Thoughts from the Email Evolution Conference

This past week I attended the Email Evolution Conference held this year in Scottsdale, Arizona at the Westin Kierland resort.  It was obvious from the attendance that the economy has taken it’s toll on the conference this year.  About half the number of people attended the conference this year than last.  The biggest gap in attendees came from the battered retail and financial services industries.  A lot of the attendees this year were in the email marketing industry, i.e. ESPs, marketing agencies and vendors.

Although attendance was down significantly, those that I spoke with at the SocketLabs booth had good things to say about the content.  Many of the attendees were first timers and felt that they learned a lot from the various speakers in the industry.

Here are a few things that came out of the conference that I thought were worth sharing with our readers:

    • Stan Rapp in his keynote address on Tuesday highlighted the fact that spending on every category of advertising and marketing was forecasted down for 2009 except email marketing.  Although flat, email marketing remains one of the smallest categories in spend from a marketing and advertising perspective.  He went on to say “It’s shameful that email—marketing’s most profitable channel—gets so little respect. Email is the tightest link ever forged between buyer and seller.”  The good news is that email marketing will not get hit like the rest of the market.
    • Everything you learned about email marketing back in 2006 and 2007 is wrong.  The market is ever changing with the advent of social networking and the increasing email deliverability issues that exist. Make sure you keep up with best practices for optimum results.
    • Email marketing is moving away from large broad email blasts to small, highly targeted campaigns.
    • Larger corporations are moving toward consolidation of email marketing platforms.  Examples from the conference were Alaska Airlines from 5 down to 1 platform and Bank of America from 30 down to just a few.
    • On average, companies that instituted event driven, triggered based email over promotional broadcast emails saw a 3x+ increase in click rates.
    • The Great Email Debate on the issues of double vs. single opt-in and checked vs. unchecked permission checkboxes continues.  For each issue the attendees were split almost 50-50 as to the practice they felt was the correct “best practice”.   One rule I heard said, if you leave the box unchecked then you should single opt-in.  If you leave it checked then you only need to incorporate double opt-in.  What do you think?

Those companies that I talked with that are in the business were optimistic about 2009.  That is certainly the case here as well!

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