The Future of Email Marketing: Part 1

January 23, 2015




Still Kicking After All These Years

Email marketing gets a bad rap. It has a reputation for being a bit boring as a direct response channel. Every year it seems to be on the verge of death at the hands of the latest digital communication tool touted as The Future of Messaging. Yet, we're still here.

Email marketing continues to trudge on, and it still ranks as the highest ROI among all digital marketing tools.

Despite the constant death threats, companies attributed 23% of their sales to email marketing in 2014, which is up 18% from 2013. So what can we look forward to in email marketing's future? Mobile optimization, personalization and better segmentation to name a few. Let's start with four trends that will change the future of marketing.

Personalized Email Communication
Email service providers (ESPs) and third party products can filter the information that goes into consumers' inboxes. Because of this, consumers are choosey about the content they engage with.

Marketers have recognized that untargeted email blasts email have lost their effectiveness. They're experimenting with personalizing email content to better fit their audience's interests and demographics. For example, young adults who rent are not interested in home insurance. But, renter's insurance would make a good email marketing topic for them.

The Key to Cross-Channel Marketing
Facebook and Twitter have developed targeting methods called Custom Audiences and Tailored Audiences. By using the email lists you've already built, these platforms allow marketers to send targeted ads to your users. This way, you don't have to spend your entire advertising budget on demographic or geo-targeted ad buys.

These features create opportunities to send targeted ads to users in any way deemed fit. It can be broad like send to all the users on my newsletter list or specific like customers who have bought a product within the last 48 hours.

The key here is using the email address as an identifier to engage with clients on different channels. Why? Most consumers use their email addresses to sign up for websites and online activities. We expect to see more platforms adopt using the email address as the identifier because of this.

Integration With Other Marketing Channels
Custom and tailored audiences are an example of how businesses will integrate email. Yet, marketers seem to think there is plenty more on the horizon in relation to integration. What this integration will look like though is yet to be seen.

There are many significant challenges to integrated marketing and some may be easy to address and solve. Those issues like strategies, databases integrations, and process and cultural changes may be longer.

It's clear integrating email with other marketing channels may be too ambitious to happen in 2015. But, over the next five years it is a possibility.

Automated Email Campaigns
Automation technology has been around for some time. But most agencies fail to maximize its potential by using only a handful of automated triggers.

We'll see more automated campaigns as email integration grows and agencies become more time-starved.

In part two we'll discuss six important factors that will impact the future of email marketing.

Got a question about these trends or email marketing? Leave a comment below.


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