This week marks an anniversary: One year ago, ClickZ launched this Email Marketing column. At the time, the industry was growing like gangbusters, but it hadn't exploded yet, at least not to the level it has reached over the last several months. Not quite in its infancy then (as some marketers were working in the discipline for a couple of years prior), but it wasn't quite the industry darling that it is today. Kim tells you how email marketing has evolved over the past year.
This week marks an anniversary: One year ago, ClickZ launched this Email Marketing column... written by yours truly. At the time, the industry was growing like gangbusters, but it hadn't exploded yet -- at least not to the level it has reached over the last several months. While I wouldn't go so far as to say it was in its infancy then (some of us were working in the discipline -- at least to a certain extent -- for a couple of years prior), but it wasn't quite the industry darling that it is today.
In fact, the industry has evolved quite a bit during the past year. Just about every major publication related to business, marketing, and the Internet has run a report or article on some aspect of email marketing. And new technologies have combined with once tradition-bound companies and organizations to launch breakthrough products to enhance email marketing efforts in a variety of ways.
Print trade publications such as I-Marketing News have launched entire sections dedicated to email marketing at least once per month. And some of the top industry research firms -- including Forrester, Jupiter, and eMarketer -- have created and released an increasing number of focused reports on selected areas such as email retention within the email marketing space.
Discussion lists, such as the ClickZ Forum, Online Advertising, and Ad-Marketing, have had members so fired up about certain email marketing topics that several weeks during this past year have been dedicated to these discussions.
Internet-related conferences that hone in on the topic of email marketing abound. In fact, any conference worth its salt usually offers several key sessions on it. And, of course, conferences such as ClickZ's B2C Email Marketing conference dedicate the entire event to it.
In other words, if you're hungry for information on email marketing, there's certainly no shortage of resources to find it.
Aside from the plethora of available content, what else has changed? The number of people in this space, for one thing. More companies. More technologies and ideas. And more individual wannabes than ever before grace this section of cyberspace. After all, this is the current industry "Promised Land," at least for the time being.
Rich media has become richer. Personalization has become more personal. Several players have either joined or stepped up to the ranks of pioneer RadicalMail in the rich media email space, including inChorus, bluestreak, MindArrow, and others. Companies like Dynamics Direct are combining that powerful rich media streaming video and audio technology with direct-response customization that allows email marketers to send dynamic messaging that addresses recipients by name and other key data points... powerful stuff.
And even more powerful stuff is coming down the pike. Think of all the things that will happen when bandwidth can accommodate (and make it easy to retrieve) technologies such as wireless rich media, subscription marketing messages (on a value-based and mainstream level), and more. I'm sure those will mark just the beginning of what is sure to be the next phase of email marketing "hubbub."
Here's to happy and successful email campaigns, everyone. And Happy Anniversary! Let's keep that hubbub going for a long, long time.
Kim MacPherson is President and Founder of Inbox Interactive, a full-service email marketing agency specializing in promotional copywriting, HTML design, planning, and deployment/tracking solutions. Kim is also the author of "Permission-Based E-mail Marketing That Works!"
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