14 predictions for email marketing in 2031

Latest posts | By Mark Brownlow | 18 Comments | Licence this content

changesA dull, grey day here in Vienna, so I thought I’d resurrect and update a less-than-serious and very old post about the future of email marketing.

What will it look like in 20 years time? Inspired by a conversation on Google+ with Remy Bergsma and Kelly Lorenz.

  • Email trigger technology is so advanced that the triggered email reaches your inbox before you take the action required to trigger it.
  • Email designers complain bitterly about rendering problems with Outlook 2030.
  • Online integration now means you get a Tweet about a text message on your smartphone telling you to check email for a note alerting you to a wall post on Facebook informing you of a chat message from a friend who wants to add you to his LinkedIn contacts.
  • Experts recommend adding a “view on desktop” link to the preheader to account for the few people who are still using desktop devices.
  • Adjustments to US Can-Spam legislation extend the definition of the term “sender” to include birds, reptiles and higher invertebrates. But it still doesn’t require an opt-in.
  • Thanks to almost universal image suppression, 3% is now considered a good open rate.
  • At least one news headline declares that “email is dead,” while industry commentators complain that email has the highest ROI of all direct response media but still isn’t getting the budget it deserves. Plus ça change.
  • Attention spans are so short that Twitter is now preferred for lead nurturing campaigns that require a long copy approach.
  • 40% of retailers do not design their emails for blocked holograms. Recipients simply see a spinning red cross accompanied by a security warning.
  • Continuing concerns over privacy and permission lead to the introduction of treble opt-in. After clicking a link in a confirmation email, would-be subscribers are asked to solve a Sudoku puzzle in under 60 seconds before their email is added to the list.
  • You can still buy 1 million email addresses for $99. It’s still a bad idea.
  • Personalization advances mean the offer in an email updates itself based on your browsing behavior after receiving the mail. (Actually, that’s a prediction.)
  • The Yahoo Live Gmail New! webmail interface blocks images, blacks out text, hides the sender name, deletes the subject line and issues a strong security warning on all incoming emails that aren’t in a paid certification program…run by Yahoo Live Gmail.
  • Web 5.0 focuses on the production of intelligent, thoughtful content by individuals with an objective understanding of the subject matter. It doesn’t catch on.

Your suggestions?

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Permalink | October 25th, 2011 | 18 Comments »
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18 comments on “14 predictions for email marketing in 2031”

  1. There is no need to wait that long – our dev. team must have spoken with you – we are releasing many of these features in Q1 next year…..

    With some optional upgrades. The “entangled photon” plug-in will ensure real-time synchronisation with your history and current and future thoughts and every single online and offline interface – anywhere in any universe.

    And an abridged version of Twitter – “t” will condense tweets to just 10 characters spawning a whole new “Esperanto-ish” acronym language.

    Biometric Opt-in is the only way – your personal DNA sequence will already be “co-owned” or “shared” with the ApGoYah corporationand read through your fingertips as you opt-in.

    Oh, those grey days…brought a smile to my face, have some work to do now.

    Thanks Mark.

  2. Mark Brownlow says:

    Robin: “Biometric opt-in” – I think you need to patent that concept ASAP!

  3. It needs a bit or work…. apparently a Sachertorte made your last post….

  4. Mark Brownlow says:

    That’s closer to the truth than you might think.

  5. Jarrod says:

    So holograms are the new animated gifs? I knew it!

    I think you missed the teleport-linked call to actions. “Buy in-store now!”

  6. Andy T says:

    As I read this I knew Robin would drop in an entangled photon – nice!

    Loving the teleport cta! click through to be beamed to the store now!

    By then the biometric opt-in would have then been expanded to allow senders to report & retarget by DNA etc. and all of the information available from it in 2031, eg: segment by hair colour, shoe size & what you ate last night.

    With the new smart phones being a chip in your brain, triggered emails based on where you are and what you’re thinking about eating for lunch?
    and Retarget based on emotional state at point of open :-D

  7. Mark Brownlow says:

    …then they’ll be cloning people by reverse engineering their inbox.

    If they adjust copy on the fly to account for emotional state at open, all the emails I get will start: “Tired?”

  8. Kelly Lorenz says:

    I am late to seeing this, but really great updates! :) Always love your humor posts…almost as much as the meaty ones.

  9. Mark Brownlow says:

    Thanks Kelly!

  10. Anna Yeaman says:

    Just digging myself out of my work to check out your new posts…the bit about adjusting copy to your emotional state on open made me laugh, “Tired?” :)

    I’ve been reading up on mobile sensors lately and this NY Times article talks about mood sensors:


  11. Hopefully I’ll be long retired by then and sitting on a deck chair somewhere nice

  12. Remy Bergsma says:

    Great to see how it turned out Mark :)

    I have one addition, on mobile:

    Optimizing images/designs for mobile is now a lost cause with 15.549 screen sizes in the field.

    Instead, email marketers rely on vector graphics to dynamically resize all email content. Be sure to have your Flash player v34.3 installed.


  13. I think some of these suggestions back up the principle that “the more things change, the more they remain the same”!

  14. “You can still buy 1 million email addresses for $99. It’s still a bad idea.” Is that number adjusted for inflation? I got an email today for 10MM email addresses for only $99.

  15. Haha great post! I think you left a link out of the chain in point 3 though > a “social” robot that taps you on the shoulder and tells you about the tweet.


  16. Dan says:

    I spat my screen quite a few times while reading this article and comments :-) Thanks guys.