement vehicle.   While the projection for email growth is still climbing, the nature of the business is changing in many respects.  The response proxies are declining, the performance proxies are being challenged (conversion declining) and it’s never reached the scale of media in terms of reach and frequency without negative fanfare.   Email appending is still polarizing as a “responsible” way to reach customers that you engage through …
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