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Industry vet McCloskey on key e-mail trends

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E-mail marketing veteran Bill McCloskey has been watching e-mail trends from an interesting vantage point these days as founder and chairman of Email Data Source. The New York-based company developed a competitive intelligence tool that monitors e-mail marketing campaigns so clients can keep track of their competitors or see how much traffic their own branding is generating. The company has a database of 8 million e-mail campaigns dating back to 2003 and collects 1 million new messages every month.

EMI recently spoke to McCloskey about key industry trends. Among them, he pointed out:

1. The largest corporations shifting focus from e-mail marketing to newer channels. Many of the larger Fortune 100 companies are pulling their attention away from e-mail and instead looking at other new marketing channels, such as mobile texting, RSS, blogging and social networks. The tried and true e-mail marketing campaign is not the hot, exciting toy in the boardroom at these companies. It’s more exciting now to say, “Here’s our mobile marketing campaign.” Some of the budgets for e-mail are now being targeted to other early-stage marketing channels.

2. More smaller companies jumping on the e-mail marketing bandwagon. On the other hand, I’ve noticed over the last six months stronger interest in smaller companies using e-mail in their b-to-b efforts. The insurance industry and others are beginning to see a lot of excitement in e-mail marketing because the technology is more sophisticated and it’s easier for them to create the campaigns and manage them. The [e-mail management] companies marketing specifically to smaller businesses can make sure the campaigns look good, and they’re delivered to the inbox instead of getting blocked by the ISPs. The price point has come down, too, so now we are seeing the smaller guys using e-mail marketing to level the playing field.

3. E-mail marketing campaigns expanding beyond in-house lists. In the b-to-b world, a lot of successful marketing is happening through sponsorship of affinity newsletters and magazines online. Lots of people in a particular business subscribe to the trade magazines of that industry and they see the banner ads and white papers offered by companies that advertise in those affinity publications. Those are very successful campaigns that will drive a dramatic spike in traffic to your site. Marketers have to decide how much money to spend developing an in-house list versus spending it on advertising in trade publications.

4. Brands being compromised in the marketplace. Over the last couple of months I’ve noticed a big increase in the number of spam e-mail and phishing schemes where people are illegally using large technology companies’ domains ... to get their own word out to sophisticated users. It also goes beyond others trying to sell Viagra with your company’s e-mail. Some companies may be incorporating your brand into their logo or e-mails without your knowledge. It’s important to monitor your e-mails if you want to protect your brand.

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