5 email marketing predictions

Automating campaigns

This sits nicely with lead nurturing and more marketers have been getting involved with automating their campaigns. It’s been seen in varying stages with some marketers beginning to send automated emails based on birthdays and others getting advanced with behavioural based campaigns that link with other channels. Amazingly the most basic automation is still not being applied across the board – the ‘welcome campaign’ is absent from many a brand yet has the largest impact as it is capturing the recipient when they are at their most engaged. 2013 will continue to see the use of automations rise and software providers will make it easier with new features and advice on how to get them set up.

Mobile optimised email designs

Whilst everyone is talking about the impact of handheld devices on email campaigns, a surprising few are actually doing anything about it. Whether it is because the internal knowledge is not yet high enough to apply changes or it is a cost restriction because new templates are likely to be an unplanned cost to the business, mobile optimised emails have yet to become mainstream. Will it happen in 2013? We’ll see a shift in that direction by more advanced marketers but I think it’ll be something we continue to talk about into 2014. Avoid this by making sure that you plan higher template costs into your budget (or train up your internal creative staff).

Data audits

Segmenting data and not ‘batch and blast’ is something that features regularly in email marketing predictions. It’s something that we continuously talk to clients about and that is still a problem for deliverability and relevancy. This year ISPs got even tougher on what was acceptable and wasn’t, making it harder to get in the inbox and bringing this topic higher up the priority list. Whilst it’s very tempting (and much easier) to send out a blanket email to the whole database without knowing the state of it, it’s something that is just not going to fly if marketers want to keep pushing their ROI. So in 2013 we’ll start seeing a raft of data audits happening, especially for more advanced email marketers and those with less than desirable deliverability. They will start to pay more attention to how they are getting data, how old it is and the quality of it.

Realising attribution

Attribution was a very popular term in 2012 and in principle I think it would be great to be able to measure ROI more accurately by contributing channels, not just those that were first or last click. With Google Analytics adding multi-channel funnels to their midst attribution has opened up possibilities to all marketers, not just those with large budgets. However, it is not a simple reporting structure to get your head around, requires high levels of analysis and also the ability to be able to only focus on what’s important. You can get lost for days in path analysis and which combinations of channels work best out of triple figure variations. Also (and this is a biggie for true multichannel marketers) it is not possible to get a view across both on and offline activity. That’s not great for the email marketer who uses email to support offline events, instore activity and other offline promotions. So in 2013 whilst attribution will still be talked about, the conversations will be more practical in nature as the topic moves from buzz to realisation.

Joining an overcrowded inbox in December

Regardless of the fact that every year Christmas happens and more and more sales hit retailers, making it a very popular time for marketing, brands continue to vie for attention in an overcrowded inbox. It is rare to see Christmas emails before December even though most Christmas shopping in done before the last two weeks of the month. So why do we continue to wait until December before sending out numerous gift related emails? In 2013 I’d be very surprised to see this trend change; I seem to get more rather than less emails each year from brands that until December are relatively quiet. It would be nice to see some starting in November and also for frequency to be capped in December – the rules of not over emailing recipients don’t change just because marketers want to push more sales during the festive period.