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8 Trends that Will Define the Future of Email Marketing

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Email marketing has experienced great shifts in recent years, and is poised to undergo dramatic changes before the end of the decade.

We explored the future of the channel in our recent “Email Marketing in 2020” report, where we asked 20 experts to share their vision for how email will change over the next several years. Their thought-provoking predictions touch on the subscriber experience, inbox functionality, deliverability, design and coding, the technology provider landscape, and much more.

In this presentation, we discuss 8 major themes from “Email Marketing in 2020”: (1) Channel Stability, (2) A Single View of the Customer, (3) Hyper-personalization, (4) Machine Learning & Automation, (5) Inbox Landscape & Functionality, (6) Interactivity, (7) Minimalism, and (8) Compliance & Privacy.

Along the way, we’ll share the perspective of our amazing contributors, whose advice will help you get ready for the changes ahead. Justine and I will also share the results from our surveys of thousands of consumers and marketers about key trends. Join us to get a head start on preparing for the future of email marketing!

Published in: Marketing

8 Trends that Will Define the Future of Email Marketing

  1. 1. 8 Trends That Will Define the Future of Email Marketing
  2. 2. For our Email Marketing in 2020 report, Litmus surveyed thousands of consumers and marketers and asked 20 experts about what email marketing will look like in the year 2020. @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  3. 3. Their thought-provoking predictions touch on the subscriber experience, inbox functionality, deliverability, design and coding, the technology provider landscape, and much more. @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  4. 4. Chad White @chadswhite • Research Director at Litmus • Author of Email Marketing Rules • Written thousands of posts and articles on email marketing • Quoted in over 100 publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  5. 5. Justine Jordan @meladorri • Email critic and popular industry speaker • VP Marketing at Litmus • Recipient of the 2015 EEC Email Marketing Thought Leader of the Year award • Producer of The Email Design Conference @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  6. 6. Over the next 45 minutes, we’re going to discuss 8 major themes from the report: 1. Channel Stability 2. A Single View of the Customer 3. Hyper-personalization @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  7. 7. 4. Machine Learning & Automation 5. Inbox Landscape & Functionality 6. Interactivity 7. Minimalism 8. Compliance & Privacy @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  8. 8. Theme #1 Channel Stability from Email Marketing in 2020
  9. 9. Needless to say, all of our email experts predicted a bright future for the channel. And the marketers we polled were generally quite optimistic as well… @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  10. 10. Most Marketers Foresee Even Higher ROI from Email Marketing Efforts, with 46.5% anticipating higher returns and only 33.6% anticipating lower returns in 2020 @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  11. 11. We considered that email marketers might be a little biased about the future of email, so we asked 1,200 US consumers, who told us… @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  12. 12. Channels with Staying Power 70.0% of consumers say that email will still exist in 10 years. Consumers were less certain about the future’s of Facebook, Cable TV, and all the other channels we asked about. @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  13. 13. @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  14. 14. 25-24 Year Olds Are Most Bullish on Email, with 72.1% of them saying they think email will still exist in 10 years @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  15. 15. AboveAverage Earners Optimistic about Email, with 65.2% of consumers in households making more than $60,000 a year saying email will still exist in 10 years. These consumers were less optimistic about all other marketing channels. @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  16. 16. Given that email’s current adoption and usage rates, email marketing’s stellar return on investment, and the fact that consumers prefer email for commercial communications, continued investments in email marketing are very safe. @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  17. 17. Part of email marketing’s stability will come from it being integrated into other channels as organizations de-silo, leading to…
  18. 18. Theme #2 A Single View of the Customer from Email Marketing in 2020
  19. 19. Fully Integrated: 84% of marketers agree that email will be fully integrated with other marketing channels 5 years in the future @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  20. 20. Today, the Single Customer View is a myth for most businesses. This will change as email is integrated with other marketing channels within Marketing Cloud services. Dave Chaffey Chief Executive Officer & Co-founder Smart Insights @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  21. 21. With many brands spending the past two years focusing on data and integrations, I predict that the next several years will focus on taking advantage of the single view of the customer. Cara Olson Director of Direct Marketing and eCRM DEG @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  22. 22. Successful organizations will break down data silos and share data from across the enterprise, creating a consistent subscriber experience across the entire lifecycle. Eric Stahl Senior Vice President of Product Marketing Salesforce Marketing Cloud @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  23. 23. The convergence of marketing technology with advertising technology is taking email marketing to another level. Email platforms will need to be able to integrate with platforms that handle the anonymous marketing data. Chris Lynch Senior Director of Product Marketing Oracle Marketing Cloud @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  24. 24. In the next 5 years, email will be seen as not just a high-ROI channel by itself but rather a platform that integrates with and makes other channels more successful. Loren McDonald Marketing Evangelist Silverpop, An IBM Company @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  25. 25. While still siloed in many organizations today, in 2020, email will not only be used in coordination with other channels, but behavioral data from email interactions will be used to power responses in other channels. Loren McDonald Marketing Evangelist Silverpop, An IBM Company @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  26. 26. Having that single view of the customer will allow marketers to send individually relevant emails through…
