Let’s go back a year and see what the pundits predicted would befall email marketing in 2014. For reasons of self defence, I’ll give no sources.
We start with a success for virtually all of the prognosticators. There was a consensus that more than half of those on our email marketing lists would view emails on mobile devices. The non-critical fraction was reached with some months to spare.
2. Disaster of Gmail
One prediction that never came to pass. Gmail arrived and caused no real problems despite the promise of no returns via email marketing software. A relief.
3. Responsive design will become the new norm
We still await this one coming to fruition. To be fair, it was a minority who suggested it but it was proposed with a flurry of statistics that were thought provoking. The initial spike in returns was unexplained and, importantly, not maintained as many email clients intelligently resized unresponsive designs.
4. Facebook et al will lose their dominance in social networking
2014 was not the first year that Facebook, Twitter and Linkdin were destined to self destruct and was not the first year they failed to do so. However, other forms are coming to the fore and different sections of the public favour some of the newcomers. Perhaps we should still watch the likes of Pinterest and Instagram with interest.
5. Quality content will become a necessity
Whilst not the riskiest prediction of last year, many have been surprised at the refusal of some companies to provide valuable information for B2B when others have shown the advantages of sharing knowledge with customers.
6. Images will rule
It was thought that pictures would be all but universal but the use of mobiles, with their slower download times and smaller screens, has put the brake on this development.
7. Less is more
Whether this has come about depends on which company’s marketing emails you monitor. There are still those which churn out the same old designs and content, with hype being the most memorable feature but it is noticeable that the trend in many companies is much less ‘in your face’. With emails and website being designed for mobile devices has come a refreshing move towards clear and clutter-free appearance.
8. Integration will rule
Whilst we can see this developing with the big and successful companies, most smaller ones appear to be dragging their feet. I cannot be the only one who clicks through to a landing page and wonders if I’ve taken a wrong turn.
9. Video will rule
No, it won’t. This despite many people being convinced it would. There is no doubt that video has benefits that cannot be matched by any other media but the public at large is only taking it up slowly.
10. Relationship building will be essential
Despite its obvious advantages, its take-up is by no means universal. This makes a move towards relationship marketing an immediate benefit for those already email marketing. Get in there now is good advice.
It seems to be clear that we cannot depend on predictions. Instead, keep an eye on trends and be prepared to change quickly. Email marketing is fluid. Make sure you notice when change will benefit your company.
One prediction: it will be a Happy New Year for email marketing.