Earlier this month I had the pleasure of joining many of my fellow email industry colleagues in Miami at the Email Evolution Conference. Hosted annually by the Direct Marketing Association’s Email Experience Council (eec), the event kicks off the email conference year by bringing brands, advocates, vendors and thought leaders together under the south Florida sun to discuss, debate and share innovations and pressing issues central to email marketing. Here without further ado are key insights, wisdom and lessons learned (including my own) from this year’s event:
Email Address Guardianship: Whose Responsibility Is It Anyway?Last week’s headlines about the massive theft of 53 million email addresses from Home Depot seems the straw that broke the camel’s back when it comes to 2014’s barrage of data breaches. The year has seen a veritable flood of hacks and breaches at retailers (Target, Best Buy, eBay) restaurants (PF Chang’s, Subway) and even financial institutions (JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America). The verdict is clear: no data protection system is foolproof, and when it comes to data theft there is no sacred ground – hackers will take all the personally identifiable consumer information (PII) they can get.
VIDEO: Email Marketing List Hygiene and Deliverability Essentials for Success (and Pitfalls to Avoid)
In my ongoing series of email marketing conundrums, I couldn’t possibly overlook this one: declining email marketing open rates. Although much has been written on the subject, my goal is to provide you with not just a diagnostic checklist for investigating why open rates are falling nor to hand you a “best practices” list of what to do to reverse the decline, but to go beyond that by (most of all) giving you a “reality check” on the subject and presenting a new, more constructive way to see this situation, as well as a new mindset on email marketing performance measurement altogether. In short: while we do need to pay attention to declining open rates, there’s too much focus on them at the expense of more meaningful email marketing performance measures.
There’s a heated debate in email marketing over what to do with inactive subscribers and whether or not they can seriously harm a sender’s reputation, deliverability and response enough to justify no longer emailing them. The passion on both sides of this issue – the potential harmful downside of continuing to mail “inactives” juxtaposed with the potential helpful upside of keeping them on your list – makes this argument one worth taking a closer look at.