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EP #23 CMO Insider Edition: Global Email Trends 2021

EP #23 CMO Insider Edition: Global Email Trends 2021

About this Podcast

Do you want to know how email marketing will evolve in 2021?

We asked 200+ CMO’s to get important trends and help email marketers craft their entire email strategy.

Here we present the Global email Trends Report 2021- CMO’s insider edition.

In this podcast, joining with us was Raghavendra Hunasgi, CMO, Evolutyz Corp with our host Tanishq Juneja

There has been a lot of pivoting due to the changes in customer behaviour last year. Through this report, know-how do the marketing leaders chart their part and make decisions for their marketing strategy related to KPIs, budget, hiring etc

The email has been proven to be a great growth spinner in 2020. And so, it is essential to know what marketing leaders and CMO’s are thinking about the evolution in 2021 about email marketing. 

Get a fresh perspective on Email Trends in 2021 now!

Episode Transcripts

Intro/Outro:  You’re listening to the ForTheLoveOfEmails podcast, powered by Netcore, a weekly show dedicated to helping email marketers, marketing enthusiasts, and professionals of all walks, engage, grow, and retain customers.Through reliable, smart, and effective email communication and engagement. Discover actionable ways to increase ROI and deliver value through email innovations, personalization, optimization, email deliverability, and email campaigns.No fluff tune in to hear best practices and tactical solutions from the best thought leaders and practitioners master your email communication now.

Tanishq Juneja  (0:43): Hello everyone and welcome to For The Love Of Emails podcast powered by Netcore. This one is a special episode. It’s a curtain-raiser, a special one where we will be unfolding opinions and recommendations from the global marketing leaders assembled in a short report. CMO insider edition global email trends 2021 is what our report is called. 2021 mattered a lot to everyone for its fresh approach and new thinking. It is essential to know what marketing leaders and CMO’S are thinking about, what is going to change in 2021? I’m sure there is a lot to discuss. A new rule book or some kind of old classic concept. We will find that out in today’s podcast. I have in the house, Tejas Pitkar, product marketer from Netcore and the author and analyst behind the report we have which we are discussing today. Welcome, Tejas.

Tejas Pitkar  (1:41): Hi Tanishq, It is great to be here.

Tanishq Juneja  (1:44): Superb. We also have an extraordinary guest. He’s a marketing monk, industry CMO and author of the national bestseller, unleashing growth. Welcome to the show Raghav.

Raghavendra Hunasgi  (1:58): Thanks, Tanishq. It’s a privilege to be on this podcast with you and Tejas.

Tanishq Juneja  (2:03): Thank you so much, Raghav. So what we want to do today Raghav and Tejas are discussing this exclusive report. Raghav, you have been part of the report and you have contributed and you have read the report. So, we will start with you. How are these marketing reports which are, you know, every year there are a lot of marketing reports which come out? How are these reports useful for the marketing fraternity?

Raghavendra Hunasgi  (2:28): That’s a very good start, I would say Tanishq. And if you look at today’s CMO role, right, CMO isn’t an ever-evolving role. And to a large extent, he is the person who is steering the ship in the right direction. And whether it is in terms of positioning, whether it is in terms of where the organization should be heading. One thing that a CMO would heavily rely on are these industry expert opinions and reports like this, this is the need of the hour, right? Whether you look at you know what a Gartner writes, or what a Forrester writes, markets and markets, Everest group there, there are so many, you know, firms out there who put out so many reports. But, you know, is their one-pointed sharp report that can help or guide CMO’S as a specialist is always the question. I mean, for the last 10 odd years that I have been working as a CMO, One thing that has really, phenomenally helped me craft my whole, whether it is about marketing spend, whether it is about what I want to do, in terms of, you know, that tools and the Martech stack to go after all of those decisions have been, you know, heavily guided by these reports. And these reports are, I mean, you’re getting into the brain and mindset of so many other global leaders and you know, getting, you know, valuable feedback from them. So there is a great report, you know, a great need for reports like this. I would just take two seconds, pause and tell you why something that you and Tejas and the Netcore team has put together is so phenomenal, right? I have at least in the last 10 odd years of my experience, not come across a specialist report that talks about email trends, platforms, and all of that. I mean, I’m so excited about this podcast, I will talk to you about what trends I love and what I have liked about the report but this report, I would say is an all-star report and it will help any CMO who’s you know, working on large brands, large volumes of emails and stuff like that.

