25 Highlights of the 2015 Email Evolution Conference

10 February 2015

The Direct Marketing Association rounded up some of the best minds in email marketing for the 2015 Email Evolution conference in Miami last week. For two days, email marketing professionals got to discuss all things email with a special focus on email deliverability, mobile emails and Guy Kawasaki’s keynote presentation.

If you didn’t make the conference but want get the highlights, here are 25 of the most-talked about items from the Email Evolution Conference, based on social shares, Email Evolution presentations, and blog post updates attendees have written so far.

1) Guy Kawasaki kicked of the conference with his keynote presentation on The Art of Enchantment.

Kawasaki, who is a major influencer in social media (including being the co-author of the new book, The Art of Social Media), gave email marketing a nice hat tip during his talk, retweeted here:

He went on to outline the keys to Enchantment, which includes likeability, and urged marketers to create something “DICEE”. That’s Kawasaki’s acronym for Deep, Intelligent, Complete, Empowering, and Elegant. It’s not a creation that comes from self-interest. Kawasaki’s trim slides pointed out over and over again how marketers need to approach their work from an attitude of giving rather than getting.

Want to learn more about what the wizard of online enchantment said? Read the Direct Marketing Association’s recap of Kawasaki’s presentation. The DMA’s dispatch from the EEC conference, complete with their own list of highlights, is here.

2) Email deliverability experts from the four major ISPs (Gmail, Aol, Comcast and Outlook.com) came to talk about deliverability facts and fiction for the closing keynote panel discussion.

See our own Massimo Arrigoni’s popular wrap up of this panel discussion on email engagement according to ISPs. It reveals surprising answers from the ISP panel, like that they don’t measure clicks at all, and they don’t care about the use of “Free” or anything else in subject lines. The biggest takeaway, though, is that deliverability has become personalized. What gets delivered for me is different than what gets delivered for you.

Email Copilot and DataValidation.com also wrote some interesting blog posts worth reading.

3) Alessandra Souers, Senior Brand Manager of JibJab Media Inc., picked up her award for the 2015 Stefan Pollard Email Marketer of the Year Award at the EEC conference.

If you’d like to see which tools Alessandra recommends for email marketers who want to up their game, check out an interview with her about that on the DMA website.

4) Justine Jordan won the Email Marketer Thought Leader of the Year award.

Jordan is well known as the outspoken Marketing Director for Litmus. She’s a regular contributor to the Litmus blog and has also been known to record a video or two in addition to her presentations, research projects and other contributions to the industry.

5) The Acxiom moonlight boat cruise was a huge hit.

Conference attendees were invited for a moonlight boat cruise on The Floridian Princess, thanks to sponsor Axciom.

6) The Data-Driven Consumerism panel created a lot of discussion

The panel was moderated by Rachel Nyswander Thomas, Executive Director of DMA’s Data Driven Marketing Institute (DDMI). It included panelists Ginger Conlon, Editor and Chief, Direct Marketing News; Andrew Davidson, Senior Vice President, Mintel Comperemedia; Kristin Naragon, Director, Email Solutions, Adobe; and Jay Schwedelson, President and CEO, Worldata.

The panel discussed how customers exercise more control than ever over data about their purchases and how they use data to make those purchases. Consumers also fully realize marketers are gathering data on them. According to a recent Harris poll, “58% of consumers now expect marketers to have personal data about them and to use it”.

7) Email marketers need to pay more attention to digital attribution.

Not 100% sure what digital attribution is? Here’s the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) definition of it: “Digital attribution — the measurement of the value of each digital marketing contact that contributed to a desired outcome — allows marketers to more clearly understand what’s working and what’s not.”

8) Message Systems Executive Len Shneyder was the most active person at EEC if you measure by social media activity.

Len also wrote his own EEC 2015 wrap up post here and put together a collection of his favorite tweets from the conference.

9) Wearable devices are on the rise.

Email Monks also wondered if emails designed for mobile devices are enough anymore. The monks are already contemplating how to optimize emails for wearable devices.

10) The ISP deliverability panel was such a hit that it sparked a series of spin-off topics that each generated some buzz.

Here’s one of those topics: 95% of email has no value.

11) ISPs recommend you separate transaction emails from your promotional email stream.

12) Remove inactives after 1-2 years means you’re leaving money on the table.

Delaquist has been making the case for not weeding out inactives for quite some time, so this panel’s agreement with him was a bit of a boost.

It didn’t get too much social chatter, but if you’ve got some time to kill, you might want to play Alchemy Worx’s “Email Tycoon” game. It is quite fun, especially if you’re an email industry insider.

13) ISPs know how to handle people who use the spam button as if it was a delete button.

14) Don’t try to trick your way into Gmail’s primary tab .

15) User engagement metrics affect personal deliverability more than overall reputation.

16) ISPs measure sender reputation differently than we thought.

This topic grew out of the closing panel on deliverability with AOL, Gmail, Comcast and Outlook.com, but it was so important that it sparked a slew of tweets. Massimo’s post covered this in detail, but there was also an interesting clarification on the Word to the Wise blog from Derek Harding about what the ISP pros said.

17) Responsive emails are the only way to go.

Marketers talked design basics, how subscribers perceive responsive emails (very favorably) and tips for how subscribers interact with responsive emails.

18) Personalization still works.

There was quite a lot of talk about the personalized deliverability rules the major ISP’s use, too.

19) People have more than one email address.

Quite a lot more, actually:

20) It’s time for Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) reform.

The ECPA was written back in 1986, when emails and data storage barely resemble what they do today. At the time the law was passed, it made sense that “the law allowed the government to access emails without a warrant when those emails had been left with third party servers for more than 180 days.” But that may no longer make sense.

The US Direct Marketing Association supports ECPA reform. Learn more about the ECPA and when Congress might update it here.

21) Anything and everything about mobile email.

This includes designing emails for mobile, how customers perceive mobile emails and how content should be adapted for mobile. Email marketers are starting to truly embrace a “mobile first” attitude. If there were only two themes to EEC 2015, they were deliverability and mobile.

22) Why do people subscribe to emails?

23) Why do people opt-out of emails?

24) The pre-conference workshops were a hit, too.

One of them was from Movable Ink’s CEO Vivek Sharma and Senior Account Manager Elizabeth Ray about how marketers can apply contextual marketing to their email marketing. Don’t miss Moveable Ink’s recap of EEC 2015, either. Other pre-conference workshops included an Advanced Quantitative Training Workshop and The Latest Creative and Response-Optimization Innovations in Email.

25) Everybody hates the word “e-blast”, also called “email blasts”

“Email blast” seems to refer to everything the email marketing industry is leaving behind – lack of segmentation, lack of personalization, lack of strategy.

Were you at EEC 2015? What were your key takeaways from the show? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.

This article was written by

Pam Neely

Pam Neely

I hold a Master’s Degree in Direct and Interactive Marketing from New York University. I’ve built email lists of over 10,000 subscribers with nothing more than search engine traffic, and once ran an A/B split test that resulted in a million dollars a year in additional sales for a client. Basically, I wrote button copy that doubled their conversion rate.

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