Everything that Happened in Email Marketing in 2023
Written by Philip Storey
3 Minute Read
2023 was a huge year in email marketing. In this post, we'll explore all of the latest developments and trends in email in 2023, as well as a look at what's coming in 2024. From personalisation to interactivity, multichannel integrated campaigns to email's new place in the boardroom, this is not to be missed...
2023 was the year that email (finally) found its place in the boardroom
This year, we saw a huge shift in how seriously email marketing has been taken by brands of all sizes. 2023 was the year where email had a voice in boardrooms for the first time since paid social came into play over a decade ago. Attention and budget was taken from paid channels and social, with email showing its value to boards in pure ROI.
In 2024, we'll see email and CRM get even more attention and budget, as brands collected evidence of its success throughout this year.
AI became part of the email marketers' workflow
There are two marketer archetypes that have adopted AI for email:
The all-in archetype
Average email marketers elected all responsibility of email marketing to AI. At the enterprise side of email, we've seen a handful of brands almost finding it impossible to recover their control from CDPs, where emails are being fired without any marketer effort, but also without the knowledge of the marketing team! At the start-up end of things, we are seeing brands use pre-build recipes for automation, generally resulting in poor results. This cannot be scaled and requires most marketers to start again - from scratch.
The assistant archetype
Great email marketers learned how to leverage and embed AI to assist their ideation, planning and execution of email marketing. They did this to make their workflow faster and their output even better, whilst retaining control of their work. This can be scaled.
Brands embraced multichannel digital messaging
Part of the resurgence of email marketing in 2023 was due to how much more integrated it became in digital messaging. In 2023, it became commonplace for brands to weave email, SMS, push, WhatsApp and even direct mail into one comms strategy. This has been mainly led by ESPs and marketing platforms making big advancements in multichannel capability. Now, even the most affordable platforms enable one strategy across all channels
Next year, this will continue further, as many more marketers are tasked with bringing messaging together across all channels in CRM. And who knows what we might see in terms of martech improvements in 2024...
Interactivity in email got real...
Interactivity in email became much more widely adopted. We saw a massive increase in the adoption of platforms such as Movable Ink, as well as AMP, in the inbox.
Campaigns featuring these apps within email, generally show incremental uplift in terms of performance when split-tested, but we also know from our own research and results, that many consumers still don't understand how some interactivity in the inbox works and they don't expect it. For example, it's possible to show an interactive shopping cart in email. We've tried this with a number of brands and the performance results and survey results clearly prove that consumers aren't ready or aware or in need of this solution. At best, this means it doesn't get used. At worst, it means that it creates enough friction for people to switch off...
It will likely take another few years for some of the more advanced interactivity to stick with subscribers, but next year we're likely to see more and more campaigns and automation featuring AMP and interactive elements.
CDPs became mainstream
In 2023, we saw customer data platforms go from a nice to have to a must-have for serious email marketers. Our friends at Klaviyo launched their new CDP as we see marketers expecting a CDP directly in their email platform.
2024 will see SMEs massively adopt CDPs on the same scale as enterprise brands, as CDPs become a standard part of the email marketers' toolkit.
Lifecycle marketing roles grew
In the rise of automation and personalisation, we saw lifecycle marketing roles spring up in many organisations. Typically tasked with managing recurring campaigns across the customer lifecycle, this role is an important development in CRM - in the brands where we see this approach being adopted, there is a clear distinction in responsibility between lifecycle marketing and campaign marketing.
Whilst these activations are clearly different and it makes sense to some extent to have these sitting in separate roles, it is crucial that marketers don't lose sight of the customer's needs - one relationship and voice from your brand. CMOs must measure not just effectiveness in terms of results, but also consistency of voice and relevance, to directly correlate results with CRMs ability to improve CLV.
2023 was a massive year in email. Perhaps the greatest year of change that we've seen in recent times. Next year is set to be just as exciting and the channel of email continues to evolve at pace.
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