This is part of the 2012 Digital Marketing Trends Series. We have collected opinions from some of the leading experts and practitioners on the hot Email Marketing trends to look out for in 2012, which we hope will provide you with food for thought for your Email Marketing activities next year.


Email Marketing Trends

Nick Heys, founder and CEO, EmailvisionNick Heys, CEO of Emailvision
quoteRelevancy will be the key trend for email and social marketing in 2012. Creating more compelling and relevant campaigns will be the key challenge and opportunity facing all digital marketers next year. The days of ‘one size fits all’ marketing are coming to a close. The most successful marketers today are those who are using customer analytics technology to gain a deeper understanding of their customer base. Mining this wealth of information, they are creating targeted offers that stand out from the crowd. As email inboxes become more intelligent, sorting messages by the perceived relevance to the user rather than the date and time of delivery, online marketing must evolve to include customer intelligence. closed quote


John Hayes, EMEA Business Development Executive for iContact
john hayes icontact
The lines between email marketing and social media marketing will continue to blur in 2012 as marketers gain easier access to tools and analytics that give them greater control and visibility into how the two channels co-exist, influence each other and, when combined, drive enhanced ROI.  The continuing sluggish economy should also compel more businesses to focus on retaining business through their existing customer database and their extended social networks. We see huge growth coming from the offline business community, particularly in the small and medium-sized sector, with companies hoping to replicate a more scalable and profitable “social buzz” around their brand without losing control and margin to the large daily deal sites such as Groupon. Enhanced, low-cost, email marketing and social media tools will allow even the smallest of firms to become more sophisticated in their email marketing and social media strategies, ensuring greater relevancy in their campaigns and improved ROI.


Richard EdwardsRichard Edwards, Digital Strategy Director at LIDA
quote2012 will be the year email wakes up to mobile.

Mobile was finally taken seriously in 2011. But in the ‘rush to apps’ only the very best executions really worked and delivered great experiences possible across the mobile journey. For smartphone users, apps set an expectation that we shouldn’t have to endure the pain of ‘pinch and zoom’ to perform simple tasks, only to be rewarded with unsupported Flash content or pages taking so long to load we give up.

Mobile brings significant opportunities but also complications to email. And in 2012 the best work here will not just consider design for the small touch screen as important as the large screen mouse driven interaction, it’ll consider the ‘where’ and the ‘when’, data driven content, and the complete user experience – not just click through rates.

So, on one level, nothing will change for email in 2012. The best work will continue to be powered by genuine behavioural understanding of recipients, fused with great creative thinking both in concept and technology – making virtues of limitations and exploiting benefits. Crucially, as should always been the case, the real winners will focus on delivering the best user experience rather than delivering an email.closed quote


Annette Iafrate, UK managing director at Constant Contact
Annette Iafrate
Email marketing is going social and this convergence is giving entrepreneurs greater opportunity to grow their businesses in an affordable way. There had been talk about whether social media would kill off email marketing, but if anything it is giving email new life. With this in mind, a key trend next year will be the full integration of social media and email marketing.

The two channels go hand in hand and provide businesses the best results when employed together effectively. Email is the best way for companies to make their message known, but social media gives them the opportunity to spread this message far and wide.

We examined data from our customers that combined social and email and compared them with those only using email. From June 2010 to August 2011 we found that those using both mediums had a much faster list growth, the list size doubled and the average click through rate was 59.3 points higher. That’s significant data and real proof that an integrated marketing effort works. The days of spray and pray are over.

In 2012 we expect this trend to continue, as more business take advantage of all the tools that are available to them to engage with and cultivate customers. Email can spark the fire and social can fan the flames. 


Richard GibsonRichard Gibson, chair of the DMA Email Marketing Council
quoteRecent research conducted by the DMA and its Email Marketing Council has revealed that its popularity has never been greater. Approval ratings from consumers have surged in the past 12 months, and the volume of web traffic generated by marketing emails has hit an all-time high. During 2012, we can expect to see further growth in consumer popularity and traffic volumes as marketers hone best practice across the board.

Email marketing is a perfect fit for integrating with social media. To date, we’ve seen marketers experimenting in novel ways to combine the two channels. In the next year, marketers will graduate from the test and experimentation phase to a sophisticated level where they fully understand how to play on the strengths of the media.

Quality data and targeting are perennial issues for email marketers. As a sector, we’re continually refining our techniques. The work we’re doing to develop best practice in this area will have a positive effect on improving industry targeting statistics, but companies too will need to make this a priority if they are to secure the trust of consumers.  closed quote


Philip Storey, Email Marketing Consultant at eCircle
phil storey, Email Consultant, eCircle
As the email industry becomes more sophisticated and digital marketers become savvier, I predict 2012 to be the year that sees an increase in businesses adopting a more personalised and segmented approach to email marketing, with email firmly integrated in their wider CRM and digital strategies. 2012 will see a shift in the mindset of marketers, as the email channel gains wider respect as part of the digital marketing mix, utilised for building relationships with prospects and customers and enable targeting of customers individually with relevant messages.

With the rise in prominence of social media, mobile and location marketing, marketers will continue to embrace a more multi-channel approach, integrating a number of digital channels to keep customers as satisfied as possible.


Download our full free Digital Marketing Trends 2012 Report.


Sandeep Vadgama

Sandeep Vadgama


Editor at Fourth Source and Tech Enthusiast!