The Power of the People: What Email Marketers Are Talking About Going Into 2014

I had the good fortune of participating in what I thought was a uniquely compelling webinar with email marketing experts DJ Waldow and Chad White recently.

We all have known each other for some time and had books released this past year. We were all truly excited for each other and consumers seemed to be buying all three of our books during their email geek shopping sprees.

I approached DJ and Chad about doing something “cool” and “different” and we settled on a webinar… which typically is neither cool nor different. Most webinars are thinly veiled sales pitches with boring demos and generic best practice advice. One thing we knew was we didn’t want that.

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So, Chad, DJ and I decided to crowdsource the questions, which was really fun since we didn’t know what to expect and couldn’t go the softball route! We added BrightWave’s Jay Jhun as email moderator (his twitter handle @emailrocks helped seal the deal) and we were off to having something sort of special. You can be the judge!

The types of questions asked really demonstrated both the power of the people and just how far email marketing as an industry has come. Email ninjas and gurus may set the agenda too often, but these questions and topics were evident of what really is on email marketing practitioners’ minds. I wanted to share the most popular questions with you, to give you an idea of what the people are thinking and talking about as we move into what looks to be another great year for email in 2014.

Through the power of email and social media, we had hundreds of votes cast what they wanted to hear during this webinar. The most popular question proved how far digital marketing has come when we think about what is important and where we want clarity: “What do you suggest as the best way to measure engagement?”

This question triggered some lively conversation and opinions on a subject that isn’t always black and white.

A connected question was also voted up and seemed to check a lot of controversial email boxes: “What do you think is the actual importance of engagement in terms of deliverability (compared to content and reputation)?”

The social media elephant trounced in the room next with the second most popular question: “What kind of trends are you seeing marketers use when integrating email with social media?” I love this question, because it wasn’t the more primitive version, “Is email still important because of social?” or something along those misguided lines.

The digital theme of 2013 found its way to the top of our webinar, with the probing question “With the shift towards mobile, what are the most important changes will we need to make to serve relevant content to our users? (template segmentation by device, etc?)”

We couldn’t let Gmail’s Promotion Tab not make it into our conversation and the question was a great two-fold one: “How has Gmail’s new Tab layout affected the email marketing landscape and do you expect other ISPs to follow suit?”

We were able to jump into two longstanding and still important questions in our bonus round. “Can you talk about a few best practices on how to manage email addresses that haven’t opened an email in X amount of time?” and “What do you suggest for accurately setting (and adjusting) the frequency of an email campaign?”

Great questions and light years away from, “What is the best day to send an email?” and “What is a good open rate?” For year, those have been the two standard questions email marketers – and their bosses – want answered. Of course, tune in to the webinar to see what the 3 of us had to say about these questions. Who knows, we may even take our show on the road next year.

Happy holidays to my readers and thank you for your time, interest and feedback. See you in 2014!

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