Each December and January over the last few years clients and associate have asked me for my predictions on the email industry: Will spam kill the ‘killer app’?; Will SMS and RSS “replace”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2005/05/20/rss-anot-a-replacement-for-emaila email?; What will happen to email marketing metrics in the next year? It’s always interesting to see what others say. I read about “the top trends”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2005/08/23/top-email-marketing-trends from others. I especially like hearing from Bill McCloskey at “MediaPost”:http://publications.mediapost.com/ and his “Email Insider”:http://publications.mediapost.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.showTodaysArticle&art_type=32. He always has “his annual predictions”:http://publications.mediapost.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=37197 too _(subscription required)_. These are typically very US-focused predictions, often speaking of spam in terms of the US CAN-SPAM laws and what is seen in the US.
From a Canadian perspective, here are my top 5 email marketing predictions for 2006:
# Once the Canadian federal election is taken care of and a new government is in place Canada will get “its own spam law”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2005/08/08/canada-needs-a-spam-law. Since CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) Act is already taken maybe we will call it US-SPAM (Unsolicited Serial Promotion and Marketing). It will not differ greatly from CAN-SPAM so companies already using the US act as a best practice will be fine. The difference will be how the Canadian spam law integrates with the Canadian privacy act, PIPEDA. Expect “this new law”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2005/05/24/canadian-task-force-on-spam-presents-final-report to be passed late in the year.
# On the subject of spam, like unsolicited direct mail or telemarketing, unsolicited email will be something we all have to deal with. In some ways it may be a boon for the legitimate marketers who partner with the right companies. With spam being filtered, and “even legitimate email getting caught”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2005/10/19/email-recipients-dont-get-it, in 2006 those email marketers using “best practices”:http://email.exacttarget.com/best-practices.asp and sending relevant messages will continue to see excellent ROI.
# Deliverability – getting your email delivered to the intended inbox – is “a big topic”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2005/09/16/the-email-delivery-dilemma now and will continue to be in 2006. If you are not measuring the percentage of your email that gets flagged as spam, sent to the junk/spam folder or auto-deleted, you will want to. With an average of 20% of permission email “getting caught by spam filters”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2005/08/08/email-optimization-a-changing-landscape there is lots of improvement possible to ensure increased effectiveness and ROI.
# Email marketing “is booming”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2005/09/20/email-booming-despite-deliverability-headaches and use by legitimate companies will continue to grow. As the Canadian “do not call” registry takes effect and leading brands adhere to it, email will become the relationship and research tool of choice for many marketers. This means acquisition of email addresses, and proper “marketing permission”, will continue to grow. And it will mean bigger budgets for the online channel.
# Finally, email is already at or near the top in marketer adoption and consumer use when it comes to online. As it becomes necessary to use best practices to “get your messages delivered, opened and responded to”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2005/04/27/7-tips-for-getting-your-marketing-email-opened, marketers will review their existing email solutions and partners to ensure they are “selecting the right email marketing partner”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2005/10/19/selecting-an-email-marketing-partner. Large organizations, especially those that have used in-house solutions will be more likely to consider on-demand software developed and hosted by a specialist company. The move will be to ensure enterprise control by choosing a single solution across the organization, assuring central control of branding, messages, data and metrics. Small and mid-sized companies that have sent their email from their desktop email solutions (Outlook, Eudora, etc.) and software, or those using pay-as-you-go services, will also review their existing email marketing solutions. As “email authentication”:http://www.onedegree.ca/2005/11/29/us-dma-requires-email-authentication like SenderID and DomainKeys becomes a requirement, these companies will have to ensure they are compliant.
Whatever happens in 2006, I wish all One Degree readers a safe, healthy and prosperous new year.