Email in 2025 Featuring Melinda Plemel, Spamhaus

Please welcome Melinda Plemel!

Melinda Plemel is an email professional who has worked in the industry for more than 20 years and is now an Enhanced Services Specialist at Spamhaus. She has experience that ranges from technical account management to deliverability consulting to ISP relationships to anti-spam consultant to brand ambassador. She’s led the industry in understanding how filtering technologies work globally, and has a knack for making sense out of chaos.

Melinda’s experience at Spamhaus gives her a very unique perspective beyond that of the traditional email marketer. She can easily identify bad practices, the consequences of making poor choices with list growth, and the dangers in neglecting appropriate authentication. Her answers are not only insightful, but actionable and well-worth a read.

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

Well, it’s not going to die, so let’s just end that conspiracy theory.  

If anything, email is going to grow. It has matured over the years with the dedication of individuals that want a better way to communicate to their clients. There is an industry of people that have studied the data of email, created more secure spaces, and developed filtering logic to zero closer to the spammers without catching everyone else in the same net.  

One of the most valuable factors to email is the collaboration of knowledge over the last 20 years. It has moved from everything is part of a secret sauce (which no one can be trusted with this knowledge), to a community determined to work together to stop unwanted email and abuse as well as fine-tune legit marketers sending mail to their engaged users.  

SMS will also grow as a right hand to email marketing and electronic communication. It still has a ton of maturing to do but has an industry to help it grow correctly.  

The use of AI is already being explored, but it could be a very good tool to help with testing content to audiences and finding the sweet spot for messages that resonate.  

Security, of course, will always be the ongoing struggle for email. Getting every sender adopt authentication, especially smaller brands, would be the olympic win if it happened by 2025.

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

I always go back to list management. While there are a ton of large brands out there with a dedicated person or ESP to really help them manage their lists, so many small brands do not have the same benefit. As we know, the world has changed and many more people are finding themselves in a position of starting their own business or their own brand. We all know getting an email list can be very easy and often when starting a new business, most take the path of least resistance, business card upload, partnering with companies that can help kickstart your list, etc., the lack of accessible and accurate knowledge to these smaller brands needs to get better. Having greater sources for small brands to help launch a business with a strong email understanding and presence will be such a game changer in helping fight unwanted mail.
Authentication is huge and it needs to happen. I don’t think all senders will be authenticated by 2025, but if more are educated and have resources to help them manage and understand the process and security around authentication, that would be a huge win.

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

I’m always a bit surprised there are still legit companies with terrible email practices; practices that have been discussed time and time again. All the best practices that have been created, whitepapers that have been written, laws and conferences that take place but still many senders continue to just skate the best practice line assuming they won’t get caught or are simply too big to be bothered.
Privacy laws have made it more difficult to identify, help, and share information that will prevent many bad practices. It would be amazing if we could continue to grow the collaboration between security, marketers, deliverability, and anti-spam industries to identify brands that needing some encouragement to do better.
I love some of the new conferences starting to really grow. There is a real sense of community as well as a very defined purpose. These types of events will be more crucial in 2025.