Lee Odden

The Changing Face of Email Marketing – MIMA Summit

I must say, of all breakout sessions at the MIMA event today, “The Changing Face of Email” session was the one I was most excited to attend as it ties into what I love to do – email marketing. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait long to dive right in as it was part of the Summit Kick-Off Breakout session: Deep Dive Discussion Series.

Jamie Schissler, Strategy Director at Avenue A – Razorfish, the presenter for “The Changing Face of Email” session shared with the MIMA audience that as the role of email evolves, so too will its impact.

So why will the email marketing strategies of yesterday not work for email marketing success today?

A few key answers and issues that were stressed in the session that and I would like to focus on in order to answer this question were:

  • Deliverability
  • Test & Measure

There are far more distractions as well as competition than in past years with social, mobile, and other technologies. Additionally, there is the deliverability challenge caused by the ever changing list.  With roughly 20% of people changing email addresses each year to avoid spam and/or to start “fresh” and escape the email account that has gotten out of control, it is difficult to keep in touch with your opt-in audience.

Another deliverability challenge is the growing number of savvy email recipients that believe that a good way to unsubscribe to an email is to simply click the “spam button” and in essence eliminating your reach to that person going forward. (Of course it is key to deliver content that is important to recipient to avoid your audience from opting-out.)

Deliverability of email messages to the mobile device users is also going to be a growing challenge since messages displayed on mobile devices will look,  feel and likely interact with the recipient differently than when viewed within a traditional email account.

As can be expected, with the deliverability issues noted above, reaching the target audience is and will become more difficult in the future. However, through careful monitoring and adjusting to the audience that is responding, as well as those that are not responding, it will be possible to achieve successful results to email marketing programs.

Test & Measure:

To understand the success or failure of an email campaign it is imperative to look at the results of email campaigns to learn from for future campaigns.

From standard statistics such as opens, click throughs, opt-outs, etc. to more of a “total reach” analysis of who is opening, who is clicking and how will the campaigns move the products/services marketed.

Measuring the frequency of campaigns, and whether or not there are more opt-outs when campaigns are sent weekly versus monthly or daily, is an area to focus analysis on. Adjusting the frequency of the campaign accordingly and continuing to test and monitor the results will hone the right frequency mix for your company.

Analysis of email campaigns stats in conjunction with web statistics (whether it be with free analytics packages such as Google Analytics, or with paid packages such as Omniture) is also very important to the success of your email marketing program.

As Jamie Schissler concluded, he showed a slide of many different kinds/styles/sizes of shoes and to remind the audience that everyone can’t walk in everyone else’s shoes and that everyone’s email marketing experience will be different. Embrace the change we are experiencing in email marketing and make that change work for you!

P.S. If you are interested in reading more on my thoughts about email marketing and useful email marketing tips – check out my previous TopRankBlog post entitled Email Marketing Tips & ClickZ Specifics.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. This is a great post – very comprehensive. I’m really interested in email marketing and have been doing some analysis around what the big Australian supermarkets are doing – their strategies and their rules. Here are a couple of post that I have written detailing the findings.

    I have written another post to go live in the next couple of days on what the major US retailers are doing to ensure all subscribers can see the HTML version of the email.

    I think this is a really interesting space and retailers really need to own it with the hardtimes that are coming. The one thing they need to invest more in is segmentation to truly ensure they understand the consumers and provide them with relevant information.

    I would be interested in your thoughts about my posts.

  2. Very useful summary. I’ve emerged from a few of the email marketing seminars/conferences with a grab-bag of very useful information – mostly on the opt-in and creative test/optimize side of things.

    I’m very surprised at the lack of focus marketers direct towards personalization. The preferred marketing approach to limiting deliverability issues seems to be list quality and segmentation rather than putting an infrastructure in place for user-directed participation.

    I think recipients look at this dilemma as “requested spam”…with a post at http://www.rtcrm.com/blog/2008/10/21/we-requested-this-spam/ and as open/read rates decline, as we’re seeing across email campaigns, solving this dilemma will be more important.