Email Marketing Patterns in the 'roaring' 20's

Our take on the most prominent email trends for the twenty-twenties

Being true email geeks, we continuously look for trends that change the way we organize, develop, and analyze email. Like many of our fellow email geeks, we’ve read and heard a lot about emerging trends in the industry. Often it’d be similar trends described by various trendwatchers, sometimes people saw completely new trends arise. We connected the dots and saw a few patterns emerging.

Written by: Richard van Looijen & Tom Blijleven Published: March 29, 2021 Latest update: March 29, 2021

Patterns in email marketing trends

Our vision for email marketing in this decade doesn’t necessarily describe how new tools or trends work but rather their potential and how we at Flowmailer used these trends to develop a proposition to gain a unique position in the world of email vendors. Four key terms describe the patterns we discovered:

  • Obviously: Relevancy
  • Agile Growth
  • Transformational Leadership
  • Image-building through authentication and legislation

Pattern #1: Increasing Relevancy

This feels like an ever-returning trend, but relevancy is still a (email) marketer’s #1 priority. We see it happen through the increasing demand for, e.g., interactivity in email, Machine Learning and product recommendation engines, and AMP for Email.

But relevancy goes beyond marketing email. We genuinely believe that transactional email will get a more critical role in every email marketing strategy and that it finally gets the love it deserves. Relevancy is all about customer-centricity. What is more customer centric than the emails you send right after one’s purchase? (The answer is nothing)

Curious to how to spicen up your transactional email? Download our whitepaper

Pattern #2: Agile Growth

People have a love-hate relationship with the word ‘Agile’, but there’s evidence pointing to it being loved more and more. Businesses used to implement all-in-one platforms to go ‘omnichannel’, but in all honesty, those platforms never fulfilled their prophecy.

Platform users realized it’s better to have several ‘best-of-breed’ platforms rather than all-in-one applications. So, over the years, these platforms started having Marketplaces, where users can add the specialized tools they need and drop the ones they don’t. This ‘Ecosystem Economy’ led to the rise of the CDP – about which we write further on.

Pattern #3: Transformational Leadership

Another trend we noticed is the growing role of market leaders in the way people perceive several aspects of email marketing - both good and bad. 2020 made very clear who is on the good side of email and who is not. This led to a  call for responsibility: market leaders have to transform the market positively, focus on long-term, valuable relationships instead of quick profits. Lead the way in better authentication, emphasize technical excellence, and help users truly understand what proper email marketing means.

Pattern #4: Authentication & Legislation

Authentication & legislation have become sexy. Though authentication tools have been around for years, and GDPR was introduced in 2018, people haven’t felt the need to be super-compliant. But in the past year, we noticed an increasing interest in both email authentication and European (email) law.

BIMI, in particular, seems to have boosted SPF, DKIM, and DMARC’s sex appeal. In contrast, concerns around Privacy Shield and CAN-SPAM regulations have sparked a sudden interest in how Europeans regulate email marketing. We’re entering a time where authentication becomes part of a brand’s image (thanks to i.a. BIMI) and where GDPR compliance is no longer ‘optional’ but an industry standard.

The Summum of Trends: The rise of the CDPs

Altogether, these trends lead up to what we think is the most significant change in the email marketing game in years: the rise of the Customer Data Platforms (CDP).

A good CDP allows marketers to focus on what they do well: market a product or service to (new) customers. The CDP stores all the necessary data and lets marketers enhance their marketing automation from one platform. It’s one centralized hub to store one’s preferences (opt-ins, email rate, etc.), decide what offer the receiver gets, and experiment with various marketing systems. Don’t like the platform you’re using? Just switch to another.

On the other hand, email marketers shouldn’t have to focus on technical issues like their deliverability. But when they do, processes should be explained as simple as ABC. No marketing software, not even a CDP, is both marketing- and IT-friendly, so you still rely on other platforms to create the best possible customer experience. And that’s a good thing. In the end, the CDP is the one that stores all the data and gives you a unified customer profile. The email service or email infrastructure you use must do the rest.

In short

With all these trends, tools, and laws, these roaring twenties promise to be an exciting decade. Who will win the battle of the CDPs? What’s going to happen to EU-US data transfers? We're really looking forward to the next years in email marketing. Curious to more trends in email marketing? Check out Uplers' infographic.