How Has Email Marketing Changed Over Time? 9 Mailchimp Pro Partners Answer

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Email marketing looks and functions a lot different than how it did in years past. Enventys Partners asks 9 email marketing experts how email marketing has transformed over the last decades and what, either directly or indirectly, caused some of these changes. 

9 Experts Explain How and Why Email Marketing Has Transformed Over The Years

There’s no denying that email marketing has changed significantly over the past few decades. Has the focus for senders changed? Or have subscriber expectations changed? Enventys Partners asked nine Mailchimp Pro Partners how and why email marketing has transformed over the years. Read the ways this form of digital communication has altered and receive tips for your brand’s email marketing practices.


Senders have made emails more personalized, segmented and engaging.

“Email has changed over the years, but the changes have come more from the sender than for the recipient. Senders have improved the quality of email content by making it more personalized, more segmented, and more engaging overall. For the recipient, the inbox experience hasn’t changed too much. Interactive emails, AMP emails, and other more dynamic features have not become widespread as of yet, but over time more web-like experiences may creep into the inbox.”

Adam Q. Holden-Bache, Director of Email Marketing, Enventys Partners


Subscribers anticipate better value.

“Subscriber’s expectations have changed, especially with GDPR, they now expect to only receive what they want, when they want it. You need to continuously offer value.”

Doug Dennison, CEO & Co-founder, MailNinja


Marketing emails are used more often and by more companies.

“There is changed a lot. The frequency and the number of companies who use email marketing. Just 2 examples: Black Friday and Covid updates. I don’t know anybody who’s read them all. Mails are scanned before even opening. You have to stand out in the crowd to getting your mail noticed and support your community.”

Nick Beuzekamp, CEO and Founder, Online Marketing Bonaire


Spam filters and data protection laws have pushed better practices.

“The main change over the years (since the late 90s) has been the introduction of more spam filters and once the Data Protection Act came into place, requiring that emails have an “opt-out” link, it changed the game for email marketing. With more and more regulations being placed on what is best practice to email, we’ve had to constantly adjust our designs to make sure our clients’ emails make it to the Inbox and not to Spam.

And secondly, with the rise of mobile phones, emails are now primarily viewed on mobile, meaning we need to ensure emails are designed to be viewed well on a phone AND desktop. So, deliverability and rendering now play such an important role in the world of email marketing.”

Emily Ryan, Co-Founder and Email Strategist, Westfield Creative


Email subscribers have raised expectations, but automation has helped.

“With the rise (and sometimes fall) of so many digital tools, email marketers have progressively focused on the peculiarity of the email channel: personalization of the message, targeting through segmentation, and the possibility of sending the right message to the right people at the right time through automation. Meanwhile, newsletters have become one of the top-rated information sources, with so many journalists and thought leaders starting to distribute their best content through email. This has raised expectations, and this, combined with more awareness of privacy issues, tells us email marketers that we must really work at our best to deliver relevant and timely messages if we want to succeed.”

Alessandra Farabegoli, Digital Strategist, Co-Founder, Digital Update and Freelancecamp Italia


People are more likely to subscribe to email marketing.

“For me, email marketing from a marketing perspective has only changed in other people’s mindset. A lot more people take the channel as seriously as I do and work hard to drive revenue from it.

From a subscriber’s perspective, spam is way less of an issue these days and so they are more likely to sign up to receive marketing. But, they expect emails that are easy to digest, deliver the value they can engage with.”

Glenn Edley, Director & Email Strategist, Spike


The purpose has stayed the same, and customization capabilities help better address it.

“In the most important ways, email marketing hasn’t changed at all since I started in the field in the late ’90s. Trends are different (like the evolution of HTML emails and the tools to build them with), and some of the rules have been refined (like GDPR and CCPA), but the essence of what email is about has remained the same. No matter the size of your list or the topic you’re writing about, email marketing remains a consistent, reliable digital method to engage with your customer at a one-to-one level in a place that is meaningful to them.

Senders today have the ability to better address the one-to-one messaging with greater personalization than in the past, but for most of us, the focus seems to be the same. We still want to engage with our audiences, have them respond with opens, clicks, replies or sales, and use email as a manner to build a deeper relationship with our customer base. I do think that this has changed subscriber expectations at some level since most subscribers expect at least a basic level of customization of both the campaign and the content presented.”

MaryAnn Pfeiffer, Digital Marketing Strategist, 108 Degrees Digital Marketing


Recipients’ time and attention are stretched more than it once was.

“It used to be that getting into the inbox was seen as a right… it’s now a privilege. You can no longer ‘expect’ your email to be opened and actioned on, you need to be ‘better’… and consent is not just about privacy, it’s about buy-in from the recipient… with less time spent on email (and more on social media), you need to work harder with your emails.”

Robin Adams, Owner and Founder, Chimp Answers


Mobile phones have made accessibility complicated.

“Email has evolved into a complex marketing channel and it’s only going to get more complex.

More and more people are reading their emails on mobile devices and these numbers are only going to go up. So it will be important to make sure emails are easy to read on iPhones and Andriod devices no matter what email reader is being used at the time.

Subscribers now expect an email that doesn’t need to be pinched or expanded to be easily read on their mobile device

Google is pressing for AMP for emails. This will make emails more mobile accessible, but it will take time for email readers to accept and integrate the technology.”

Amy Hall, Email Marketing Strategist and Certified Mailchimp Partner,


Keep Up With the Times and Invest in Email Marketing

Over the past decades, email marketing has improved significantly—and the growth doesn’t seem to be slowing down. See what these Mailchimp Pro Partners predict about the future of email marketing in 2030.

Enventys Partners is passionate about this form of digital communication and knows how to ensure customers look forward to your emails with every send. If you need help with your email marketing strategy, reach out to the experts.


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