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Ken Magill

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Email Marketing Predictions for 2012

1/3/12

By Ken Magill

Everybody makes them. I normally hate them. But I’m short on material, so here are my email marketing predictions for 2012:

Someone will ask me where they can buy email lists.

At some point this year, I will give a talk somewhere and either during the formal Q&A or after the talk is over, someone will ask me where they can buy email lists. And when I say: “Well, you really can’t buy email addresses, or, rather, you can but you probably won’t like the results,” they will look at me incredulously and say: “Then how am I supposed to grow my file?”

“Give people a reason to want to communicate with you,” I will think, but will not say because if I say it they’ll think I’m being a wise ass. But that is what I’ll be thinking.

Just when we thought it wasn’t possible, the word "relevancy" will get even more annoying.

“As people’s email inboxes get more and more cluttered, it’s imperative for marketers to craft campaigns that standout from the crowd. Moreover, with ISPs increasingly using engagement metrics to determine which mail to deliver into people’s inboxes—and which to deliver to people’s spam folders—savvy marketers can overcome deliverability challenges by sending more relevant email by implementing list segmentation.”

There. I just wrote the lead to about a third of the trade articles that will be published about email marketing this year. You’re welcome.

The word relevancy in email marketing is just a one-word reference to the age-old direct-marketing concept of offer and list. Telling a marketer they should send relevant emails is akin to telling a retailer he should stock his shelves with products people want. Uh, gee George. Ya think?

Experts will call for email marketers to segment their email files when they have no idea what’s involved in producing and managing the creative alone.

Database marketing expert Arthur Hughes had several articles published in 2011 explaining that just 20 percent of marketers he had worked with segmented their email files. Why? Because creating and managing all the different pieces of collateral is too painful. Marketers are finding that if they increase the volume of email they make more money, and they do it without having to hire additional creative talent, Hughes wrote. So that’s what they do.

Now, some are going to argue that as ISPs increasingly use engagement metrics such as clicks and opens to determine whether incoming mail gets delivered into spam folders or inboxes, marketers will have to segment. And they would be wrong.

As long as the mail doesn’t bounce and the email marketing program is profitable, most marketers will take the path of least resistance and mail the same message to their whole file.

I will write one or more follow-up articles explaining how a kind reader more politely than I deserved pointed out how wrong I was about something the previous week.

What will I be wrong about? Who knows? There are so many things to be wrong about even within the confines of email marketing. I just know it will be something. It’s always something.

People will post obnoxious anonymous comments on The Magill Report.

As long as the nasty anonymous stuff is aimed at me, we’re cool.

The red blotchy thingies on my face that say: “This guy’s a drinker” will grow more pronounced.

Cheers.

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Terms: Feel free to be as big a jerk as you want, but don't attack anyone other than me personally. And don't criticize people or companies other than me anonymously. Got something crappy to say? Say it under your real name. Anonymous potshots and personal attacks aimed at me, however, are fine.

Posted by: Morgan Stewart
Date: 2012-01-03 17:15:38
Subject: A True Sage...

I look forward to your article on December 31, 2012 pointing out that you were 100% correct with these predictions and announcing your departure from the email industry to become a full time soothsayer. Nice one!

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