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Insights with James

James Lamb, Email Specialist, Developer and Administrator, highlights some of the top Email Marketing trends

The Marketing industry is growing, driven by technological advancements and changing business needs. Significant changes in the sector include Email Marketing, campaign/traffic management, program implementation/management, lifecycle and automation development, testing, segmentation, reporting and production.

As technology changes, it profoundly impacts business needs, leading to the importance of email marketing, customer service and project management.

In our IT industry Expert Insights segment, we invite experienced IT professionals to discuss emerging technology developments, their influence on job trends and in-demand skills for job seekers.

We spoke with Email Specialist, Developer and Administrator James Lamb to discover more about how email marketing has evolved and changed the current job scenario and what are the most cutting-edge marketing trends.

Who is James Lamb

James is an innovative, creative and motivated self-starter with proven leadership experience, working on vibrant results-oriented opportunities leveraging data to create engaging, long-lasting customer relationships.

He has years of experience in email campaign deployment, website testing, email marketing automation, social media marketing and salesforce marketing.

James' experience covers marketing, technology, customer service and project management, primarily focusing on Email Marketing, including campaign/traffic management, program implementation/management, lifecycle and automation development, testing, segmentation, reporting and production.

Let's have a look at the insights.

Question 1: What are the significant changes you've seen in email campaigns over the years? How has it evolved, and how can it change business dynamics in the next 5 years?

The email has mostly stayed the same for three fundamental reasons - how profitable it is for markers, how unprofitable it is for mailbox providers and bad actors who would use the platform for their gain at our expense.

We often talk of the "right message to the right user at the right time, " but email marketing is wildly successful, even done poorly. Usually, "good enough" reigns supreme because it's difficult to justify the extra expense to create more messaging and smaller segments, even if they might mean even more money in the long term.

Usually, success is measured in the short-term, in the response rates of a single campaign or journey, rather than over a subscriber's lifetime.

  • On the flip side, most mailbox providers offer email at a loss to keep users on their platform.
  • The number of free options limits the market share for paid email providers, and other efforts to monetize through contextual advertising or data mining quickly run into privacy issues.
  • And then lastly, email's success attracts terrible actors who would use this means of communicating with you for their nefarious ends, spamming you with unwanted messaging to try to sell you products or convince you to download apps or viruses.

When change occurs, it is often in a siloed fashion (like dark mode or AMPhtml), usually poorly documented and poorly implemented by technology firms that don't understand the medium and aren't interested in making it better.

Can you imagine how quickly a billboard company or cable TV provider would get sued if they started inverting the contents of an advertisement?

The one place where email has generally improved over the years is in the efforts of technologies that help email senders and mailbox providers better separate legitimate emails from spam. These deliverability efforts improve end users' email experience while saving mailbox providers money.

Question 2: How do you advise clients looking to get the best functionality and results from tools like SubscriberMail, MoonMail, and Hootsuite?

Too often, the tools are seen as the deciding factor on whether or not a marketer is successful. I've seen large companies move from tool to tool to tool, declaring each tool the problem when the one thing that has always stayed the same is the company itself.

Email Marketing requires thought, planning and intentionality. Email Marketing allows you to build a relationship with a customer or prospect and to keep that relationship alive after the sale, whether that's to make the next sale, to get the most out of what they've already bought or to turn them into marketers selling your product to their friends and family.

Email is the acquisition, retention, customer service, win-back, upsell, etc. And you need a plan for all of it. Whenever you drop an email into someone's inbox, even if they don't open it, you can reinforce your brand with your subject line and remind them you exist.

  • Do it poorly, and it's a reminder that they should unsubscribe.
  • Do it well, and they're reminded you exist even when they're not ready for the next purchase so that when it is time for the next purchase, hopefully, they think of you.

Question 3 Under what circumstances would you suggest using the different email-sending options in SFMC and why?

SFMC has several different ways to send messages in email, sms, social and through advertising. You can send a single message to any size audience, you can create triggers that send specific messages to specific people in response to actions they've taken, and you can craft entire Customer Experiences (often called "Journeys") to meet people where they are through a series of messages in one or more mediums.

All messages sent from SFMC will ultimately be one of two types, as defined in the US Federal Trade Commission "CAN-SPAM" Act - a marketing ("commercial") message designed to sell/promote or a "transactional" message intended to respond to an action.

You can usually tell the difference by answering, "who benefits from this message?" If the email is a password reset or receipt, it's generally to the customer's benefit. If the email promotes a new sale, it's usually to the company's benefit.

While the best messages will benefit everyone, it's usually pretty clear who the primary benefit is for. It is possible to blur the lines (a discount code in a password reset email, gameplay stats in a video game upsell email). Still, if done well, that only provides a better experience for everyone.

Question 4 What are the top 5 tools you've used as a program manager that you would suggest to the young salesforce architects?

In my work as a Salesforce Marketing Cloud Technical Architect, I use these five tools very regularly:

  • A simple text-based notepad without any formatting - I am always saying small snippets of HTML/AMPscript or SQL or trying to strip formatting off data.
  • Postman - When creating new connections to SFMC (REST or SOAP), prototyping is always essential first. Valuing my calls quickly allows me to document and train others on the calls they'll be making and help troubleshoot.
  • Excel - I always have Excel open. It's so easy to pop into a sheet to figure out a calculation or some maths or throw a bunch of numbers into a tab to generate a chart quickly. I may later publish something in Google Sheets to share with others, but I always prototype in Excel first just because it's handy.
  • Word - I haven't found anything better than the desktop version of Word for producing documentation. It's portable, self-contained, allows version control, and easily incorporates tables and screenshots. Confluence comes close if your organization is committed to sustaining the platform long-term.
  • Powerpoint - I use this for simple diagrams and flows. There are many better tools like Visio and Lucidcharts, but often it's easy enough for my purposes. I screenshot it into my documentation, but I can also drop the PPTX file into my folder with my documentation. Then there are no issues of forgetting where a diagram is hosted or who has sharing rights to see it.

Get to Know Our Expert

What is the best professional event that you attended recently? What were your key takeaways?

For my money, the best events are industry and trade events not sponsored by a single company. I find a lot of inspiration in the problem-solution model of many presentations.

What's your mantra for success?

Whatever you do today, do it well - do it in a way you can be proud of. Find joy and satisfaction in what you do, and then you're successful every day.

What best interview advice can you give a Salesforce Marketing Cloud Architect looking to set foot in the US IT industry?

There are far more jobs than practitioners who do the work, yet many companies are trying to pay hourly contract rates. If you like the flexibility of contract work, great. But if you'd rather have a full-time job with benefits, hold out for it.

WWhat are the top 5 email marketing software, according to you?

  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud
  • ActiveCampaign
  • MailChimp
  • Litmus
  • Kickbox

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