BtoB

I have been hearing about changes in deliverability recently. What are they and how do they affect b-to-b marketers?

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Deliverability has been a consistent conversation for years now, and that isn't going to change any time soon. The individual inbox providers are consistently adjusting their delivery requirements and inbox placement logic to create the most optimal inbox experience for their customers (or to keep us e-mail marketers on our toes). But as a b-to-b marketer, should you really care what Yahoo is up to? The short answer is yes.

As a b-to-b marketer, your deliverability can be even more challenging than the largest b-to-c marketers because your success is tightly tied to individual system administrators at various organizations around the world—all with different infrastructures, approaches and theories. But the one thing they all have in common is that they are watching what is developing at the Yahoos of the world so they can start implementing similar practices on their office servers. With that, there are two major developments happening in the space today:

1) Engagement as an inbox placement metric. Inbox providers are starting to look at engagement with your e-mail as a metric for determining inbox placement vs. bulk-foldering. What they deem engagement may vary slightly from your definition, but it is happening nonetheless. The focus is on whether the recipient is opening the e-mail you send and/or replying to the e-mail as a determination for engagement, then making decisions about placement from there.

2) “From” name reputation. Yahoo specifically has started attributing a sending reputation based on the unique combinations of your IP address, sending domain and now “From” name. So if you send e-mails from inquiry@company.com and offers@company.com, each “From” name will need to support and build its own sending reputation. This change is extremely recent and may not start to affect b-to-b marketers for quite some time, but it is something to be aware of and to start planning for.

Bottom line? Keep an eye on the deliverability conversations happening, regardless of what industry they occur in, as it will eventually make it to the ranks of system administrators everywhere.

Kara Trivunovic is senior director of strategic services at StrongMail Systems (www.strongmail.com), a provider of online marketing solutions for e-mail and social media.

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