Optimizing deliverability requires integrated approach

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Research from Pivotal Veracity and other deliverability service providers shows that 20% of marketers' opt-in messages were blocked or sent to junk folders in 2009. Deliverability is a challenge that is becoming more complex as consumers read e-mail across multiple platforms such as work laptops, home PCs, iPhones and Blackberries. Your e-mail subscribers are also talking about your brand and reposting your offers and content on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Optimizing deliverability in 2010 will require much more than what has traditionally gone into maintaining a "good reputation." Marketers will need to understand the impact of these and other rapidly emerging technology trends on their e-mail campaigns and adapt accordingly. Here are innovations that promise to rock the industry in the year ahead:

Video in e-mail. The ubiquity of broadband and the explosive growth in the sophistication and popularity of smart phones has made video in e-mail an intriguing idea for brands and consumers alike, but there are tremendous deliverability pitfalls intrinsic to sending these types of messages. New technologies from companies like Goodmail and LiveClicker promise to enable you to send video e-mails that get delivered to the inbox and work as intended.

E-mail/social campaigns. With hundreds of millions of consumers now frequenting social networking Web sites, marketers must continue to look for ways to more tightly integrate their e-mail programs with the social Web to create a seamless customer experience and maximize brand awareness and buzz across platforms. Targeting and optimizing the delivery and rendering of messages not just from sender to recipient, but from sender to recipient to other recipients will become a required core competency. Viral is the name of the game.

Platform and deliverability tracking. Ensuring inbox deliverability is fundamentally about being able to identify, address and overcome spam folder and blocking problems as rapidly as possible. However, until now, marketers have been hamstrung by a lack of in-depth, recipient-level visibility into what really happens to their communications after they're deployed into the Internet stratosphere. The traditional method of relying on third party "seed lists" as a way to measure deliverability may have worked for the last few years, but it fails to provide marketers the customer-level data they'll need to thrive in 2010 and beyond.

Tracking deliverability will be more important than ever as we look ahead. Marketers who succeed in the evolving digital communication landscape will do so by leveraging the most comprehensive, actionable customer data and the latest technologies.

Michelle Eichner is co-founder and VP of client services at Pivotal Veracity. Reach her at at meichner@pivotalveracity.com.

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