I was reading this post over on the Deliverability blog in which Andrew Kordek interviews Exact Target's Morgan Stewart. This particular paragraph got me thinking:
So what is wrong with email? I mean what are the biggest problems that are facing the email industry today? Morgan’s answer is simple and yet so relevant.
First, he thinks that there is a pervasive print mentality in the industry. I could not agree more with him in that email is not direct mail.
Second, he believes that there is too much focus on deliverability, that while deliverability is a crucial part of email marketing, the share of voice in the email space is disproportionate to the detriment of his last point. Morgan believes that email is too siloed in most organizations because we still have trouble communicating the value of email to the C-Suite.
Is the share of voice that deliverability gets in the email space really disproportionate? I'm not entirely sure. True, there is a lot of talk about deliverability in the industry. But a lot of the conversation is actually more about the (database) marketing side than about the technical side of things.
Deliverability is more often than not used as a stick to force email marketers to keep in line:
- if you don't send relevant messages, then readers will mark your emails as spam and as a result your messages will get blocked
- if you don't practice good database hygiene, ISPs will think that you are a spammer and your messages will get blocked
What we are really saying is that email marketers need to be good database marketers. Email is not digital direct mail, agreed, but it IS digital direct marketing. And successful direct marketers need to also be good database marketers. Ultimately, applying good database marketing principles to email (together with having the right technical things in place of course) is instrumental to good email deliverability.
In Q4 last year I overheard someone saying: "in this economy, we won't be able to get more budget for email marketing, but we will be able to get more budget for database marketing". Maybe the email industry should play the database marketing card in a smarter way so that we can get the attention of the C-Level executives?
What do you think?