Tanishq Juneja  (4:27): Raghav, Thank you so much. That’s an amazing, encouraging word for us. Netcore sits on a lot of data because we send out billions of emails every month. We want that we can average out and you know, bring me last year’s launched email benchmark report 2020 which got a phenomenal response from the market. And this year we are launching this global email trends marketing edition or CMO edition where we have global marketing leaders contributing to it, your words encourage us and tell us that we need to continue to build such reports and help contribute to the marketing fraternity forward. Tejas, the author of this report, I would like to understand, you know, what was the thought behind it? And why did we build this report?

Tejas Pitkar  (5:10): So this report is more important now, because of the events of the last year especially. Because last year, as we know, it was super disruptive for marketing programs and different media budget cuts that marketers have to face, there was a lot of pivoting of email programs, even in some case, business strategies of companies changed media, there was a hiring freeze, there was a freeze on investing in any kind of technology or platforms. So now with the economy reopening, will there be a different pattern emerging for trends? That’s what got us thinking when we decided to work on this report that, you know because the social and economic challenges of 2020 are still going to continue this year as well. And for the major five years or 10 years, we have mass inoculation, so vaccinations are taking place. Now, just wondering how the Marketing Leaders chart their path and make the decisions this year, because major decisions are taken by marketing leaders, as we know, like CMOS and CEOs, and they, you know, provide a trajectory for the company’s growth in a way. So, email has proven to be a bit of growth Spanner. Now that we all know that and it continues to have a significant impact on organizational goals. So this is a decision economy like you mentioned before, and you know, sound judgment by Marketing Leaders is required for leadership to thrive in this economy. This is the economy of Infinite Leverage, as well. So the trends that are developing in email marketing right now, need to be leveraged by these Marketing Leaders to make better decisions and the investment, in the budgeting, hiring, deciding about the key performance indicators this year for success. So, we analyzed around 200 plus marketing leaders from the US, Europe, Southeast Asia, and India. All of them are top leaders. And it’s one of the primary reasons why we wanted to conduct a survey and ask some interesting questions today to you know, get a kind of perspective of what kind of decisions they’re looking forward to, what kind of trends they would have followed this year, and get a consensus on that. So we wanted to know what they think about their company’s position in terms of email marketing that they’re going to follow this year. And we want to write a specific statistical report, you know, for global Marketing Leaders to follow after reading this report and take their email programs to the next level.

Tanishq Juneja  (7:26): Awesome. Tejas, that’s quite insightful, why we are building this report, you spoke about exciting questions. interesting questions. I will also tell you about my favourite question at the end, almost at the end of the podcast. So Raghav, I would like to know from you, you are an industry CMO, you recommend or mentor so many companies? What have you observed in 2021, to be the top two trends you would want to share with us?

Raghavendra Hunasgi  (7:54): So, I’m glad you asked the question Tanishq and for me, before I go ahead and talk about it, I would like to confess, this report was also an eye-opener for me. I mean, this kind of brought in a very new fresh perspective on a lot of things, right. I’m sure most of us on this podcast and people listening to this would have read the Gartner CMO spend report that came in 2020. It said in 2020 marketing budgets were cut down by 44%. And that way you know, whether you are a solution provider to CMOS or you are a CMO of a leading organization, it is always a matter of concern when somebody says significant budget cuts. So when I got my hands on this report, I was thrilled to look at the survey, right. And this is no joke. This is the survey from 200, industry-leading CMOS. And when they all said, I mean, if you look at the report when the report is launched, I’m sure you know, most of us listening to the podcast are eager to get our hands on the report, you will see that 68.71% of CMOS are telling 2021 there will be a huge upside on marketing spend, which means the budgets are going to increase. And this is a beautiful trend. Because for multiple reasons. A, like Tejas, was also telling us in 2020 with the pandemic hitting us and all of that there was a little, you know, slow down in everything that a CMO did, and 2021 for sure I’m seeing a great uptake. And with this increase in budget, I’m sure there will be a lot more for CMOS to play around to experiment and things like that. That’s like the number one trend that I loved about. The second you know, an undebated trend that came out very clearly, right? Is everybody saying AI is a must-have component in email, right? If you look at two, three years ago, this was almost like you know, probably a fantasy to think that you know, emails are going to be intelligent, emails are going to have an AI aspect of it. emails are going to be self-learning, self-healing and this report now clearly says boss if you are not in the forefront, you know driving, you know with AI-powered or AI-enabled, then probably you will be out of the race very soon. And this is a phenomenal trend and something that I loved, you know, enjoyed reading the responses. The last thing that probably, you know, for me that stands out is that email is going to be the heart of the organization, but especially the one that CMO drives, you need a reliable partner in the journey, you need a trustworthy partner in the journey. And this is where probably a player like Netcore would come in, right. And if I were a CMO, and if I had to bet on a reliable partner, then I would choose, you know, a platform like Netcore email to make sure that we will kind of leapfrog in our email journey. So, Tanishq, I don’t know if I kind of, you know, justified answering. But these are three trends that are very close to my heart, and that I love, you know, reading from the report.

