It’s that time of the year again, marketers are deep into holiday planning. Just when the holiday madness ends, marketers will begin making new year preparations.
What will we expect email to be like in 2022? We asked top experts in the space, and here is what they have to say.
- Shmuel Hershberg, Shyn Media
- Komal Helyer, Pure360
- Jeanne Jennings, Email Optimization Shop, Only Influencers
- Chris Marriott, Email Connect
- Lauren Meyer, SocketLabs
- Kath Pay, Holistic Email Marketing, Author
- Ryan Phelan, RPE Origin
- Tejas Pitkar, Netcore Cloud
- Dela Quist, Alchemy Worx
- Jenna Tiffany, Let's Talk Strategy, Author
- Chad S. White, Oracle Marketing Consulting, Author of Email Marketing Rules
Shmuel Hershberg, CMO at Shyn Media
I am pretty optimistic that 2022 is going to be a phenomenal year for the email marketing ecosystem! It is not like I have a crystal ball or anything, but I think these three trends will make an impact: AMP for email, widespread adoption of BIMI, and the integration of text messaging.
Nonetheless, even if these predictions don’t pan out, the recent Apple changes – how it has thrown the open rate out of orbit – have effectively gotten everyone in our industry to pause and think about metrics. So, this change alone is a good thing because contemplation breeds success. It keeps us on our toes and forces us to be ahead of the curve. Long live email marketing!
Komal Helyer, Chief Marketing Officer at Pure360
Jeanne Jennings, Founder of Email Optimization Shop, GM at Only Influencers
I have a few email marketing predictions for 2022…
I predict that we’ll see marketers using open rates as they have in the past, even with the ‘false boost’ that image caching due to Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection initiative will provide. Marketers will just assume a larger margin of error.
I predict that there will be more cooperation, collaboration, and education from email industry professionals as a response to Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection and other initiatives which seek to protect consumer privacy while villainizing marketers. We’ll be banding together to help save our industry and the reputation of the marketing profession.
Return on Investment
I predict that email will continue to deliver the highest ROI of any other marketing channel, and that even marketers who have profitable email marketing programs will invest to boost bottom-line performance.
Chris Marriott, Founder & President Email Connect LLC.
Coming out of 2020, one of the predictions I made was that 2021 was going to see a large spike in the number of RFPs that were going to be held by brands who had delayed looking around during the height of the pandemic and lockdown. And we saw that to be exactly the case. Both anecdotally (we ran more RFPs in calendar year 2021 for clients than we have ever run in a single year), and in reports we got from the ESPs themselves regarding the number of clients coming and going. I predict this will continue into 2022, driven by several factors:
- Many brands extended contracts in 2020 for 12-24 months. So many of those are set to expire in 2022. While many brands are likely to sign another extension, others will use the opportunity to look at other options.
- Mid-year 2022 brings the shutdown of the Bronto (Oracle) platform. With that deadline looming, many brands will decide early in the year that it's probably a good time to look around (note to these brands: it's a little late in the game!).
- The continuing growth of the CDP market will force many brands to evaluate whether or not they are "over-platformed" with the addition of a CDP to their own Martech stack. Oftentimes the people making a decision on CDP are not the same people holding the ESP relationship, which will likely lead to overlapping capabilities, and turf wars at brands. That's another prediction right there!
Innovations in email marketing continue at a great pace. Brands who have been with an ESP for 5 or more years should absolutely look around at their options, whether through a formal RFP, or just some informal conversations. If you fit that 5-year profile, prepare to be amazed!
Lauren Meyer, Chief Marketing Officer at SocketLabs
Privacy: it’s not just a well-played marketing term encouraging Apple users to limit data tracking by third parties. It’s the wave of the future. And for good reason. Allowing individuals to have greater control over how much information we as marketers know about them is a good thing, in theory. But in doing so, most users would be surprised to realize that their interest in “mail privacy” would actually limit their likelihood of getting highly personalized emails from brands as they had in the past.
As we head into 2022, I expect other major providers to embrace greater privacy initiatives, likely with different implementations than what we’ve seen done by Apple. And as a result, I predict an increasing number of companies will stop trying to infer recipient interest using already-faulty measures such as email open activity. Instead, they’ll embrace creative tactics such as gamification and progressive profiling to encourage engagement and learn their email audience’s preferences about sending frequency and timing, the type(s) of content they want to receive, and more.
Kath Pay, Founder & CEO at Holistic Email Marketing
Email marketing will become more valued and appreciated as an effective channel that delivers high ROI. This in turn will mean that more budget will be allocated to email.
This is due somewhat to the following factors:
1: More than ever, consumers appreciate brands delivering them the news, content, and offers via email.
2: Email tech is continually evolving to be more CDP-like, and brands are now more likely to embed and integrate it with their other tech. This, in turn, means that the email tech can pull other useful data into the system to utilize – leading email to become even more valuable.
3: Collecting, accessing, and utilizing both Zero-party and 1st-party data is easily and naturally achieved using a push channel such as email. Combine the strategic use of these data types and marketing automation, and, well… you have one happy customer and one very satisfied brand.
