Changing user behaviors can be an opportunity for those smart enough to get up from their desktop computers and walk around before they get extinguished.
The dinosaurs of the late Cretaceous period had no idea what was going to happen to them.
Unlike their modern day equivalents - traditional email marketers - the Cretaceous-Paleogene era dinosaurs had no data or information that would predict their imminent demise. After all, they were at the top of the food chain. They dominated their ecosystem. Abundant plant life bloomed and everything was great.
Until a huge rock from space crashed into the Yucatan Peninsula and exterminated them all. And some volcanoes erupted. It all happened pretty quickly from what we know from the geologic record.
But not every plant and animal on earth died. Many survived, and thrived, in a new world where the rules suddenly changed. It was a game-changer, an opportunity.
And in contrast to the dinosaurs, email marketers can predict where things are going. Email is going mobile. The challenge is that you cannot predict when a user will open on any given device.
This doesn't have to be a catastrophe. Changing user behaviors can be an opportunity for those smart enough to get up from their desktop computers and walk around before they get extinguished. That's where responsive design comes into play. Your email subscribers are on the move. You need to move with them.
The rise of the smartphone is clearly driving a renaissance for email. The signs are abundant. Just last week, Dropbox paid a reported $100 million in cash and stock for Mailbox, an email reader app that couldn't even onboard one million users. You can't run Mailbox on your laptop. It only runs on iOS devices that fit in the palm of your hand. It's an app designed for people who are mobile-centric.
Is that enough signal that things are changing?
According to digital marketing agency Knotice, 41 percent of commercial emails were opened on mobile devices in the second half of 2012.
And according to ExactTarget's 2012 Channel Preference Survey, 90 percent of smartphone owners access the same email account on mobile and desktop.
According to MarketingSherpa's 2013 Email Benchmark report, 58 percent of marketers are not designing for mobile.
Coincidentally in the same poll, 58 percent of the respondents claimed that the pervasiveness of mobile smartphones and tablets "will affect their email program in the next 12 months."
It's too late to be "mobile-first" in email. Email was desktop first. But for too many marketers, it's still "desktop only." Those are the dinosaur email marketers that I am talking about.
Your users are telling you something. They're voting with their thumbs. And all you have to do is look around and you'll see that it's time to get responsive and design for what we can predict: "Smartphones are here to stay."
Dinosaur Chasing a Caveman image on home page via Shutterstock.
Revolutionize your digital marketing campaigns at ClickZ Live San Francisco (August 10-12)!
Educating marketers for over 15 years, our action-packed, educationally-focused agenda offers 9 tracks to cover every aspect of digital marketing. Join over 500 digital marketers and expert speakers from leading brands. Register today!
As president of LiveIntent, Dave Hendricks devises corporate strategies and tries to simplify marketing language. Before growing LiveIntent, Dave was executive vice president (EVP) of operations at PulsePoint (then known as Datran Media), where he worked alongside LiveIntent chief executive (CEO) Matt Keiser and ran Datran's ESP StormPost (nka PostUp). A member of the founding executive team at ExperianCheetahMail, Dave began his email adventure at Pioneering ESP MessageMedia. Dave was named one of Business Insider's "Top 100 Technologists" in 2011 and Alley Watch claimed he was one of 15 people "changing advertising" in 2014. He plays electric guitar and you should follow him on Twitter @davehendricks.
US Consumer Device Preference Report
Traditionally desktops have shown to convert better than mobile devices however, 2015 might be a tipping point for mobile conversions! Download this report to find why mobile users are more important then ever.
E-Commerce Customer Lifecycle
Have you ever wondered what factors influence online spending or why shoppers abandon their cart? This data-rich infogram offers actionable insight into creating a more seamless online shopping experience across the multiple devices consumers are using.