Tanishq Juneja  (10:49) Thank you, Raghav. These three are absolutely important trends. And thank you for plugging in Netcore there, we anyways love emails a lot and anyone who calls us great leaders in email, we love that. So, just to go back on your trends, AI is important, the scale at which people are operating, the scale at which people are sending out emails and if they want to, you know, personalize it or if they want to make sure that they reach out to everyone one on one, they have to use AI and AI becomes an underlying tech, which I think everyone requires not just in email marketing, but any marketing channel overall. So with that, I’ll go back to Tejas, you have assembled a report, you have looked at the insights and analyzed everything. What are the top two trends coming out of the report?

Tejas Pitkar  (11:45): There is so much insight into this report and you know, any marketing data is going to be revealing, it’s going to be great for them to read all these insights when the report is out. But some of them that stood out for me The first was personalization of email content, the customer is now you can say it’s probably a good practice, but I think it’s going to become unnecessary in 2021 and that’s because, from the survey that we conducted, more than a quarter of the respondents said that we want to, you know, have some kind of email personalization either it’s a personalization feature that we want to integrate our platform with, or we want to include it in every other email that we send because we know that personalization and relevancy go together. You know, to connect with your customers on a deeper level, marketers are going to need to personalize the emails to make them individualized and tailored to the users. That one stood out for me that could dominate. The second one that came out was that I think top marketing leaders know they wish to see interactivity, and you know, some dynamic nature in the US and that could be AMP emails. It’s just that they’re wondering, how do we scale this technology this year. And if they find out how to scale emails for their, you know, mass email program, not just some email campaigns, then it could be a trend that stands out this year, because there were around 20% of the respondents said that you know, we want to test our API and email use cases. Now we want to start doing that today, providers and most of them could be eCommerce brands. So you can see a lot of dynamic emails coming into your inbox again, sign up to anyone. Increasing brand visibility inside the inbox, the new standard came up next. So you know, not only BIMI offers a lot of security to your emails with demark being enforced, but it also, you know, highlights the brand logo inside the inbox so provides a lot of practice and improves your brand perception and visibility inside inboxes. The other one that stood out for me was that look at the last year, I think customer retention and loyalty marketing was such important trends that happened, right? I mean, most of the brands, indulged a lot in trying to cater to their loyal customers and try to get more repeat transactions from them rather than go after new ones. But I think this year that our service, it’s meeting that customer acquisition is going to bounce back. And so customer retention and acquisition because as I said some of the leftover side effects of last year are still pretty much going to be here this year as well. I think both of them could go toe to toe with each other. But yes, lead generation customer acquisition programs are going to bounce back with time this year as well.

Tanishq Juneja  (14:41): Shortly so that’s very interesting. You know, the AMP is getting a lot of interaction. I received a lot of emails that had AMP in them and I don’t have to. I love those emails they talk to you. And BIMI I am a fan of because you know that improves your trust and loyalty. I think this requires marketers who take me more seriously, Gmail is doing that. So that’s very interesting. As soon, I see a lot of marketers are using logos in the box. So that’s very interesting. Again, you said success metrics. And I would also like to understand are these are global success metrics? What is it? Is there a difference in the approach of Global Marketing Leaders when it comes to North America, Europe or some other regions? So are there any agent-specific insights, which came out from the success metrics?

Tejas Pitkar  (15:33): Yeah, so on analyzing responses by region, for this question being found, and Marketing Leaders from North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, also measured three regions that we surveyed, they considered customer engagement, and to be the main priority for the success metric this year. So I think those three reasons are still kind of thinking more about, you know, trying to cater to their current customers and try to hold on to them, and to retain them rather than, you know, try aggressively to acquire new ones. But if you look at India, as a region that stood out, was that the primary success made, we asked them for the top two success metrics, that they will determine for the KPIs for, you know, determine the success of the program this year. And the first one that, you know, the Indian marketing leader aspect was email ROI was that you know, we need to increase the revenue per email for our campaigns. This year, we are not going to go more for you know, indeed, just engaging the customers, we’re not happy with that need to go after. You know, the moolah, as they say, so most of the CEOs and CMOS in India were just going back to that Jerry Maguire movie and saying, Show me the money. So they, they just, they want to increase the number of transactions probably that they are dating for me there and try to try to squeeze the most out of him that they can. And the second one, of course, came, the second would be and then was customer acquisition as well. So I think that’s something different that stood out among the regions between those four.

