Even those approaches are giving way to new elements of marketing. As email continues to evolve, it is edging closer and closer to the holy grail of one-to-one communications. Singularity. In doing so, innovative solutions are being created and individual customers are coming into focus. Innovations like send time optimization, where subscribers’ engagement histories are analyzed to identify peak periods of activity and interest in reading — and responding to — email marketing messages, are using big data to bridge the gap between segmentation and true personalization. This approach is paving the way for an entirely new era of performance optimization in which consumers control their brand experiences and actively signal changing preferences to the marketers they trust and value.
And so the list management and sending practices of the 1990s and 2000s are finally running out of fuel, and out of their collapse a new discipline is taking shape. Smart marketers are turning to analytics and contextual information to ensuring that highly relevant, valued messages are delivered to the inbox, that they are truly customized for the individual, and that they arrive exactly when subscribers have time for them and want to read them.
Just as energy can not be created nor destroyed, but can only change forms, so too is the way marketers connect with customers. The email channel will continue to be a marketing star, even as it evolves and goes through cycles of change. And even as the shine of old-school email marketing wears off, new elements are taking shape, indicating something brilliant is just around the bend.