Prepare for the inbox marketing of the future

The great recession of the past several years has actually been somewhat of a renaissance for e-mail marketing. The channel has more than earned its keep as both an effective vehicle for direct marketers, as well as a complement to mobile and social programs for brand marketers. Now that ROI is the cornerstone of most sophisticated digital marketing programs, e-mail is front and center and will continue to play a key role moving forward.

For marketers who can deliver relevant, valuable communications to people who wish to receive them, the channel has proved exceptionally effective. A discount to the Gap advertised on Groupon, a daily deal e-newsletter, generated $11 million in revenue for the retailer. According to the Direct Marketing Association, the ROI of e-mail in 2009 was $43.52 for every dollar spent — beating virtually every other digital channel.

Strong creative execution and optimization with exceptional integration across channels — e-mail, social and mobile — is what separates the winning e-mail campaigns from the losers.

By effectively integrating campaigns across e-mail, social and mobile, brands can realize tremendous synergies. Today, an estimated one-third of all e-mail marketing is accessed on a mobile device. Social media audiences have also reached critical mass. E-mail marketers who effectively integrate these channels and deliver a positive customer experience, will likely enjoy growth in revenue from digital efforts. Social and mobile (like display and search) are great partners, and only serve to enhance our conversations with our customers — as long as these efforts remain consistent to the brand.

As digital channels continue to converge and individuals reward brands that deliver relevance and value, the future is bright for the consumer. Low quality, batch-and-blast campaigns will be replaced by those that leverage more sophisticated segmentation and targeting based on solid behavioral data. The consumer experience improves and publishers drive incremental revenue providing a win to both parties.

This continued evolution will likely lead to a few other changes. The ROI of inbox marketing will continue to outpace all competing channels because it communicates to audiences on their terms.

Advertisers will begin to pay much higher premiums to reach audiences via inboxes as the space is finite and becoming more valuable.

Nicholas Einstein is VP of deliverability and strategic services at Datran Media’s StormPost Inbox Marketing Business Line. Reach him at [email protected]

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