25 years ago the internet had a purpose: Tim Berners-Lee’s invention, the World Wide Web (the web) became available to the public. It’s influence has been phenomenal although some predicted its success. What has been remarkable is the speed of development.
There is no one father of what we now enjoy. In fact the first mass (a few hundred) email marketing was in 1978. Its success was phenomenal.
I was intrigued by the opportunities it all promised and within two years of Amazon’s first site going live, my rather amateurish – but then weren’t we all – website was up an running; a Formula 1 fanzine. Whilst I had no idea of visitor numbers, a complaint from my host that I was a drain on the bandwith generated an entirely different emotion from the guilt he intended.
What was remarkable was that someone with only basic knowledge of programming could be the only person he knew who had his own website. I was once introduced at a meeting by my boss as ‘the clever chap who has the website’.
While you might be irritated by their effectiveness, spam filters have been a major contribution to our success. Without them there is every chance that no one would subscribe to an email marketing list.
Nothing stays the same and the web will develop in ways that are unpredictable. We can make educated guesses and informed leaps of faith. Some things are more likely than others.
For instance, targeting will become much more sophisticated, meaning your email marketing lists will increase in importance. Legislation will become more restrictive and penalties harsher. Beyond that, if anyone tells you they know the next big thing, they are selling something.
There is no reason to think that the rate of change will slow. Many suggest it will speed up, so there is just the one essential, and that is to be flexible. Nothing can be set in stone and your systems must be able to be modified, and substantially at times, in an instant.
Have no favourites, and never think you have got there. That goes for the next 25 years at least.