By Matt Blumberg
CEO & Chairman
While everyone is taking the end of year opportunity to make their resolutions and predictions for 2008, I thought, hey, predictions are tough to do. Much easier to spell out 10 things that I am pretty sure AREN’T going to happen in the next 365 days instead. So here we go…
1. Email won’t die! Despite at least 38 articles which will be published during 2008 predicting the imminent demise of our beloved channel, there will be more people using it, more companies using it, and more emails sent in 2008 than in 2007.
2. Multichannel retailers won’t send out more email per subscriber in 2008 than they did in 2007. The best ones have already gotten the idea that less is more – or at least that less CAN BE more if segmentation, targeting, and user preference centers are done properly.
3. Spammers won’t take over the email universe. Although big waves of spam will continue to burst forth every few months with new techniques appearing simultaneously, marketers and ISPs will continue to fight the war against spam by utilizing reputation, accreditation and authentication as their main lines of defense.
4. Google won’t make a big play in commercial email. Many people have been speculating that Google will get into email advertising or list rental or become an ESP and give the service away for free, but I think the channel is too quirky, and that the impressions are too few and too different, for them to jump in with both feet.
5. There won’t be any new email conferences established in 2008. Other than February’s Email Evolution Conference, which has already been announced, our over-conferenced industry won’t be subject to yet another new conference this coming year.
6. Email marketing won’t get a lot more integrated with other online marketing channels other than SMS. Despite all our collective hand-wringing about the need to integrate channels better, email will be as separate at the end of 2008 as it is today. Other online channels (web, search, display) will get a little more integrated, but email and SMS will continue to be managed separately as “messaging” channels.
7. Marketers won’t ignore the mobile channel. We’ll see more and more email marketers open up their data capture form to test the efficacy of SMS and mobile marketing channels.
8. Social Networking sites won’t get any better at using email. The newest poster children for web experiences will continue their uneasy relationship with email. They will still have problems with filtering as a result of sucking down users’ address books, and they will still send out content-free emails to drive people to the web to read web-based messaging instead of just putting the message in the email itself.
9. Consumers won’t lose their trust in email. As marketers become more focused on the user and work to achieve relevancy, consumers will experience a more intimate 1:1 dialogue with the retailer furthering email’s reputation as the original and longest-lived “killer app.”
10. There won’t be a recession in 2008. Although it will take another quarter or two for the economy to work through the rest of the subprime mortgage market meltdown, there will be jitters and maybe some slower growth, but online marketing will continue its growth curve.