Target and Toys R Us posted overall sales declines during the holidays.
The e-mail technology provider forecasts top trends in e-mail for 2005. Among them: a widening gap between delivery rates for marketers that use new and emerging best practices and those that don’t.
More companies will hire a dedicated manager for e-mail marketing and more will shift from installed software to a hosted e-mail solution this year, according to EmailLabs. Those predictions are among several forecast for the year by the provider of e-mail technology, based on its observations of developments in the industry and at its clients.
For example, the gap may soon widen between marketers whose e-mail gets delivered and those whose does not. “2005 may be remembered as the year the ‘E-mail delivery divide` began,” says Loren McDonald, vice president of marketing. “E-mail marketers that deploy best practices, adopt emerging authentication, accreditation, and reputation technologies and solutions and allocate the necessary resources will achieve superior delivery rates.”
Other trends to watch for this year include increased integration of e-mail with corporate databases and other applications, such as web analytics; and the rise of design as a critical issue as e-mail marketers face challenges such as blocked images, increased use of the preview pane, and using images instead of text to protect against content filters. Additionally, EmailLabs predicts marketers will come to view e-mail in a larger context than simply marketing and improve coordination with other departments to increase the effectiveness of non-marketing messages.
This year, marketers will place greater emphasis than ever on list quality, according to EmailLabs. They’ll spend more energy to retain, reactivate and recapture subscribers and maximize return through segmentation rather than simply growing lists. In addition, marketers will seek to strengthen trust among customers with practices such as ensuring that only permission-based e-mails are sent from their company, switching to a double opt-in subscription process and using fewer or no pre-checked boxes as well as clearer privacy policies.
"In 2005, most legitimate marketers will be forced to improve their e-mail practices, if they haven’t already, or they will find that their messages will be neither delivered nor opened,” says McDonald.