Email in 2025 Featuring Dr. Matthew Dunn, Campaign Genius

Please welcome Dr. Matthew Dunn!

Dr. Matthew Dunn is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Campaign Genius, the real-time content platform for email and Social Signal, the leading real-time social media segmentation model.

He has been a startup CEO, Fortune-1000 Senior VP & CIO, Microsoft veteran, professor and teacher. He is also an award-winning speaker, writer, designer, director and inventor.

Dr. Matthew Dunn knows his stuff. No doubt about that. You’ll see that come through in every single thought he provides here, and we strongly suggest you listen to his advice and put it into practice so you’re prepared for 2025. Let’s not waste any more time and get right to the nitty-gritty with Matthew.

How do you see email fitting into the marketing mix in 2025?

The AI Martech War is heating up and the inbox is the infantry front. With Google dropping support for AMP for Email in late 2024, email remains the only script-free consumer digital channel. It’s been spared the horde of AI-driven videos and visuals, replete with instant personalization (I already bought that BBQ, and my dog is not a Labrador, thanks) that dominate other channels, but is still under heavy attack by AI-generated copy from AI-scheduled ESPs.  

Gmail’s AIVA and the Outlook Copilot are giving consumers a fighting chance to find the emails that matter. AIVA has proven especially popular, helping Gmail reach an all-time high of 80% of inboxes. The cost of training individual AI models for each user — since my SPAM is your precious — has, ironically, finally brought these vendors back to the email standards table. US labeling standards for AI-generated content have proven unworkable in written copy; rumors of a common, updated HTML specification for email body are flying. Whether Amazon will bring their new Yahoo inbox to the table as well is, of course, the spoiler. 

On the platform front, small vendors continue to fold. With the bidding war for AI developer talent hitting insane peaks, and the built-in tax of Gmail Deliverability Services, older/smaller vendors have been increasingly shut out. The ESP field is dominated by a post-merger Klaviyo, Google MessageGears, and the old silverback, MailChimp. At a global level, email send volume is up an incredible 25% over 2023, but read and click rates continue to plummet. Gaming the agent AIs is the new deliverability, and it’s difficult to keep up with them.

What about email do you see as a nice-to-have for now, but feel will be considered table stakes by 2025?

  • Analytics pass-through (GA, Quantum, Adobe, etc) will be table stakes; with clicks as the only reliable 1:1 measure of email attribution, common analytics across channels is vital.
  • Real-time content will be table stakes; it is the only post-send content change mechanism in the email channel to compete with scripted content in other channels.
  • Drag-and-drop authoring will still be table stakes and email HTML will still suck.
  • Customer segmentation on-signup will be table stakes; first-party personalization will not be.
What will not be table stakes? AI-agent subscriber+content management will not be table stakes. At least not yet.
Email clients will be much smarter about message management. They’ll have to be to keep up with the flood of drivel from ChatGPT’s offspring.

What do you hope or wish to see change within email by 2025?

By 2025, I hope marketers will realize first-party personalization in email is like the Northwest Passage — great idea, but you’re never going to arrive.
Surveys with customers saying how much they like personalization are just Here Be Dragons. They don’t know what personalization is. (For that matter, neither do marketers; there’s no definition of the term, or standards of practice.).
No doubt vendors will start flogging AI-driven personalization: Run screaming from the room.

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