What Is Email Marketing 2.0?


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Email marketing isn’t dead, but it certainly was a close call. For a long time, digital marketers used strategies such as batching and blasting and shotgun-pattern email campaigns to get their messages out. These traditional email marketing strategies gave email a bad rap and sent consumers running for the hills. Fortunately, some thought leaders and innovators refused to write email marketing off, and the one-size-fits all approach is a thing of the past.

Today’s email marketing campaigns use dynamic content, segmentation, targeting and analytics to send contextual and personalized emails like never before. This new take on email also establishes the channel as the thread that connects today’s most effective cross-channel marketing campaigns.

We call this revitalization of the old digital marketing strategy, email marketing 2.0.

Email Marketing 2.0 Gets Personal

Bulk email strategies were a common practice when in the early days of email marketing. These strategies were pretty horrible from a consumer perspective: customer preferences, location, demographics and devices weren’t considered—everyone received the same email. Such methods reflect a time when digital marketers had few tools—and even fewer options—to conduct personalized, contextual email marketing campaigns.

This was also well before mobile hit the scene, when checking one’s inbox from a desktop triggered more dread than joy as email recipients trudged through tons of impersonal messages in search of one they could actually relate to. It wasn’t that marketers were thrilled about sending “Dear [insert name here]” messages, either; they just didn’t have any other options.

Fast-forward to 2015, and it’s clear that personalization has taken email marketing to a new and exciting level. Email personalization has given brands the ability to craft meaningful messages that speak to consumers based on offers and information relevant to their wants and needs, transforming the email channel into one that consumers actually enjoy interacting with.

Couple modern personalization efforts with broader access to email via mobile devices and you’ve got the recipe for an email-channel revival. Think about it: there was a time when checking your email meant sitting down at a desk and waiting impatiently for a screeching modem to connect you to your inbox. Now over half of all emails opened are on mobile devices. No doubt about it: checking our email is a lot more fun than it used to be.

Email Marketing 2.0 and Automation Go Hand In Hand

According to the DMA, there are more than 4 billion email accounts worldwide. With numbers like that, it’s probably a good idea to consider your email marketing automation methods. Marketing automation has strengthened email by giving marketers the ability to consolidate multiple workflows to create the right emails for the right customers at the right time. Consider what it takes to run an effective email marketing campaign: crafting content and offers for specific people, getting your timing right before sending emails, planning re-engagement strategies and follow-up actions . . . the amount of work involved can be overwhelming.

Complex workflows that are requirements for email personalization would be impossible for email marketers to manage without having the right technology and plans in place for marketing automation. Of course, setting up a marketing automation system can seem like a daunting task, but a little heavy lifting up front will help campaigns run smoothly and efficiently in the long run.

When it comes to email marketing 2.0 and email automation, you really can’t separate the two.

Email Marketing 2.0 Is Cool with Content

I don’t think anyone can speak to the resurgence of email marketing without mentioning the influence content marketing has had on the newly revitalized email channel. Content is still king, and brands that have been able to deliver meaningful content through email have driven the channel to the next level.

To define what meaningful content is, let’s take a quick look at what it is not. During the dark days of email 1.0, many marketers were using emails like glorified coupon books. These marketers were devaluing their brand by hashing out emails touting 20-percent-off sales every single day.
This daily-coupon strategy hurt brands in several ways. First, it told consumers they should never pay full price for an offer or item because apparently it’s always on sale. Second, the daily influx of the same boring emails tended to end up in recipients’ trash folder. Third, the sense of urgency these email offers should have created was forfeited by the frequency and irrelevance of those messages.

Luckily, we’re starting to see some really cool content making its way through the email channel. Digital marketers are digging deeper into the relationship between their brands and email by asking themselves, “What’s my brand? How do I define my brand? How can I use email to help advance my brand?” all before sitting down to hash out the type of content that will shed the best light on the overall message.

Master Email Marketing 2.0

Not sure where to start your revitalized email marketing journey? Check out these three best practices for mastering your next email marketing campaign.

1. Keep It Cool. Delivering great offers and information is crucial to effective email marketing, but don’t forget to make it entertaining, too! After all, if your customers aren’t interested in what they’re reading, your correspondence is at risk for an appointment with the local spam folder. What’s the easiest way to ensure your emails will engage customers? Next time you’re hashing out an email, just ask yourself this one question: is this something I would be interested in?

2. Make It Personal. The most interesting emails are the ones that speak to us on a personal level. Creating contextual emails that speak to customers’ interests, location, delivery preferences, and demographic give email recipients a personal reason to keep reading your messages every time they hit the inbox.

3. Give Consumers Options. Email marketer Becs Rivett cites an easy-to-remember acronym on her website: SEEAT, or “Stop Emailing Everyone All The Time.” If you’re still batching and blasting, then it’s time to stop emailing everyone all the time and start giving your customers options by creating customer preference centers. Allowing customers to opt-in to emails instead of including an opt-out disclaimer on every unwanted message lets consumers control how often they receive your marketing emails.

Email is the hot new kid on the block again, thanks to the rejuvenated channel’s fresh approach to improving the customer experience. Email marketing 2.0 means better methods of personalization, automation, and content creation than ever before, giving customers more of what they want, when they want it.

Email is here to stay. Is your brand embracing the resurrection of the email channel that is email marketing 2.0?

Bridgette Darling
Bridgette Darling is a product marketing manager for Adobe Campaign. In this role, she focuses on marketing and strategy for Campaign's email marketing capabilities. Darling is passionate about helping email marketers achieve their goals by educating on best practices, advancements in technology, and overall strategy.


  1. Nice article. I was enlighten more of what is email marketing is all about. Very informative. Thanks for this one.


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