Millennials, Mobile and Machines: Email Marketing in 2016
Email marketing is dynamic and even though the medium doesn’t always change, user behavior definitely drives the trends and what we, as marketers, focus on.
In this blog post, I’ve outlined the trends to look out for and focus on in 2016 as part of my predictions for the year.
If ‘Mobile First’ was the ultimate email marketing mantra for 2014/5, ‘Mobile Everything’ will take its place in 2016.
Every aspect of email marketing from strategy, planning and design, through to coding and testing must allow for a full mobile email experience.
Responsive emails are no longer going to suffice in 2016. All landing pages, lead generation forms, web destinations, content marketing sites and even subscription pop-ups need to be responsive, mobile friendly and above all, easy to navigate and drive customer response/action.
In order to truly be relevant and add value, there will be a lot more focus on content prioritization and hierarchy for email layout, as well as for destination pages on websites. It’s definitely Mobile Everything in 2016!
Beyond The Mailbox
I believe that customer experience will be the ultimate differentiator in 2016.
This year, it will be vital for email marketers to not only understand the customer journey after the email has landed in the inbox, but also to implement clever integration that facilitates it. A fuller customer experience must be provided after the subscriber has read or hit the call to action (CTA) in the email.
Data Everywhere – who wore it best?
First it was all about big data and then it was about useful data… In 2016 wearables will take data collection to an all new level of personalization. Data such as real time location, combined with activities, age, health and even sleeping patterns will be available for use in targeted campaigns.
Perhaps there should be less focus on “how to render email on the tiny square on my wrist” and more focus on how the email marketing world can ‘gear’ up towards using its data for hyper personalization, thus adding more value to the lives of subscribers.
Mighty Millennials – eMaillennials
As a millennial myself, I know that email is my preferred method of communication from brands that I love. But, it’s not just me…
Studies have shown that millennials are more mobile and more frequent users of email than any other age group. We already know the answer to whether or not millennials prefer email – it’s YES!
However, in 2016, email marketers need to change both their strategies and tactics, or they will run the risk of being swiped into the trash bin. I believe that in order for millennials to continue engaging, email marketing in 2016 will need to be:
- Collaborative and conversational: millennials don’t want to read a story; they expect to be part of it
- Include shareworthy content that taps into tribes (communities that share common ideas, interests or beliefs)
- Designed with progressive enhancement in mind. Remember they are digital natives, so designing and coding should allow for immersive mobile experiences and engagement
Rise of the Machines
The rise of machine-to-machine (M2M) technology has brought full email marketing programme automation into a new light. Automating lifecycle triggers is nothing new, but not many brands have reached this advanced stage in email marketing.
In 2016, I suspect we will see more brands fully automate their email marketing efforts. It’s also the year ESPs should be in a position to use the data from connected devices to enhance eCommerce email triggers, like the data from delivery drones.
M2M technology enables drones to facilitate the delivery of goods bought online. The drones can report their location, operational status and stock levels in real time. This data can take eCommerce delivery notification and tracking emails to the next level by populating relevant and valuable information about a purchase into automated email triggers.
Could 2016 see the start of drone wars? (Yip, there had to be a Star Wars reference somewhere right?)