Tanishq Juneja  (17:13): Thanks, Tejas, I think that’s very interesting to see how there is a difference in opinion from a marketing leader, which is in North America and Europe versus in India. But I think whether number one or number two priority, both of them are important priorities, you know, you need to, last year has been a year where users have had a lot of conversations, marketers haven’t had a lot of conversations with their users. And this year, I think they will want to extract out conversions from those conversations they have spent time building up. So it’s very interesting to see both the trends moving forward.

Tejas Pitkar  (17:47): That’s a great line conversion from the conversation.

Tanishq Juneja  (17:50): Right. So Raghav, I would like to understand if there is a recommendation from a marketing monk like you for the fraternity out there Marketing Leaders out there, what they should do in 2021, to make sure that they can use emails for growth. 

Raghavendra Hunasgi  (18:09): Absolutely.

Raghavendra Hunasgi  (18:12): So, I mean, again, coming back to an A for the fact that I have been so much in love with the report. I would draw a lot of parallels and inferences from the report. But, but two things if you ask me that will stand out for any marketeer for any CMO going forward is, you know, the world has changed post-pandemic, right post-2020 things have changed, you know, there has been a significant acceleration in the way organizations have gone digital and all of that. So the whole way we interact with our customers or prospects or partners, and everybody in the ecosystem is different now. And emails today have become all the more critical, especially given the way the digital wave has been going post-pandemic. So one every market here should have a clear objective on what they want to accomplish with their email programs. Is it about you know, it’s again come out very beautiful in the whole survey and the report that you guys have put together? Am I here to acquire more customers or as a CMO? Is it my responsibility to retain my you know, the key must have account customers? Or is my objective or intention to be you know, increase the stickiness of my brand with the customer. So is it, what is the end objective that you want to drive from your email program number one, you know, is standing out the thing that everybody should start thinking about? The second thing that you know, you beautifully again touched upon in your last question and Tejas responded in a one size fits all will not work anymore. Right. As a marketeer. It has to be super localized for the markets that you’re playing in. What will my program look like when I am talking to a North American customer versus how will my program look like when I am talking to a large brand in Indonesia versus what will I do when I’m talking to someone in Estonia, Lithuania or some other parts of Europe, right? So how do you tailor-make your whole strategy or campaign or plan for the geo that you’re playing in will be extremely crucial for CMOS going forward. That’s, that’s what I think.

Tanishq Juneja  (20:17): That’s very interesting. Thank you so much, Raghav. For your recommendation, I’m sure of you to know, this is like a marketing goal which everyone needs today, and to streamline and stabilize their marketing. They just, you have any recommendations, which you would like to share for marketing leaders and the marketing fraternity, especially, there are so many insights from the report.

Tejas Pitkar  (20:38): I think this report is chock full of insights. And Raghav gave some really good recommendations, I’m just going to touch upon one of his earlier points that he made that I think, in 2021, AI MI technologies are becoming more and more central to every email program. So you need to leverage these technologies for you know, I’m just not saying just about engagement with your customers or trying to acquire new ones I’m saying, for every smaller operation of your email program, you can use it for your segmentation, you can use it to predict which users are more likely to channel from your email program. So it can stop the churn, you can retain your business, what Netcore date, United Stated in last year’s benchmark report is that we increased our email durability using AI technologies by 30 to 35%, that’s an increase over, you know, 200 plus brands in just six months. And that’s crazy, the number of emails that are hitting customers inboxes, and we just increased it by 30 to 35%. Imagine the kind of revenue you’re going to get with that, the amount of exposure you’re going to get with that. So, you know, personalization engines are also going to be used more and more. So these engines also request some kind of AI MI technology to personalize, you know, the content to the audience, CDP’s and ESP’s are continuously trying to use them all the time. So one of the interesting things that have come out now with the MI technologies is that if your entire email campaign can be created from scratch, just by a machine, and some providers have started doing that, you know, the results are not yet clear on that. But now marketers are more and more, you know, free to get their tasks automated and just focus on more other strategic or analytical tasks. So leverage AI means, for your programs. And the second one I will say is that you know, Gartner reported this last year as well that and our report supports that, that with all these, you know, platform changes and technology investments that are going to happen this year, Marketing Leaders will have to roll their sleeves up and try to get their hands dirty, along with their entire team. Because if you don’t have a ground-level view of you know, there’s another shocking insight in our report about platform features, which you can read when you download the report. But if they don’t know what percentage of the platform features they’re using, or what extra can the platform give them or what some of the investment can do for them, then they will not be able to make significant strides in their email targets that could include revenue targets as well. So, I think forgetting that sound judgment for marketing leaders, you must know, they try to work with their team, or with the ground level teams to try to understand what are the objectives? And how they aligned with the business objectives? And how can they strategize better to improve?

