Adam T. Sutton

Email Marketing Trends Toward Integration

Despite the rocky environment for marketing budgets during the last two years, a much larger percentage of organizations increased their email marketing budgets in 2009 than decreased them, according to MarketingSherpa’s 2010 Email Marketing Benchmark Report.

We spoke with several marketers this week to uncover a few more email marketing trends. We asked for their impressions on this vital tactic’s role in today’s marketing. Here are the highlights we found:

Deeper Integration with Digital Channels

Email marketing is becoming less of an isolated silo and is taking on a more cohesive role as marketing channels further integrate. Email has long tied directly to companies’ websites, but lately it has expanded to connect with audiences via:

- Social media

Click-to-share buttons added to email messages with strong, relevant content are expanding the reach of marketing campaigns.

- Mobile

Mobile devices are frequently used to read email, and marketers are formatting messages to ensure they render clearly.

- And others

Companies are asking for customers’ email address as the points-of-sale, and they’re linking emails to videos on YouTube.

The next step, says Blaine Mathieu, CMO, Lyris, is that companies should develop an integrated mindset and plan how marketing channels could be best combined to achieve the most effective results.

Tactical Advances from Technology

- More Sophisticated Segmentation

Email marketers have long segmented their audiences to deliver customized content to increase relevancy and response rates. In the beginning, segments were often broadly determined, such as by product category or topic of interest.

Now, behavioral segmentation is more common. Marketing teams are studying their subscribers’ actions and timing and crafting messages based on their positions in the buying cycle. This technology has been around for several years, but more marketing teams are taking advantage.

- Automated messaging

“There is no way any company can interact one-to-one in a relevant manner with thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people,” says Dylan Boyd, VP Sales & Strategy, eROI.

The increasing need for relevance and volume in email communication has driven the rise of automated email marketing. More teams are establishing automated email series based on events, such as abandoned shopping carts and white paper downloads. The growing sophistication of product suggestion and other personalization technologies has given these messages a personal, tailored touch.

Less Tactical, More Strategic Planning

Digital marketing has witnessed a boom in third-party solutions over the past few years. The growing lists of targeting and analytics platforms have outpaced many market teams’ abilities to leverage them, especially since many require a high-level of technological expertise to establish. However, the adoption process is simplifying.

“Especially in the last year, the tools of an email marketer and an online marketer are finally becoming simple enough to use and connected enough to each other across channels that the marketers no longer have to be a technologists – they can be marketers again,” Mathieu says.

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Email Marketing



  1. September 27th, 2010 at 11:14 | #1

    great piece and timely – I am writing now on the important, the necessity of, segmentation of your lists.
    My own experiences mirror your comments about the integration of other channels, every email we send for clients has a specific goal to drive the user back to either a blog or the company website where we have more control.

  2. October 5th, 2010 at 05:13 | #2

    Agreed! Integrated marketing is the way to go and email does offer an affordable way of integrating with mobile and social. One of the great perks, as always, being that it’s then trackable.

    Interesting find: We recently conducted a client survey and found that, of all our power tools, subscriber segmentation is the one most used by our clients (and increasingly so). While some of our clients are agencies and corporates, a large number are small to medium businesses – a good indication that the importance of relevant content has really hit home with clients across the board, even those who run smaller campaigns.

  1. September 30th, 2010 at 21:44 | #1