In our January council round-up on ‘the world of email’, we were fortunately spared a review of “predictions” for 2014. Instead, the January session was varied and exciting with all the hot news in email – a focus on the unsubscribe arena, plus other headlines involving money, dirty politics, murder and a… fridge. Ha – try and get that lot that into a cohesive blog.
Email was under scrutiny again right from the word go, in 2014, with the revelation that a top aide to the US government was using their Yahoo email for government business – allegedly the official was orchestrating a political vendetta. (full story here.. ) This has again raised the whole question of how government staff can use personal email accounts and text messaging when conducting official business, sidestepping the public record laws.
One thing is unlikely though – that they will be using Slack, a new collaboration tool for the workplace, dubbed the “email killer” (see where the ‘murder’ comes in?). Slack ‘replaces’ internal email with real-time messaging and searchable content. Unlike email where records would be personal to someone’s mailbox, Slack offers a kind of ‘institutional memory’ – so e.g new starters could catch up on recent history. In our discussion, concerns were expressed that this could potentially generate a huge information overload, and email’s demise on account of Slack was deemed unlikely, but maybe we’re biased?
However in case anyone actually believes the general “email killer” myth, don’t be misled. You only had to be keeping one eye open during the festive season to know that email is still a hot commodity. In case you missed it, I’m referring to the acquisition of Responsys by Oracle for $1.5b. Without wishing to get into predictions, it’s another reminder that multiple marketing forces are converging, again with email at the heart of CRM.
But aren’t subscribers just overwhelmed with email now?? Well Unroll me seem to think so. Their aim is to help you regain “control of your inbox” offering a way to unsubscribe from all unwanted email communications in one fell swoop. The most recent DMA Tracking study actually showed that customers are not receiving too many emails, but leaving aside whether you think this tool is valuable or not, the data they have captured in the process does give a unique and public perspective on something that has previously been a discreet activity.
Here are the top ten companies for unsubscribes (via unroll.me)
- 1800 Flowers
- Pro Flowers
- Oriental Trading
- 1800 Contacts
- Party City
One of the key communalities on this list (eg of flowers, tickets, and travel) is the sporadic nature of transactions. If customers are unlikely to buy these products on a regular basis it’s logical that demand for regular emails might also be reduced.
For me, this list highlights the importance of having an email contact strategy, with recency of transaction as a vital element. It also reinforces the need to maximise other email touchpoints – transactional email, email media, abandonment emails… in addition to newsletters.
The second list published in this report is the top “Roll ups” – those emails that people want to keep but don’t necessarily want to read all the time. Top Roll-ups include companies like Amazon Local, Groupon, & Living Social Deals.
This list speaks directly to importance of not being too quick to remove apparently “non-engaged” subscribers from your mailings. Engagement needs to be measured over time, and not just per email campaign. The brand proposition for these companies is clearly understood, and the customer wants to hear from these brands as they expect some value from them at some stage. Here’s the link for the full report
Finally, here’s something that I didn’t see on even the best list of 2014 email predictions. And (Monty Python jokes aside…) it’s unlikely that anyone ever thought that the words “spam” and “fridge” would be put together in the context of email. But, actually a fridge was indeed discovered to be sending out spam emails over Christmas, after it was compromised in a web attack. Perhaps this is the email equivalent of cold calling?…. [sorry, Ed] Anyway – here’s the full story.
If you’ve got any more email news to share, (no pressure to beat the fridge story) please do add your comments.