In our now regular slot we started the monthly council meeting with a round-up of the latest happenings in email marketing that the council members had come across. As ever there was a mixture of cool, useful and the slightly odd and I have shared the highlights below.
First up news from RPost’s, whose focus is on high value confirmed email delivery. They believe that it has the patent on the very commonly used practice of tracking email opens. According to various ESP sources they have started to receive notifications that RPost are looking to enforce these patents and requiring licencing for future use and reparations for past use. It is unclear yet how many of those ESPs contacted are going to respond, and it is obviously beyond the remit of the council to offer legal opinion but given the nature of how RPost acquired the patents and against a backdrop of a wider backlash against patent trolling its definitely a case of watch this space!
While not just limited to looking at email, the US DMA / DDMI commissioned a ‘Value of Data’ study and the headline figure is that the Data Driven Marketing Economy (DDME) added $156Bn in revenue to the US economy!! Yes, I did type that right – $156bn. It would be interesting to see a similar figure for the UK/ Europe but it certainly should be a very sobering number to those involved in developing regulation that effects the data industry. I think it brings very clearly into focus the need to balance consumer privacy concerns with those of the legitimate data driven marketing industry otherwise the potential and perhaps unintentional economic impact could be enormous. An infographic with some of the other headline findings and numbers from the study can be found at;
Following on from my blog last month on the renaissance we are seeing in people’s attitudes towards email, its effectiveness in actually driving sales and that social has not yet killed the email star (supported by the findings of DMA research such as The H2 Benchmarking Survey & The National Client Email Marketing Survey), another interesting article appeared this month. Josh Aberant, Twitters postmaster and the man tasked with making real ‘Twitter’s view, ‘it’s (Email) the lifeblood of a social network and the company sees emails as a driving force to help further its growth’. This just adds further to the positive story for email. The whole interview can be found here;
The release of the new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that will see the number of domains going from the current 22 to potentially over 1400. This poses a couple of potential challenges for the email marketer. The first thing is to ensure that your email data capture validation rules are updated to accept the new gTLDs and that if you are using any type of email address corrections it is also can cope with these domains. The other major change with the new gTLDs is that while Internationalised Domain Names have been available as second-level domains and country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), it will be the first time non-Latin characters can be used in a gTLD. This raises the issues of the ability to store these type of non-latin characters in databases and email systems. Although more of an issue for those involved in international emailing, given the multi-cultural nature of the UK and especially London I am sure we will see these type of addresses cropping up quite regularly in your email lists and you should be prepared.
Downrightnow – www.downrightnow.com – is a website that ‘monitors the status of your favourite web services, combining user reports and official announcements to tell you when there’s service trouble’ Since the service includes the pages of the major web based email services such as Gmail and Yahoo mail it can be used as a resource for a quick check before you launch that very important email campaign to ensure your not going to be experiencing domain level deliverability challenges.
The US company DMI have launched a service called Engine 1 Music. This will allow marketers to add music to their emails. The company will help with licencing issues and while some may see it as a gimmick it does offer the opportunity to utilise the strong emotional hook music can provide. This would be especially effective for brands that already have a distinctive music track or style attached to their marketing, perhaps from a TV ad or in store music tracks, it’s an interesting way to extend that aural experience to email.
Finally and possibly one for the future for email marketers, however a new service from US company Square, called Square Cash, allows people to pay for things by simply sending an email, cc’ing Square Cash and putting the amount in the subject line. Currently only available in the USA and intended to operate peer to peer it does however raise the prospect of consumers being able to reply and buy directly from an email, especially for lower value products. Email is already a great channel to drive sales but a new mechanism like that would only re-enforce emails pre-eminence in this area.
So that’s the round up for this month, but if there is something you’ve spotted then please don’t hesitate to comment below or let the council know and we can discuss it at the next council meeting and you could well see it in next month’s Hot Topics. Happy Email Marketing!