Ryan Phelan, Co-Founder at RPE Origin
The year that the chaos stopped?
We’ve been through a lot over the last few years. COVID, not-COVID, kinda-COVID, supply chain problems, data fluidity, and Apple (oh, Apple) just to name a few. It’s enough to make even the best marketer toss up their hands and go “just send the damn thing!”
What I hope we achieve and what I hope to see in 2022 is normalcy…or a new normal. Yes, it’s going to be a new normal because, through all the chaos, we’ve hopefully learned some amazing things, including dynamic segmentation, cohort analysis, agile marketing, and shifts in intent measurement. Those were the things many marketers have had to not only learn but enact at scale...and fast.
This new normal should lead to greater possibilities and effect positive change that leads to innovation at a greater scale than we’ve seen since the inception of the internet.
Tejas Pitkar, Senior Product Evangelist at Netcore Cloud
In 2022, email marketers will need to follow a two-way approach for a successful program:
- Create high-quality content that catches the eye of their subscribers.
- Find creative solutions to make their emails interactive, click-worthy, and receive feedback from subscribers.
1. Interactive emails will become essential
With Apple MPP changes, clicks are the new north-star metric for marketers. To gauge customer intent and engagement, marketers will have to find ways to adopt a mindset of email interactivity.
I predict an increased usage of polls/surveys, reply requests, redirections to the website, and an increase in CTAs.
- Assuring customer safety will be crucial to business
Companies who wish to make the best of 2022 will have to offer product and customer safety as a primary benefit of their service model. Employee temperature checks, delivery, and product safety will become a part of every shipping email you receive.
- Propensity modeling and in-depth segmentation will become the norm
Basic level segmentation won’t cut it anymore. Marketers will discover more profound segmentation techniques to profile their customers for better targeting. Propensity models based on Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), churn, engagement, buying behavior are becoming standard for global brands that we consult. It will pick up pace in the next year to become an industry norm.
- Humanizing emails will pick up the pace
In the past two years, marketers have realized the importance of adding value to their customers and making them count. Instead of more personalization, marketers will nurture their audiences and develop a human relationship. After all, your customers are more than email addresses.
Email senders will gravitate towards a feel-good positive vibe and inspiring content to make customers excited again.
Email marketing in 2022, in my opinion, will have to be interactive and direct while respecting user privacy.
Dela Quist, CIO at Alchemy Worx
As many folks will know, I tend to favor predictions around human behavior over advances in tech and this year is no different.
In 2022 brands that target younger audiences will have to demonstrate - with authenticity - their commitment to diversity and sustainability.
My prediction is based on the findings of our recently published survey of consumer sentiment which can be found here. Beyond purchase intent, younger consumers are also much more likely to be drawn to brands because of the social values exhibited by the company. 18–34-year olds are more than twice as likely as older consumers to say that they plan to buy from brands with diverse models that embrace representation. They’re also significantly more likely to say that they’ll avoid brands that aren’t ethical or sustainable. Worth considering as you plan out your 2022 marketing strategy.
Jenna Tiffany, Founder & Strategy Director at Let's Talk StrategyPrivacy has always been an essential consideration for all marketing. In the last few years, we’ve seen many changes to international legislation and, in turn, consumers increasingly raising concerns about the privacy of their personal information. The importance of demonstrating and communicating the value of a person entering their email address into the sign-up box has always been there too. And the methods in positioning the benefits that are provided for subscribing are ever more critical. At every moment of using email marketing, we should never forget that a person is at the end of an email address. Forget the tools and technology for one moment and clearly define your email marketing proposition. What does the subscriber receive, how does it add value to them, and what is the value of sharing their email address with you? Because while email continues to stand the test of time, your subscriber will not be there forever if you don’t put them in the center of your email marketing strategy. We’ve all experienced a tremendous amount of change due to the pandemic, now is a time to understand your audience, determine what is of value to the recipient, how you can make their lives easier, and provide them with a beneficial email marketing experience.
Chad S. White, Head of Research at Oracle Marketing Consulting and author of Email Marketing Rules
2022 will be dominated by dealing with Apple's Mail Privacy Protection and the deprecation of third-party cookies. Now, I know that we've been talking about MPP non-stop since June 10, but it seems like many marketers are waiting for the effects of MPP to get serious. Well, early next year they will get serious, and by next fall they will be beyond serious, especially for B2C brands. Marketers will spend considerable time in 2022 on enhancing performance measurement, recalibrating how they select audiences and manage inactives, and tweaking their journeys and email designs.
Regarding the deprecation of third-party cookies, this will put an increasing emphasis on email marketing and loyalty programs to fill the void. Collecting more email addresses to use as customer IDs will be important, so marketers will be optimizing their subscriber acquisition sources. But even more important will be the collection of more zero- and first-party data so that brands can understand their customers and prospects well enough to continue to send them effective messages and ads. For loyalty programs, it's a particularly exciting time as many are shifting from points-for-dollars-spent transactional schemes to points-for-time-spent communities.