A while ago I wrote some thoughts about the conflicting requirements of delivery and marketing. I posted something similar over on the Only Influencers list, too. My thoughts generated a very interesting discussion, one that helped me clarify some of my somewhat random thoughts from earlier.
Marketing is about finding mindshare. One way you get mindshare is repetition. But people tune out repetition pretty quickly. Sending the same offers, the same copy over and over again means recipients start to tune things out. When recipients start tuning out mail, they may not bother opening it, they just read the subject line. If too many recipients start relying on the subject line then delivery can suffer.
Effective marketing relies on getting mail in front of the target audience. That’s the delivery component. Without inbox delivery, even the best marketing will not work.
No one will see marketing if it is in the spamfolder.
I don’t think you can cleanly separate delivery strategy from marketing strategy, but it’s important to realize they have different constraints and different pressures. When I talk about delivery with a client, I’m talking about getting mail into the inbox. And, most of the time, they’ve come to me because they’re not getting into the inbox and they have to make changes. The genius of their marketing is irrelevant, because no customers see it.
But once mail is in the inbox you can’t just ignore delivery, either. Sure, it becomes less of a pressure on the copy and the marketing strategy, until such time as the mail isn’t getting into the inbox any longer. Then it’s back to working on delivery and maybe having to implement some aggressive data hygiene. Back in the inbox and you can be aggressive on the marketing again.
Successful email marketing requires balancing the constraints of good delivery against the constraints of good marketing.