That being said, email marketing companies like StrongView are aware they need to expand their horizons. Formerly StrongMail, the vendor rebranded as a cross-channel technologies provider to better frame its scope of services. “We find ourselves [in an enterprise environment] being brought in next to [IBM’s] Unica to facilitate those email and cross-channel needs marketers have,” said company CEO Bill Wagner.
Therein lies the benefit for advertisers: Email inventory is as easy to buy, sell, target and optimize using machines as any other media channel, and is embedded now into a much larger digital marketing narrative that crosses channels and use cases.
“As you start to think about it as a way to track a user and connect that to cookie data and more actions on-site, and then the priorities of personalization for digital marketers, a lot of that starts to build really compelling stories,” Hopkins said.
For instance, the email identifier is a data point wherein the user has provided their information as part of a transaction or ongoing relationship with a company, and can be more sustainably applied to ongoing life-cycle management.
“Email is no longer about just sending email,” said Matt Keiser, CEO of LiveIntent. “One of the reasons email was overlooked as an opportunity for innovation [in advertising was] because it’s so effective for content delivery, CRM and loyalty programs because it was more like direct mail than digital media. You targeted to a list and everybody got the same experience.”
Companies like LiveIntent and Sailthru, however, have looked to make the mass, list-based email target into a container for individualized messaging. As enterprise platform companies continue to design and price campaign management capabilities by customer "profile," this level of targeting will become increasingly congruous.