What lies ahead for inbox marketing in 2008?

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With 2007 behind us, it's time to dust off the crystal ball and see what 2008 has in store for the e-mail marketing industry. We're only days into the New Year, but I get a sense that this will be a banner year for both e-mail and other forms of inbox marketing, including banners within newsletters. Recent forecasts from JP Morgan and others support this perception. So, it is fair to note that my notions may be more substantiated than a mere hunch.

This year will be the biggest for online marketing with a significant increase in e-mail commerce as marketers recognize the medium as a valuable channel for both branding and retention. With the growth of social networks and mobile platforms, more and more consumers will be in front of multiple inboxes at home, work and on the go. Advertisers will realize the inbox, like television, is a channel that captures eyeballs. The big difference is that messages can be targeted to the inbox. Those who truly understand the nuances of inbox marketing will experience success, while driving relevance to the end consumer.

Inbox advertising will become a standard item on the major agency media plan. Now that there are marketplaces with significant reach and sophisticated targeting, the major agencies will recommend that an increasing percentage of their clients' budgets go toward this incremental channel opportunity.

Mainstream marketers will begin to leverage integrated retargeting campaigns to drive online conversions. While sophisticated e-mail marketers have long been using behavioral targeting to send triggered messaging, integrated retargeting programs will emerge in 2008 as a preferred strategy for converting warm leads and driving acquisition efforts.

Performance marketing will continue to thrive and enjoy an increase in advertisers' share-of-wallet. With more campaigns being ROI-driven than ever, advertisers have a growing appetite for scalable sources of performance-based media. The media publishers with the most effective targeting capabilities will achieve higher effective CPMs for themselves, while driving new leads and customers at little to no risk to their advertising partners.

Videos are being used more in e-mails. Java-based videos used in some campaigns achieve higher click-through rates than the HTML version, according to several studies. With more and more users connecting with broadband and high-speed Internet, video e-mails are the wave of the future.

Marketers are beginning to realize the inherent value in transactional messages, including welcome notifications and order confirmations. More of these messages will be customized and targeted with cross-sell and up-sell promotions and will be more eye-catching.

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