Three Positive E-Mail Marketing Trends

  |  November 1, 2007   |  Comments

Three current - and very positive - e-mail marketing trends.

It's budget season, so I've been talking with clients about their plans and objectives for the coming year. What's struck me most is how far direct marketers have come in understanding online marketing in general and e-mail in particular. The following three changes show how our industry is maturing.

Consumer Value Proposition

The first, and perhaps the most exciting, trend is marketers accepting the need to focus on recipients' expectations and requirements from company communications, on the value proposition for the recipient. This speaks to a critical difference between online and traditional direct marketing. Many fundamental aspects of online marketing flow from this one insight. The value of permission, list hygiene, segmentation, relevance, timeliness, and profiles all become obvious when one realizes in the online world the consumer is control. To be successful marketers, you must embrace this fact.

Print direct marketing was always about what a company wanted to say, when, and how often. What consumers wanted was never a consideration beyond how communications affected conversion rates. This attitude translated online into wording privacy policies and opt-in forms to be as vague as possible so "we can do whatever we like." Messaging frequency was based on quarterly sales objectives regardless of recipient preference. It was seen in approaching segmentation by trying to figure out how many recipients we can blast without getting blocked.

Now marketers are really taking a recipient-centric approach and focusing on the user experience. They are setting, meeting, and exceeding users expectations. They work to understand which recipients are interested in the content they provide, which ones are not, and why. Consideration is given to information overload and inbox flooding. This year, I'm seeing a lot more of the latter and a lot less of the former. That's a good thing for users and a recipe for success for marketers.

Media Integration

The second positive trend is a focus on multiple media and integration between those media. Businesses are always looking for the next great marketing tool, platform, or channel, but this is a much more nuanced understanding. Companies are looking beyond mainstream direct response media (print, e-mail, Web banners, etc.) to emerging channels, including SMS, blogs, podcasts, and RSS.

More crucial, companies are looking at how these channels will complement and integrate with existing communications rather than just seeking the next big thing. They're looking at which consumers will utilize these channels and how. From this, they can determine what messaging will be appropriate and effective in these channels. Currently, it's about baby steps, identifying and testing likely emerging channels. In future it will be about integration to maximize ROI (define) and enhance the user experience.

Interdisciplinary Programs

The final change is a significant increase in interdisciplinary and cross-organizational programs. In large enterprises, departments and business units can be extremely proprietary, competitive, even combative. High-level efforts at integration have grown out of a focus on the user experience, the understanding that recipients neither know nor care about an organization's internal silos and fiefdoms.

This change is manifesting in many ways, including programs to ensure consistent, one-voice communications, company-wide preference management, and multidepartment messaging. The end result is more streamlined messaging that better leverages an organization's knowledge about customers and prospects. In turn, this leads to better campaigns and higher ROI for the organization and an improved user experience for recipients.

Issues of deliverability, measurement, list hygiene, and growth remain, but this year they seem to be less of a focus. There's an implicit understanding that they'll continue to be challenges but the focus must be on delivering effective and valuable communications for the company and the recipients. And that's how it should be.

Until next time,

Derek

Want more e-mail marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our e-mail columns, organized by topic.

ClickZ Live New York What's New for 2015?
You spoke, we listened! ClickZ Live New York (Mar 30-Apr 1) is back with a brand new streamlined agenda. Don't miss the latest digital marketing tips, tricks and tools that will make you re-think your strategy and revolutionize your marketing campaigns. Super Saver Rates are available now. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Derek Harding

Derek is the managing director of J-Labs, Javelin Marketing Group's technology skunkworks, a role that draws on his 20 years of experience and leadership in the fields of marketing and technology. A British expatriate based in Seattle, Washington, Derek is perhaps better known as the founder and technologist behind Innovyx, one of the first email service providers later acquired by the Omnicom Group. An industry veteran and thought-leader, Derek is a regular expert author, contributor, conference speaker, and takes an active role in a number of industry and trade groups.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Email newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING TRAINING

Featured White Papers

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line
82 percent of shoppers say they would buy more items from a brand if the emails they sent were more personalized. This white paper offer five tactics that will personalize your email beyond the subject line and drive real business growth.

WEBINARS

Resources

Jobs

    • Customer Service Consultant
      Customer Service Consultant (Bonner and Partners) - Delray BeachBonner & Partners: Full-time Customer Service Consultant Position Who we are...
    • Financial Editor
      Financial Editor (Confidential) - DurhamSIX FIGURE EDITORS WANTED: To enforce lofty NEW editing standards. Easy Conditions Unlikely. Promotion and...
    • Information Processing Specialist
      Information Processing Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreInformation Processing Specialist – The IP specialist position ensures the successful...