  27. 27. Theme #3 Hyper-personalization from Email Marketing in 2020
  28. 28. Completely Personalized: 76% of marketers agree that all email communication will be completely personalized 5 years in the future @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  29. 29. By 2020, hyper-personalization in marketing will reach a significant level, along with rules-based triggers, assimilation of the mobile channel, and connecting data from other channels and platforms. Jill LeMaire Redo Vice President of Digital Strategy and Insights Epsilon @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  30. 30. Email marketers will leverage data to create greater personalization, with a single view of the customer, putting email at the center of the convergence between the physical and digital worlds. Eric Stahl Senior Vice President of Product Marketing Salesforce Marketing Cloud @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  31. 31. Learning to drive loyalty with the use of contextual data clues—time, geo-location, weather, events, behavior, etc.—is gold. By 2020, the ability to use these data points to inform campaigns will become the status quo. Kristin Naragon Director of Email Solutions Adobe @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  32. 32. We will see broader and more extensive use of data…influenced by the Millennials’ concept that there is no expectation of privacy. Email has not taken advantage of the data-rich environment that other digital marketing channels enjoy. Ryan Phelan Vice President of Marketing Insights Adestra @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  33. 33. We might not be far from achieving some of the 1-to-1 marketing that appeared in Minority Report, but the impetus for change is going to going to come as leaders in the younger generation adapt to and evolve the incumbent technology. Ryan Phelan Vice President of Marketing Insights Adestra @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  34. 34. That hyper-personalization will be so complex that marketers will have to rely on…
  35. 35. Theme #4 Machine Learning & Automation from Email Marketing in 2020
  36. 36. Will machine learning, AI, and predictive software ever determine the majority of the content (subject lines, images, copy, etc.) in marketing emails? 66.1% say “Yes,” while 33.9% say “No.” @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  37. 37. Machine intelligence will manage and control the messaging to each individual across channels, creating the truly integrated experiences that are currently talked about a lot but rarely delivered. Tim Watson Email Marketing Consultant Zettasphere @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  38. 38. In order to deliver a one-to-one experience, customer data and content must be completely divorced from one another and algorithms applied that identify which content should be delivered to which customer, and when. Morgan Stewart Chief Executive Officer Trendline Interactive @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  39. 39. The client-approval step will shift toward reviewing content modules, not full creative, and signing off on targeting models, not customer segments. Morgan Stewart Chief Executive Officer Trendline Interactive @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  40. 40. The content of broadcast email must be personalised at huge scale. This includes subject lines, which may involve elements of AI to write the correct subject line for each individual in a campaign. Tim Watson Email Marketing Consultant Zettasphere @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  41. 41. Not only will email messages be smarter, but inboxes will be as well, thanks to changes in the…
  42. 42. Theme #5 Inbox Landscape & Functionality from Email Marketing in 2020
  43. 43. In the past few years, we’ve seen a number of new email clients but the death of Mailbox is a sign of that trend reversing. Fewer email clients means quicker testing and more time for innovation. Mark Robbins Email Developer Rebelmail @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  44. 44. Email readers are going to get better and better at helping recipients manage their email by factoring in contextual information and no longer simply displaying email by an arbitrary factor like recency. Daniel Burstein Director of Editorial Content MarketingSherpa @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  45. 45. Inbox concierge services will organize our messages based on our behavior and preferences, pushing some messages to the top, some into folders, or even acting on them then hiding them with no human interaction at all. Paul Farnell Chief Executive Officer & Co-founder Litmus @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  46. 46. Enhanced inbox triage and productivity tools are coming to market at the same time as a greater level of sophistication in fighting spam based on individual recipients’ preferences. Andrew Bonar Founder Deliverability Ltd. @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  47. 47. Beyond further breaking down the “first in on top” inbox paradigm, inboxes will also have much greater…
  48. 48. Theme #6 Interactivity from Email Marketing in 2020