Tanishq Juneja  (23:41): Awesome, thanks for your recommendation Tejas. So I think we are almost in the end game and how to program, you have got the exclusive copy of the report. I think the report is not out yet. And you have read the report, and you have given us some recommendations in the past as well for the report. So I would like to ask that. What has been your experience reading this whole report and exclusive copy? And sure this is going to be released next week. But what has been your experience so far as a marketing leader?

Raghavendra Hunasgi  (24:10): So Tanishq, I think that needs a separate podcast altogether. I probably will go on for an hour on how excited I am and how happy I am to be the privileged one to get my hands on the report. But I’ll try and keep it short. A couple of things right one, this email today I mean, this is no exaggeration, by then-No kidding. As I said, I mean, a lot of my insights are driven from, you know, reports, and whether it is Industry analysts reports or insights and all of that. And I have been, like I said over the last 810 years, whatever little successful CMO I’ve been, it’s all because of you know these great insights that I get. So for me, it was always let’s say the Social Media Examiner the art and state of marketing every year the annual growth trends and then CMO spend trends by Gartner, Forrester, markets and markets, all of that today I put Netcore on the top for a very simple reason, right? For me, this is like an expert sitting here and telling me, Hey, boss, if you want to invest a significant amount of your money on your email programs, you know, here are the top 10 things you would want to do. I am not, you know, jack of all trades, I don’t do you know, everything plus email, email is my specialized focus. And a report like this will help me make sure that I’m making very, very informed decisions and my chances of, you know, hugely succeeding and breaking the roof is way too high. So for me, I would put this report on the top, for anybody who is crafting their, you know, whether it is about their email programs, or how I take my organization to the next level as a CMO? That’s one thing. And second thing is, you know, whether you are driving a large email program, let’s say you’re sending, you know, billions of emails or millions of emails as a CMO, I would say I would prescribe this as a must-read report, right? I mean, this, you will be a better-informed CMO, you know, if you can get your hands on this report and read and I would probably recommend, this is a 10 on 10 reports. And I would recommend every single industry CMO to get their hands on spend time reading, and if needed, you know, continue to write to Tanishq, he’s the guy you know, the email guy who kind of continues to, we’ll be happy to help. I’m sure cages will be happy to help. But you know, this is an all-star report, man. I mean, I can go on. I mean, you can set up one more podcast. This is lovely.

Tanishq Juneja  (26:22): Sorry, I think that encourages us to put another podcast with you. Thank you. This is an amazing recommendation. As you said, all Marketing Leaders should read this to stabilize growth, using email as a channel. It’s very interesting. There are a lot of good insights. So yeah, I think one of the interesting things in the report, which I see is the recommendation, which comes after every trend, I think, you know, those recommendations are usually useful for any marketing leader in marketing. And my favourite question, or like I said, you know, Tejas, I said that as you’re my favourite question, if you had a magic wand, what is that one thing you would like to change in your email program? And I just loved the answers which marketers have given. I think someone has to download this report when we release it next week. And they have to see what magic is there in that report. So with that, we’ll wrap up. Thank you so much, Raghav for amazing marketing, the golden nuggets you gave us today and thanks for taking out your precious time. I know you know your calendar is almost or you’re always sold up and always busy. Thanks for taking out time for doing this curtain-raiser with us for the report. Guys, thank you, once again, Raghav all the best for your next upcoming book, you are working on something after unleashing growth I’m aware. So all the best for that next marketing gold, which is coming and we will be looking forward to it. I would also like to thank 200 plus global marketing leaders who have supported this report by taking the survey and giving insights and also our very own Tejas, who are brought together these insights analyzed, put in a lot of hard work and authored these findings and put greatness together in the report. thank you, Tejas. Thank you so much. And we are going to finish. We are going to release this report next week. 18th March. Please look forward to it. And guys, thank you so much once again for joining the podcast for the love of emails.

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