What do BlackBerry, Blockbuster, and Polaroid have in common? They were all incredibly successful businesses that failed to experiment, innovate, and create the future—leaving uncontested space for visionary companies that could and would do all of those things faster and better. Traditional marketing is poised to be the next Blockbuster, so it’s time to double-knot your running shoes and sprint.

Marketing is at the epicenter of an acceleration of trends more far reaching than we’ve ever seen—advancing 10+ years in just a few months. In this rapidly changing climate, we can no longer continue to use the same, old tactics and expect to drive growth, serve our audiences, curate highly relevant customer journeys, and deliver the exceptional experiences that customers demand in a digital-first world. Good is simply not good enough when our mandate is to create customers for life.

These market forces—namely privacy—are even greater and more far reaching than the digital disruption of the marketing ecosystem from 20 years ago. With the rapid pace of change, we have to make the mother-of-all-pivots today. (Seriously, do it now.)

Do you remember when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone? In an instant, the world became a different place and expectations forever changed as consumers. Now, Apple has decided that privacy is the next mountain to summit by first hindering cross-channel digital tracking, and in fall of 2021, limiting email open tracking for Apple Mail users. While email open metrics have always been “meh”on their own, they are often used to drive engagement via automated/triggered emails and determine winners in A/B testing programs. So, this recent change will affect every company.

Since email is my focus in business, I’ve thought a lot about this recent development and have concluded…

This is a great thing for email marketing.

Thinking back to my BlackBerry days, it was hard for me to imagine ever giving up the BlackBerry keyboard (I still miss it a little), but when I purchased my first iPhone, my needs and expectations adjusted for life in that single moment. The same thing is happening with email, and we can either dig in our heels and be a BlackBerry or create a new future as an iPhone.

Let’s be the iPhone. Here’s how you can answer the call:

  • Gain critical audience insights into your current email subscriber base using advanced email analytics to understand how many of your subscribers are viewing emails on Apple devices and in Apple Mail. You need to capture both email engagement insights from your email optimization solution and performance data from your email service provider to get a 360-degree view of email performance.
  • Create a new segment of those subscribers today, and proactively monitor the engagement of your subscribers to garner insights that you can apply now and after this fall.
  • Build a non-Apple Mail cohort of your subscribers and use that as an audience engagement proxy going forward. The change is only for consumers who view their emails on Apple Mail. With 90+ devices, clients, and applications used for email, you likely have a heterogenous subscriber-base to garner powerful insights.
  • Start using AI-powered tools such as Send Time Optimization (STO) and Subject Line Optimization (SLO) now. STO can help you predict the best time to send your emails; and SLO can help you predict the best-performing subject lines. Apple Mail Privacy changes will create a blind spot in these areas, and as a result, it’s time to get out of spreadsheets and put these modern technologies into practice today.
  • Knock down your data silos and centralize omni-channel information in a customer data platform (CDP) to enrich your email program with additional insights such as website visitors, SMS data, offline engagement, and past-purchase history. Changes in Apple Mail create a blind spot, and as a result, you need to broaden your view to deliver highly relevant, personalized experiences.
  • Give your subscribers what they want and use dynamic content to deliver the right customer, the right offer, at the exact moment they need it.

Just like Apple changed our expectations and use cases for personal mobile devices, the new privacy developments have the same potential for email marketing. Our iPhones are ringing, and all we need to do is answer the call with better engagement insights, personalized content, and a little artificial intelligence sprinkled over the top. And like the iPhone, we’ll look back on our legacy approaches to email marketing, and wonder how we ever survived without comprehensive engagement insights.

For more actions to do right now, read 5 Tips to Prepare Your Email Program for Mail Privacy Protection (and Still Be Successful).



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