Leveraging the customer data in marketing clouds, email marketers can run data-driven campaigns without necessarily having to send more emails.

We were all kids once. And one of the best things about being a kid was the summer vacation.

Summer vacation meant getting out of school. For some kids, it’s like getting out of jail. For others, it might mean going to camp or on vacation with their families.

For the longest time in email-land, it’s felt like an endless school year. The difference with email school, though, is that it seems like we are repeating the same classes over and over again: Segmenting 101 and Deliverability 101. Once in a while, a substitute teacher will come in and the lesson will be "best time to send an email". You have my permission to doze off during these.  


Today, however, I’d like to lecture about the future of email. It’s about getting out of school and taking a vacation: A vacation from using your data to send email and from focusing solely on sending email.

Over the last decade or so, something exciting has been going on right outside the classroom windows. Some of our classmates have left the building and have been getting onto buses: marketing cloud buses.

The first time that one of our classmates got onto the bus was more than 10 years ago. Experian bought CheetahMail. Around that same time, InfoUSA bought Yesmail and Acxiom bought Digital Impact. Then GSI Commerce (soon to be eBay) bought eDialog. And Datran Media bought Postup (previously Stormpost). Those were interesting acquisitions but the best was yet to come.  Email wasn’t cool again…yet. Data companies buying email companies made sense and didn’t look revolutionary.

Things started heating up when Salesforce bought Exact Target, Oracle bought Eloqua and Responsys, Adobe (Read more...) NeoLane, IBM bought Silverpop and then NetSuite bought Bronto. What were these SaaS CRM companies doing buying email marketing firms?  

It turns out that what these companies were trying to do had nothing to do with getting into the traditional email game. These companies were evolving their business from being CIO and CFO focused to being CMO focused. CMO, as in chief MARKETING officer.

Some email companies have been repeating the same grade every year, getting bigger but not graduating. The Marketing Cloud companies who bought email marketing firms have separated from their classmates, brought along some of the best students and want to see how they do at a new school.


School starts this summer. There’s no vacation, and this school has some new additions to the curriculum. First up? CRM Retargeting.

You see, every single one of these marketing clouds is competing for attention from the CMOs of the world.  The CMO is going to get the lion’s share of the spend for digital media and now that she doesn’t have to spend it on advertising that can’t be measured, she is going to use all the tools at her disposal to reach customers in her database. And a smart CMO will reach them wherever they are paying attention –in email, social, display, or mobile.

By leveraging the customer data that resides in databases carefully managed by email marketing teams, CMOs will be able to run campaigns that are email data-driven without necessarily sending any more email than they already send. The new schools will go far beyond the old required segmentation classes. The new syllabi will cover how to be creative with data in fresh and innovative ways.

While you are thinking about what you are going to do this summer, pay attention to your marketing cloud peers.  I have heard whispers of their summer plans and they are pretty intriguing!  Watch this space for more on the exciting things they have in store for us.

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