Year Wrap-Up By The MKTG Rhythm Team

Major changes in email marketing we have seen this year + predictions for next year

Robbie Fitzwater
Updated on

Each member of our team took a moment to reflect on some of the biggest changes we saw in 2022 and make some predictions as to what will be in store in 2023! We dive into everything from first-party data, compliance, AI and retention.

Robbie Fitzwater

Major changes in 2022.

Zero-party data = marketing buzzword of the year

You could not throw a marketer down the stairs without the words “zero-party” or “first-party” data coming out.

Like “big data” was in 2016 or “omnichannel” was in 2018, zero-party data seemed to be the marketing buzzwords of the year. It connects with more emphasis being placed on owning the customer relationship and not being beholden to 3rd party providers to reach your customers. 

Big brands trying to be small. We started to see a large number of big brands start to try and be small leveraging simple plain text emails alongside their current designed HTML email templates.

Basically, for them, this is a way to work to build a more human connection with their audience and give a different way to approach an interaction. Sending these emails from an “avatar” also gives them a way to make it feel like an interaction with a human and gives them a chance to zig while everyone else is zagging.

This is a trend I believe we are going to see continuing for the next few years. 

Predictions for 2023:

More emphasis on retention: 

With Facebook ads and Google ads becoming more and more challenging combined with a cooling in eCommerce growth. Retention marketing is going to have a bigger seat at the table for more marketing teams. What channel is likely going to be the primary driver of that retention? You guessed it, email. When we see a tightening of the belt for budgets, we are going to see businesses work to maximize the LTV of their customers, and I believe we are going to see some awesome innovation happening around customer retention.

Leveraging AI images and text. 

With the introduction of generative AI tools like Doll-E, ChatGPT and GPT4 (in 2023), the world of images or writing is poised to get disrupted. While these are not going to replace human creatives anytime soon, I really think they are going to supplement what humans are already doing.

Helping to create unique images for an email, creating a few samples of text for body copy. These tools can add a layer that was not possible before and likely speed up the process for email creatives to go from concept to final product.

We have started poking around with some of these tools, and they are incredibly powerful! 

“No tricks, just treats” Will Not Die

The cheesiest email headline of all time will likely once again rear its ugly head starting late August 2023.

This is, in some ways, more of a rant than a prediction, but this one really needs to end. 🙃

Jesse Godfrey

Major changes in 2022:

Movement away from image-only emails. While web and email accessibility standards are not a new development for designers, many have been sneaking by with email designs purely built from sliced images.

While it can be potentially more time-consuming to build hybrid emails that include sliced images as well as live content, the payoff is that the experience is good for all customers, not just the ones with adequate vision.

There are also potential legal ramifications for certain types of entities failing to meet WCAG Compliance. I believe eventually, we will see full adoption of these practices in, not just in the web space but in email as well.

Predictions for 2023:

Personal analytics recaps. One email that caught my attention most in late 2022 was one from Netflix that had a very well-designed report of what themes and topics my children were absorbing from their Netflix Kids profile.

My son is really into Power Rangers, so Netflix reported that common themes across his recently watched were “Good vs. Evil” and “Being Brave.”

This is a really neat idea to utilize data you own as a brand but report it back to the consumer in an interesting and thoughtful way. We’ve seen this for a while, with Google Nest reporting back to us via email about how our energy consumption compares to previous months. I think we’re starting to see more and more brands figure out how to leverage their data in personalized, consumer facing recaps in 2023. 

Carese Brown

Major changes in 2022:

Email Interactivness:

As we continue to move forward into the digital age, consumers want something that will catch their attention in the first 3 seconds of viewing anything.

In 2022 more and more companies started to be more interactive in the emails they send out. Obviously, at this point, it’s all about the design concept, the usability of the email, and how it affects the user experience.

Predictions for 2023:

More emphasis on User-Generated Content (UGC):

Many things can impact a person’s purchase decision. One of those is persuasion from other people through text, images, videos, etc.

Companies are noticing the trend, and UGC will be a significant driver for converting consumers in email campaigns and automations. One of the first things I do when I see a product is look at the reviews to see other people’s experiences with the product. It’s not the end all be all, but it has a factor in my decision process.

Edvina Nesukaityte

Major changes in 2022:

Email personalization

By using different marketing automation platforms, for example, Klaviyo, eCommerce businesses are able to collect more and more valuable first-party data that helps to improve customers’ shopping experience by suggesting content and products that the customer is looking for.

First-party data can mean something as simple as the customer’s first name or birthday, as well as something a little bit more into the weeds. If I’m a sports apparel company, I might be interested in knowing how many times per week or where my audience like to workout, indoors or outdoors.

That helps to collect valuable data that we can utilize to recommend content or products that the specific client is interested in and that will add value to its shopping experience. Because every customer is different and the reasons they purchase/subscribe to your brand are unique. 

Growth of email marketing

Another trend that has constantly been growing over a couple of years is e-commerce businesses’ focus on email marketing. We can see that more and more businesses, and not only eCommerce companies, invest in email marketing and seek knowledge and guidance in this area.

Email is a great platform to reach your audience and have an intimate one-on-one conversation. More people nowadays prefer shopping from the comfort of their couches, and email is one of the best ways to connect and talk to your audience as well as virtually work through your store. 

Predictions for 2023:

Dark mode

As a dark mode user and an email marketer, I don’t see dark more losing its popularity any time soon.

Opposite, as many marketers predict, the popularity will continue to grow.  Even though it’s been out for a while, many eCommerce businesses still struggle to optimize their emails to those users. It will stay as one of the biggest challenges for email marketers. 

The AI-powered subject line and copywriting tools 

As the number of emails we are sending out continues to increase, it’s getting harder and harder to come up with new and original subject lines as well as copy. The big help here is the AI.

Even though it’s not perfect at the moment, it’s a great help to spark some ideas and help with writer’s block. By doing a little bit of editing and adding your brand voice and personality, the AI can help to speed up the process, and for somebody like me, who does not always enjoy the process of writing, make it a little bit less painful.  

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