Email Insider Summit has an interesting format. The event brings together a bunch of sponsors who pay and a curated list of attendees who get to come for free. Mornings are for the conference sessions, while afternoons are for fun events (cruise, beach, golf), and evenings for cocktails and dinner. The venue chosen is quite isolated in the sense that there are no other things to do, which means maximum engagement time for the sponsors. There is enough time to engage 1:1 with many of the attendees. The format reminded me of what Netcore used to do with its Hashout events.
The conference sessions provided a good overview of the email space with a mix of product presentations from the sponsors and brand stories from some of the attendees. I spoke on the third day just before the close on Email 2.0. I was presenting to a live audience in the US after many years. My focus was on the innovations that can make email an even more powerful channel of communication and engagement with existing customers. [I have written about Email 2.0 previously on my blog here and here.] The five ideas that comprise Email 2.0 are Hooked Score, AMP, Ems, Atomic Rewards and Progency.
Some of the learnings and inputs from the conference and conversations:
- When pitching a “switch” solution (like we were doing), it is necessary to initially talk co-existence. Rip-and-replace is not an easy option for most brands. So, even though we had a stack that could do a lot and meet all the needs of marketers, we needed to figure out how to “land and expand”.
- I realised that we have a good opportunity for thought leadership in the email space globally. Most of our larger competitors have been bought by CPaaS companies. We are one of the few “originals” in this space. There is very limited innovation happening. As such, there was very good interest in the ideas we proposed – especially AMP, Atomic Rewards and Progency.
- My blog writings were very useful. I would send relevant links to the people I met. The idea of one new post daily for the past two years has now created a huge library of work that I can share with others.
- Email remains a very powerful communication channel for brands. The use of email has risen sharply over the past two years, despite rising competition from alternatives (push notifications, SMS, and in some cases, WhatsApp). Email’s advantages (no controller, open access, ability to support rich media, low price) continue to work to its advantage. Of course, the sophistication has increased: instead of broadcast messages, there is now segmentation and personalisation. AMP brings in interactivity and Atomic Rewards adds gamification.
- Some of the standard words and phrases that were used by the presenters: omnichannel, cross-channel, personalised, unified, customer experience, (hyper) segmentation, customer journeys, campaigns, experimentation preferences, loyalty, gamification, engagement, triggers, deliverability, inboxing, conversations (and not just a focus on conversion), linkages to CDPs (customer data platforms), use of AI to ease marketer’s life, zero- and first-party data.
- Also, against the backdrop of Apple’s privacy protection framework, Google’s decision to do away with cookies, and caching of images, “opens” as a metric needed an alternative. (This is where I spoke about Hooked Score.)
In this context, I was quite pleased with the Email 2.0 framework that I presented. Innovation in email has largely stagnated, and it was good to be able to discuss a set of genuinely exciting ideas for taking email to the next level.