Email is not dead. Shocking statement to hear at an email conference? Probably not. But brands, vendors, and experts filled the stage like a New Orleans jazz band at the Email Evolution Conference in New Orleans on April 4-6, 2018, touting the ROI email brings to their brands.
One of my favorite sessions was the Friday morning closing keynote, David Sax—who wrote the book “Revenge of the Analogue”—riffed on the opening keynote theme that consumers today are highly sensitive to how their personal data is being used. As a result, when we develop a relationship with a brand, how they handle our data is as important as the quality of the product we buy.
Sax inquired: “what is the original form of information exchange with a new person where you begin to establish trust?” The business card of coarse. Sax sang the praises about how analog is making a comeback. A business card is a “hands on notion of tangibility and trust”. He went on to argue that although future generations are less tied to email, as the volume of email decreases across generations, the value increases.
Sax said that he thinks that email has no ulterior motive like other mediums such as social. When you interact on social mediums, it’s a bilateral interaction. You’re sharing photos of your kids, the coolest product, or how fabulous your spring break was. He said that email is one of the few direct business-to-person interactions. He goes on to profess that email doesn’t try to be a chameleon, you get what you see.
This comment inspired one of the audience members marketing to Baby Boomers to speak up and say to that he has updated all of his email campaigns to be text-only and as a result has seen a significant lift in interaction and ROI.
Such was the chorus of the remaining sessions that included a New York sushi restaurateur who “doesn’t send a lot of email” but wants to send customized emails to his high value clientele. This gentleman stated that sending highly relevant emails with value-added content such as recipes and custom events has greatly improved his customer engagement and loyalty.
Lovepop cards presented that they have done content testing and found that emails with an emotional connection to the buyer have higher CTR and revenue. Diva Curl corroborated that emails with user generated content have a higher ROI.
Overall, using customer data wisely and adding direct value to the consumer was the theme of the conference. Sending smart, relevant email will improve ROI. Keeping consumer data safe and maintaining trust with your consumer has to be a priority for your program.
Colleen Kazemi is a seasoned and active member of the email community. Her experience ranges from brand marketing and strategy and email deliverability to her current role where she manages strategic ESP partnerships. Prior to joining Return Path in 2017, Colleen co-founded a biotech startup. She mentors experienced and emerging entrepreneurs on several topics related to building a business. Colleen’s unique background allows her to understand trends and best practices from many perspectives; enterprise, consumer, and startup.
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