This is the third year we have collected and curated email marketing predictions. It looks as if it’s the year of the platform, the emails sent, and the details/design of their content.
The top 4 categories for 2018 are emails and ESPs, content, data analysis, and segmentation/personalization. This is the same top 4 categories as 2017, but in a different order. Data analysis slips from 1st to 3rd place and is surpassed by emails and ESPs for the number one slot.
We have summarized the predictions by category and charted all 3 years on the first tab of this spreadsheet, the second tab provides the prediction details, the prognosticators and links to the references.
Emails and ESPs
It’s the end of ESPs as we knew them. No longer do ESPs just talk about sending newsletters. Over the past year we have seen a multitude of deep data integrations with ecomm store data, Facebook and Google ad serving, the inclusion of web based behavioral triggers, landing pages and native CRMs taking the place of simple email lists.
ESPs are becoming command centers for digital outreach on all levels. We will see omnichannel commerce become unified commerce. And with the barrage of emails and other digital communication at an ecomm cadence, the concern becomes the passive opt-out.
To keep consumers engaged, email content will become shorter, more relevant, and easier to act upon.
Content will be the answer to engaging the consumer in 2018. Every trick in the book will be used to get emails open, including typography, interactive features, video, text only emails, and yes, emojis!
In the end, what will really succeed, is speaking (writing) in a natural voice, being sincere and consistent with your message, and sending shorter, one goal communications.
So why has data analysis slipped to third? We think its because the conversation is switching from analyzing data, to the real world application of making platforms more inclusive, content more relevant and moving us forward toward 1 to 1 communications.
Data analysis will continue to improve how we relate to our customers and predictive analytics will lead customers down paths that are yet to be discovered by them. Machine learning and AI are already beginning to handle more of the complex interaction we are taking for granted.
Chatbots will continue to supplement customer service and support. This year they will begin to evolve beyond the hype of machine learning and actually become useful in helping grow sales.
With all the deep data integrations and use of machine learning, hyper-segmentation is possible on a grand scale. Tying this all together will create better personalization and a deeper understanding of customer evolution. A better understanding of our customer’s behavior will create a longer lifetime value.
Marketing automation evolves beyond just a welcome series or a bunch of emails just to keep the sales funnel full. Automation will be used to keep customers once you get them.
Automation using AI technologies will make emails more human. It will also make automations easier to use for small businesses.
Brands will continue to use Facebook for advertising, but will need to fine tune their messages for higher quality as Facebook puts priority back on the individual and away from brands. Influencer marketing will gain greater attention within the FB walled garden as an influencer’s profile is closer the a friend’s and may be more prominent in a user’s news feed.
Messenger ad testing will become more prevalent and retargeting spends will be optimized.
Security issues for email lists have been somewhat quelled by instituting SSL certificates on web pages and Captchas on signup forms. The conversation is shifting more towards privacy and personal data protection as the implementation of GDPR nears.
Social influencers will continue to play a significant role in marketing, but we will also see a shift toward a more constrained and thoughtful use of these influencers as the political and behavioral missteps of the past bring light to ramifications of poor choices.
Mobile purchasing will reach a tipping point. While mobile shopping has already reached a tipping point, in the coming year we will see mobile shopping sales come closer to that of desktop.
Sales will finally realize the importance of a homepage.
List growth didn’t even make the cut this year. It seems the conversation this year will revolve more around how to keep your list fresh and engaged, rather than just the size of your list.
We look forward to seeing how these predictions unfold through the year. Although blockchain technology and email tokens didn’t enter the picture in this year’s predictions, you can bet your last bitcoin this year will see some innovative attempts of trying to use the technology in email marketing.