More email marketing role specialization means more value

Fighting to convey the complexity and labor of email marketing work is such a common experience across our community. Seeing the shift from email being one of many responsibilities for a marketer to the development of specialist roles feels like email finally being given its due. 

Here’s what our experts think is particularly noteworthy:

  • Email developer roles are being posted every day, with remote work being the standard, all of which are positive signs.
  • There’s still a supply and demand issue. Trying to find people with in-depth knowledge can be a challenge. We’ll also see email marketers asked to flex outside of email into social, SMS, and other forms of engagement.
  • Being able to specialize in email as a designer allows focus on email as a discrete design medium, which makes for a higher quality of work.
  • There’s a clear line from the pandemic and recession to email becoming the primary marketing channel for many companies because of its high return on investment (ROI), to those companies investing more into their email programs, to driving more innovation as a result, to the creation of more niche roles. 

💭 What about being a well-rounded email marketer?

It’s helpful to have a broad knowledge base, but role specialization represents a great step forward in how the skillset of an email marketing professional is being more properly valued in the larger marketing industry. The fewer hats we have to wear, the more we can focus on the quality of the work, the better it is for us, our companies, and our subscribers.


Hyper-personalization is the latest iteration of an evergreen trend

We have a long-held association of personalization being the very basic use of first names—which is due for an update.

Hyper-personalization as a term is merely the way we try to describe the need for deeper connection with subscribers, beyond the first name.

Here are recommendations from our experts on how to approach hyper-personalization:

  • Reframe personalization. What are the things I can talk about with our subscribers that are specific to their experience of my company?
  • Collaborate between customer relationship management data teams and email teams needs to be happening much earlier in the process, because the medium affects what’s possible with personalization as much as what data we have available.
  • Dynamic content has surpassed first name personalization for many companies.
  • Keep the big picture in mind when organizing your data. Understand that consolidating sources of data will speed and ease the development process.

💭 Why is personalization always a trend?

You might be thinking, “Personalization always seems to be on the email marketing trends list.” That’s a very understandable response.

Personalization will be a trend as long as human beings are the ones reading email. While relevance will be a moving target that is always worth our energy to try and hit, the practice of personalization overall reflects the evergreen human need to feel seen and known.


Will AI start to influence email marketing content?

In 2021, we reported that 70% of brands were increasing email marketing work, but budgets have largely stayed the same. Is that where AI comes in as a tool? 

Our experts weigh in with a range of perspectives:

  • These services potentially raise everyone’s game. You can give an AI service a prompt and receive content that you can then tweak to be good enough to use.
  • There’s a quality gap. AI-produced images are pixel-based, not vector, which limits their utility. 
  • There are ethical concerns. Many conversations in design spaces right now focus on how AI services are trained and the replication of biases, as well as how they themselves rely on real designers’ work, raising concerns about plagiarism. 

💭 Is this the best use of AI tools?

On one hand, AI content creation services can potentially be helpful for time- or resource-strapped marketers (and your humble recapper has yet to meet a marketer with enough time). On the other, the very real ethical questions around their use of human-created work to learn, the potential for bias in how content is presented, and the overall impact of these services on how we value actual human creative output brings into question whether we want to support this as the way that AI tools develop. There are many ways AI could automate and assist us that wouldn’t involve potential plagiary, bias, and devaluation of human creativity. 


More interactivity in emails

Interactivity generates twice as many conversions as static content, according to Demand Metric, and Dyspatch says that 50% of email recipients said they want to interact more with content inside their email. 

Here’s what our experts say about interactivity:

  • Email marketers want to create a memorable experience. Interactivity—hover effects, image carousels, polls, AMP—can be seen as a key method for doing just that.
  • No one has to start from scratch. There are so many examples and tutorials online, and as Alice Li has mentioned in the past, hover states are a great interactive refinement to an email that take very little time to implement.
  • “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” It’s worth putting in the due diligence to figure out your subscribers’ email clients and what sorts of interactive elements are supported, and then to figure out if the addition of those elements is generating what you need from an email. 

💭 Does interactivity have to be a major effort?

Deciding whether to invest in interactivity within your emails is always going to come down to knowing what is supported in your subscriber’s email clients and whether you or your team has the additional bandwidth to devote time to it. However, if it makes sense for your audience, there are many examples and options of adding interactivity with low effort


Sentiment polls measure engagement and emotional response

It’s less tangible in some ways than clicks and opens, but a sentiment poll is a great way to know if a subscriber is enjoying the content they’re seeing. 

interactive email sentiment poll on Litmus' newsletter

Sentiment poll in created with Litmus Personalize

Our experts advise us on what to keep in mind with sentiment polls:

  • Helpful for long-form newsletters where there are no click-away calls to action.
  • Make it very clear what the user is expected to do. Avoid ambiguous rating scales. 
  • Pick a style that fits with your visual brand, and consider where you want to place it in your content hierarchy.

💭 Why should we care about sentiment?

In a post-Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) world, we’re looking for new ways to measure engagement and know whether our content is connecting with our subscribers. Sentiment polls can be a straightforward, easy to implement method of gathering an emotional response from our subscribers, and gauging the level of satisfaction with our content overall can be important data to have on hand when reforming or improving our email programs.