  49. 49. I see interactive as a huge shift in email development. Early analytics have shown far greater engagement from users who receive interactive messages. Mark Robbins Email Developer Rebelmail @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  50. 50. Subscribers will be able to make purchases right inside a marketing campaign, without ever leaving their inboxes. Campaigns will offer more of an app-like experience, too, with embedded video and other interactivity. Tom Klein Vice President of Marketing MailChimp @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  51. 51. Expect the inbox to continue to morph into a more dynamic environment mirroring the web. Think images that change based on the time of day the email is opened, relevant video based on your preferences, and interactive features. Simms Jenkins Chief Executive Officer BrightWave @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  52. 52. Customer interactions will happen within the email, brand app, or device that displayed the message (like your refrigerator). You’ll make an online purchase directly from an email by simply using your thumbprint for authorization. Cara Olson Director of Direct Marketing and eCRM DEG @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  53. 53. Actually, it’s more accurate to say: Some inboxes will have more interactivity, while other inboxes are marked by their…
  54. 54. Theme #7 Minimalism from Email Marketing in 2020
  55. 55. Wearables will have emerged in a major way, heavily underscoring the need to move to more contextual experiences. Messaging will be short, providing immediate value—long- form content will most likely get discarded. Jill LeMaire Redo Vice President of Digital Strategy and Insights Epsilon @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  56. 56. Email will become more real time. This will not only change consumers’ medium for consumption, but also the frequency of response, and possibly lead to shorter and more instantly consumable message content. Ryan Phelan Vice President of Marketing Insights Adestra @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  57. 57. By 2020, I expect the bulk of email marketing to be similar to the experience of Gmail’s Quick Actions. The whole message will be the length of a current subject line with a call-to-action. Dan Denney Front-End Developer Code School @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  58. 58. I believe email volume is going to increase dramatically by 2020, but it won’t feel like it. Inboxes will prioritize messages, many email interactions will be brief, and many emails won’t feel like emails at all. Paul Farnell Chief Executive Officer & Co-founder Litmus @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  59. 59. New standardized data formats will be pivotal in the next wave of email communication: machine-to-machine messaging. Email is the universal plumbing that connects the Internet of Things. Paul Farnell Chief Executive Officer & Co-founder Litmus @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  60. 60. Emails will be viewed more as messages, and these will display on devices that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT). Think email-message alerts on your appliances, when you start your car, walk into your house, etc. Cara Olson Director of Direct Marketing and eCRM DEG @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  61. 61. Given how distributed and pervasive emails will be, there will be a greater focus on…
  62. 62. Theme #8 Compliance & Privacy from Email Marketing in 2020
  63. 63. Tougher Laws Ahead: 46.8% of marketers foresee stronger anti- spam laws within 5 years, while only 6.5% foresee weaker laws @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  64. 64. The Internet of Things has the potential to generate trillions of messages a day, and this tidal wave of email could be laden with all kinds of personally identifiable information (PII), requiring more and more security. Len Shneyder Vice President of Industry Relations SparkPost @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  65. 65. Email’s format will become even more portable. We will see more of it incorporated into things like smart televisions and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Len Shneyder Vice President of Industry Relations SparkPost @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  66. 66. By 2020, ESPs being the authenticated senders won’t be enough for end users. ESP customers will have to authenticate mail themselves. Overhead and management will increase for both ESPs and their customers. Laura Atkins Owner Word to the Wise @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  67. 67. We can expect users to demand the right to opt-out of many data points that marketers take for granted. Open tracking, device tracking, location tracking, click-through behavior, and other data may all be subject to subscriber opt- ins and opt-outs. Andrew Bonar Founder Deliverability Ltd. @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  68. 68. The result of all these changes and improvements is that subscriber expectations are going to rise to the point that…
  69. 69. No longer will email work “just because.” Only smart, innovative, and highly dynamic emails will drive interaction, and generic blasts will get weeded out of the subscribers’ priorities, if not outright emotionally junked. Simms Jenkins Chief Executive Officer BrightWave @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  70. 70. Where best practice dictates that permission, personalization, and relevance are key to success today, in the future those tenets will barely be considered a minimum acceptable standard. Andrew Bonar Founder Deliverability Ltd. @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  71. 71. So while email will remain an incredibly valuable channel for brands in the years ahead, marketers will have to…
  72. 72. (1) Work harder to build trust and send relevant emails that work everywhere that email is read; and…
  73. 73. (2) Stay flexible, curious, and collaborative because email marketing will continue to evolve and become more integrated with other channels and disciplines.
  74. 74. The term “email service provider” won’t make sense anymore because these messages will span more than an email inbox. So get ready to change your title from Email Marketer to Messaging Marketer. Cara Olson Director of Direct Marketing and eCRM DEG @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  75. 75. This evolution requires the email marketer to greatly expand their breadth of responsibility and act as the main lieutenant responsible for all digital interactions. Chris Lynch Senior Director of Product Marketing Oracle Marketing Cloud @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive
  76. 76. To read all of their predictions, download Email Marketing in 2020 for free at: litmus.com/lp/email-marketing-in-2020 @chadswhite @meladorri #LitmusLive

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