E-mail rendering: pointless without deliverability
Several people in the marketing technology industry have declared that rendering is going to be a critical issue for e-mail marketers in 2007. Indeed, they exuberantly proclaim, "2007: The Year of Rendering!"
Some of us would beg to differ.
Before everyone jumps off the nearest bridge to figure out how their e-mail looks in every one of a thousand possible e-mail systems, multiplied by the hundreds of possible interfaces, times the infinite number of hardware systems, let's take a step back and place rendering in context.
As an e-mail marketer, you have more important things to worry about before you visualize your creative. Will your e-mail even get into the inbox? Do you have a good list of interested buyers? How good is your campaign offer? Do you have the appropriate infrastructure to execute your campaign?
In short, rendering is pointless if you don't have good deliverability. Good deliverability that comes from a great e-mail reputation.
Many companies, Habeas included, love to tout the visual benefits of rendering. Seeing and experiencing the user's perspective of your e-mail campaign can be helpful. But rendering is not the first step. Naturally, marketers do want to know things like, "Is my offer above the fold when the recipient is using a FireFox browser accessing the Yahoo Webmail service on a laptop screen?" But that concern is moot if your e-mail doesn't get into the user's Inbox in the first place.
Rendering will not help you solve the puzzle of sender authentication. It will not tell you how to get off of a blocklist. It certainly will not provide you the statistical reporting needed to validate those hard-won marketing program dollars. Suggesting that customers use rendering to address any of these problems is ineffective, expensive and, frankly, unethical.
Rendering is important, but it's not a panacea. Marketers should work through the entire checklist of e-mail best practices to ensure the best results for their campaigns. Rendering is certainly on that list. But, before you worry about how your target sees the e-mail, you need to make sure it actually gets to them.
Indeed, 2007: The Year Your Reputation Lets You Worry About Rendering!