I had the pleasure of talking to more than 25 email marketing software providers last year. During the compilation of the Email vendor selection guide 2011. Of wihich the 2012 preparations are in full swing. Some of these contacts sprung into interesting conversations about email marketing, email tools and life.
I also asked what they thought about the trends in email marketing software and features. What should we be seeing soon? What are the most important or new features in email marketing software ? Here are the insights our panel of email professionals shared:
What is the most important trend in email marketing software features?
Surprise customers with your email messages
Multichannel communication: by integrating email channel with sms, snail mail, fax and pre-recorded voice messages you can trigger business rules to send relevant messages that can better satisfy – or even surprise – your customer. Nazzareno Gorni – General Manager of MailUp
Create highly dynamic campaigns
To create, execute and automate highly dynamic campaigns across all the key interactive channels – email, mobile, social and the web. Simon Robinson – Marketing & alliances director of Responsys
Easy to use features in email marketing
Usability and user experience is absolutely crucial. A recent DMA report revealed that
marketers aren’t focusing on things like segmentation as much as they should be. To my mind, this is because many platforms make tasks like this overly complicated. Sure, there is a lot of data that needs to be crunched and some pretty serious technology that sits behind the scenes, but making this as easy as possible for the user is crucial. We like to try and build NASA-strength technology with a Fisher Price interface. Tink Taylor – MD of dotMailer
Getting more data in the right place
Spread. As the market matures ESP’s are looking to own more of the digital marketers budget, some have gone down the social route others consultancy. This is driving more data based functions as well as functions supporting multichannel marketing, after all everyone wants to do multichannel but few have the data in the right places which would support this approach. Marc Munier – Commercial Director of ESP Pure360
Email marketing goes beyond “forward to a friend”
Beyond “forward to a friend” (which remains the original and first online viral tool) is the ability to SHARE. Marketers can now get emails to reach beyond the inbox with functionality that lets subscribers easily share emails to their own networks. Another aspect of sharing is encouraging marketers to share their own marketing emails on their own social
network platforms. One of our customers recently summed it up well by telling us that for them Social Media was shinny but email was money.
Make emails come to ‘live’ with real-time Dynamic images
An upcoming trend in the functionalities of email venders platforms is the possibility of dynamic imaging. With dynamic imaging you can change the images on the servers after the sending of a campaign so you can adjust your message after is has been received in the Inbox. Adjustments can be made based on i.e. a certain status or time.
When you combine dynamic imaging with real-time data you’ll see the true power of dynamic imaging. You can use Facebook like and Twitter counters with the exact number of likes and tweets on the moment of opening the e-mail. Ronald Dubbeldam – Managing Director of Measuremail
Social media: share and publish
All major ESPs are working on adding social media functionalities to their platforms. Most start with simple sharing features (SWYN – share with your network), and continue with actively publishing messages in social media. Martin Bucher, CEO of email marketing technology firm Inxmail
Email marketing is thriving
It is apparent that the end-user is expecting more and more from their email service provider. And those email vendors (are happy to) deliver on that. As more marketers shift to multi-channel by default, they need these functions in their Email marketing software. Not all feature trends mentioned are new, and the sharp eye has spotted that these are actually made at the beginning of this year! The panel states that email is going to be more dynamic, social, automated and easy to use. Hopefully as a result it will be impressive to the recipient and bring results for the marketer. One thing they all agree on: Email marketing is thriving.