Okay, bodacious is a dated word but I’m old and it’s a good fit for my point: Marketers should be striving to master the basics before chasing the latest and greatest email trends that will make them bold, audacious, bodacious. Yet the industry articles that show up in my inbox and feeds indicate otherwise, telling marketers they are behind the times if they don’t have or do or measure that latest whizbang thing.

I’m starting to cringe every time I see an article about extremely sophisticated email marketing technology and trends when I know for a fact that most businesses haven’t even mastered the basics of email marketing yet. I see firsthand how these organizations lag behind in even the simplest best practices, and the last thing they need is distraction in the form of some sexy new trend some expert says they “should” be following.

Chad White recently summed up some of my concerns about what marketers are not yet doing in a post titled Is Email Cheap or Does It Have a High ROI? For example, he says:

  • One in eight major retailers still doesn’t send welcome emails.
  • Less than a third of these retailers send a welcome series.
  • The use of triggered emails is low and slow-growing.
  • About half of major B2C brands still use desktop-centric email design.
  • Many brands still struggle with permission and engagement.

Let’s see, which best practices are missing here… Only welcome emails, automated emails, permission-based lists, mobile-friendly emails, and finally engagement at the inbox. Should any marketer struggling to master these basics be concerned with the hottest trends in email marketing? I don’t think so.

Sure there are marketers who are investing in their email programs, using email analytics, segmenting their audiences, understanding their customer lifecycles and more, much more. But they are not in the majority, so we need to be really careful when we’re espousing the latest trends marketers “need” to keep pace with, because most marketers “need” to master the basics first.

Should marketers be vying for video, worrying about wearable technology or going gaga over Geolocation? Yeah, probably not, or only a small sliver of them. The rest need to focus on simply getting better at the basics first.


scottScott Hardigree is the Founder of Email Industries, the folks behind Indiemark and BlackBox.