2017 has been a bumper year in email marketing, but what does 2018 hold in store? Will it finally be the year of mobile? We caught up with eleven of the finest minds in email, to find out where they see email going in 2018. 

Matt Helbig

Senior Analyst, Marketing Operations at DigitasLBi + Growth at ReallyGoodEmails.com


Really Good Emails

Marketers must make email preference centers part of their marketing efforts.

Tweet prediction

Marketers must make email preference centers part of their marketing efforts. With the ease of unsubscribing through mail apps such as the native email app on iOS, we think that unsubscribe rates will increase much more than we've seen in prior years for retailers who send daily emails. It's important subscribers know what they are signing up for and the frequency.

Read more: 7 Really Good Unsubscribe Pages + Preference Centers

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Alex Kelly

Frontend Developer at Mailchimp


Find your voice and experiment with design

Tweet prediction

There are nearly 36 times more emails sent every day than there are people on this planet, and that's growing every year. To stand out in 2018 marketers should focus on strengthening the relationship with their customers by building their brand. Find your voice and experiment with design, then compile everything into a style guide to keep your content consistent.

Kath Pay

CEO & Founder, Holistic Email Marketing


Holistic Email Marketing

Treat each and every email as a customer service email

Tweet prediction

Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy about what they want. Marketers should start reviewing their data and respond accordingly. Lack of engagement in the top of funnel metrics such as opens and clicks, are key signals to not delivering emails that meet the consumer's expectations.

To meet their expectations, one approach which I believe will gain traction, is treating each and every email as a customer service email | whether it is a promotional email, a sales email or a transactional email. To do this, we need to be person-centric in our approach, focus on being helpful and of course, ensuring our messages are personalised to the consumer's actions and preferences.

Mike Ragan

Designer at ActionRocket


Emoji use will skyrocket

Tweet prediction

Emojis are a fascinating evolution of digital language and - crucially - becoming more and more integrated into our favourite formal tone of voice channel: email. This emoji acceptance can be illustrated by companies such as Monzo, a bank keen to be seen as trustworthy and legitimate. But also real, human and reasonable. Kudos. Emojis are great in email because they distil a lot of information, and convey it quickly. We predict being genuinely emoji literate will continue to be a coveted skill in 2018 and beyond.

Jacques Corby-Tuech

CRM Manager at Artfinder



Email marketers start really focusing on meaningful personalisation

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I see 2018 as the year where email marketers start really focusing on meaningful personalisation. Specifically, making sure that emails are relevant and received at the right time within the customer's lifecycle. Let's stop focusing on shiny toys and let's get back to marketing fundamentals.

Samantha Iodice

Customer Experience + Relationship Marketing Strategy Leader


Email is the driver and catalyst for amazing relevant relationships.

Tweet prediction

AI, genius coding, and interactive content will be the catalyst for more personal email allowing deeper and more frequent data collection to evolve. Historically represented as Omnichannel (but, let's not) it's really all about 1:1 personal connections. True engagement because you've analyzed the data and allow users to choose their preferred channel of communication.

This methodology creates a foundation for a more holistic approach that considers all consumer experiences, from the web, brick & mortor, through social, etc., creating a symbiotic relationship that integrates learning across channels to make email dynamic, nimble, but above all else, personally relevant.

Email is but a component, but it is the driver and catalyst for amazing relevant relationships.

Catch Samantha at digital summit in LA, Seattle and Kansas City in 2018

Logan Sandrock Baird

Design Services Lead at Emma


Two watchwords for email marketing in 2018: Accessibility and Consent

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If there are two email marketing watchwords for 2018, it's accessibility and consent. Creating inclusive, accessible email content is a must-have for any principled brand, and the rise in assistive technology makes it all the more imperative. We've also known for a while now that getting express consent is key to building trust and creating enthusiastic brand advocates - with GDPR looming on the horizon it's never been more important to take a hard look at our lists to make sure that we're only sending to people who have chosen to hear from us.

Interested in even MORE predictions? We've got 6 more for you over at Emma's Marketing Blog

Amanda Soehnlen

Senior Digital Strategist, Email at Highmark Health


Make sure you test, with a plan

Tweet prediction

Something Marketers must do: Remember that testing is like 7th grade science, and have a hypothesis/control/testing plan. A majority of testing that's happening right now in the marketing sphere is called a: before it reaches significance, and b: don't have controls. Actually building models about your users requires you to understand them, and you can't figure out what they like and why if you're running bad tests.

Something Marketers mustn't do: Forget that your audience is made up of people. Would you like to get 3 emails a day with basically the exact same messaging, when you've opened the previous two thinking they're different? No? Then why would your users like it? Use common sense and segment your heart out.

Jenna Tiffany

Founder & Strategy Director at Let's Talk Strategy


Let's Talk Strategy

Relevancy will be the only winner in the inbox in 2018!

Tweet prediction

One of the most effective digital marketing channels for creating personalised campaigns is email marketing, yet 59% of consumers are stating they are receiving irrelevant emails on a regular basis (DMA Consumer Tracker report 2017).

Providing a new era of sophisticated email marketing - AI and machine learning can remove this hurdle and take the guess work out by analysing an unlimited amount of data that would take several years for a human to analyse and provide recommendations.

Read more in our guest post from Jenna: Relevancy will be the only winner in the inbox in 2018!

Paul Airy

Beyond the Envelope"


Beyond the Envelope"

Accessibility for all

Tweet prediction

Accessibility will continue to play an important role in email marketing going forward, though marketers need to embrace accessibility across all channels, not just email.

When marketers invest in accessibility, they not only consider and reach customers with accessibility challenges but make it easier for everyone to engage with their brand.

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Millie Bartlett

Email Strategist at ActionRocket, Curator of #EmailWeekly


The whole relationship will be more valuable to all involved

Tweet prediction

I hope to see the industry continue on working toward a way to quickly and easily adapt messaging to smaller groups of customers, so that the whole relationship is more valuable to all involved& I didn't say it was going to be ground-breaking.

There is probably a blog a day written about creating a personalised one-on-one customer experience, utilising email. It's one thing to talk about an ideal but I've seen how limiting and frustrating it can be when you actually try to create one; I've been in teams where we have had to settle for 'the possible' instead of 'the dream'. I think I can safely say, most of our intentions as an industry are in the right place. You start a project with these sky high hopes and wild ideas, that this certain customer profile will receive said experience, and so on, but your sensible co-worker keeps batting them all back with a reason why it's not that simple (usually because of data or technology).

Some might say the GDPR will slow down any such progress with what we can talk to our subscribers about, but I see it as more of an opportunity for teams to actually take a close look at their data, re-establish any forgotten relationships and really make the most of a densely interested database.

So taking it all the way back to the roots of a largely over complicated and disjointed ESP offering, maybe my prediction is this; a complete refresh of the email process. I want/hope to see email tech and ESP's begin to make it easier for email marketers to do their job; manoeuvrable, connected data, smarter tech/journey builders and inspired copy from us all. I'm not sure that's the exact point I started with but we got there, somewhere, in the end.

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