Sending from the Receivers’ Perspective

 In one of his many brilliant quotes on modern life, George Carlin mused, “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” The difference is purely perspective.

We all need a bit of perspective. We all need to be better at sitting in the other guy’s shoes. Chelsea vs. Manchester?  Perspective.  Colts vs. Patriots?   Perspective. Red Sox vs. Yankees? Perspective.  As Seinfeld said, “athletes change teams so often, at the end of the day, you’re just cheering for the uniforms.”
As marketers we also need perspective.  We’re supposed to be good at reading and analyzing reams of data to assess what makes our customers tick, then use this to provide more relevant offers and in turn generate higher response rates.  Why is it then that we marketers also tend to be a bit thick-headed when it comes to understanding email deliverability from the receivers’ (ISPs) perspective? Many marketers are a bit stuck in their own shoes and fail to realize that ISPs don’t exist to serve them.  Their loyalties are to their users.  This seems so basic, yet many deliverability challenges can be avoided by marketers if they realized this one truth: The inbox is supposed to be usable, helpful, and optimized for the subscriber – not for you (the marketer).
We (ExactTarget) felt so strongly that we needed to help bring this perspective to light, so we worked with several of the top experts in this industry to create a whitepaper entitled: “Letters to the C-Suite: Getting Serious about Permission & Deliverability.”  We challenged each contributor to imagine they had the chance to corner the CEO and give him a piece of their mind on what the company needed to do differently to achieve better results via email.  Contributors from Yahoo, Earthlink, McAfee weighed in from “where they sit” as part of the receiver community, and I think the advice they provided is spot-on accurate and a must read for any marketer needing to optimize their deliverability.
George Bilbrey of Return Path also contributed another insightful letter as part of the document that highlights another often cited area where perspective is needed – the culpability of the ESP vs. the marketer when deliverability problems arise.  George says, “It’s worth noting that most inbox placement problems can only be solved by the marketer—not the Email Service Provider (ESP) sending the message.  What ESPs can provide is a well-configured infrastructure, which is certainly important.”