The Future of Email Marketing
It is obvious that we are seeing the online universe adopt a societal structure which can best be defined as medieval: Social communities form and erect insurmountable barriers to keep out barbarians. These communities are highly selective as to who is granted citizenship and all outsiders are termed as heathen vandals to be shunned... unless these rapacious invaders can prove their positive contribution.
An email marketer is invariably placed in the position of the belligerent outlander in today's social networking-based web. Although a handful of companies have found success in pounding mercilessly at the barricades with their siege artillery, the intelligent marketer takes advantage of finesse, not brute force.
To maintain a healthy ROI, email marketers in the future will have to adopt such finesse. The first step is to comprehend your potential client to a degree far beyond a name and an @ symbol. There are endless clues to the individual's preferences and needs, all you have to do is look at their responses, purchases, and queries to your company. If you can mine information from this data you can now relate to the client as an individual, not just a credit card number.
The next step is to engage that individual in a way that stands out from the pack. For example, future marketers may appeal through individualized videos or animations. It is fully within the bounds of current technology to create a short animation which is customized to the particular client.
Utilize all the information in your database: If you know Customer 111 owns an ABC computer and was reviewing new video cards on your site, a modular animation matrix can be developed to show Customer 111 sitting by their ABC computer proudly installing an XYZ video card, which just happens to be on sale this week. The modularization can allow for any product so that Customer 112 sees an UVW hard drive and Customer 113 an RST power supply.
Think of it as an animated mail merge, except one that goes far beyond "Dear Customer 111:". Customer 111 will not only be positively impacted by your innovative application of his specific preferences, but the "buzz" will also be communicated to their community. What your company would have done in this case is appeal directly to the specific individual and allowed them to open the gates to the community for you, and you alone. All the while the other barbarians are still bouncing off the fortified spam walls.
The key to future email marketing may be to not have it resemble email marketing at all. As the web evolved into an interactive and mobile entertainment/information structure, we have seen passive television broadcasting being replaced by interactive online viewing and participatory activities. To be successful, email marketing must also evolve from a broadcast to a conversation.
Many current email marketers entered the business in the late Nineties and they act as if time has stood still. The online marketing arena is virtually unrecognizable from the one that existed a decade ago. In order to keep obtaining positive results from your efforts, it is imperative that you shape your approach to the current online technologies and realities.