Parry Malm on email automation and (lack of) ESP innovation

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Today sees the release of the ClickZ Digital Marketing Podcast series, featuring some of the experts who contributed to our Digital Trends 2016 report.

It features interviews with Tessa Wegert, Brian Clifton, Kelvin Newman and Parry Malm, looking at key trends for 2016.

Here’s a couple of excerpts from Parry Malm’s podcast. Parry is CEO of Phrasee, as well as a contributor to this site. He believes in anarchy in the email world.

Why automation isn’t always the answer

One trend from 2015 was the growth of email automation. It’s been widely adopted, but Parry argues that “a lot of people don’t understand that you shouldn’t always be doing it”.

As Parry explains:

(Email) marketing automation, within very specific and limited use cases, is a fantastic thing. But people are applying it where it should be applied and so now you start seeing things being automated where they really shouldn’t be. People don’t measure the effectiveness of automated campaigns. People don’t test if they work versus the status quo.

Automation has been a meme that has reached a tipping point but a lot of people don’t understand that they shouldn’t always be doing it.

Automation can be useful for transactional emails, such as post-purchase, abandoned basket emails, and welcome campaigns.

It’s less useful for long automated campaigns, as it doesn’t take external factors into account. Also, customers can spot automation.

ESPs and (lack of) innovation

The podcast also covers machine learning, and where it can be used appropriately. This brings him onto the lack of innovation from traditional email service providers (ESPs).

My advice to people out there is that, if you want to go down this advanced technology route to really delve into the language you use and offers which you give through the email channel, look outside of the traditional email companies.

As Parry says, innovation in the email world is not happening through ESPs.

This is because ESPs (and there are about 450 of them worldwide) are now a commodified resource, which produces a race to the bottom and lower prices which means less is spent on R&D.

Now we’re starting to see ESP-agnostic software launching into the marketplace. There’s Phrasee of course, but also companies like Movable Ink, Live Intent and Kick Dynamic.

Companies are realising that, due to the limitations of the market in which ESPs operate, there’s an opportunity for these small and nimble tech-first agnostic software to really make a difference to marketer’s lives.

There’s a lot more on these trends and much else besides in the full podcast

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