Here is a quick summary of some of the more important and/or interesting news stories on email marketing to cross the transom this week:

“Cyber Week” Creates Inbox Log Jams (via Chief Marketer)
Remember a couple weeks ago when we started talking about “Cyber Monday”? Well now it’s “Cyber Week,” starting the day before Thanksgiving and running until, well it’s still running so it’s hard to say. Email volume is reported to be 18% higher this year during the Thanksgiving / Black Friday / Cyber Monday season than it was last year, which was already the busiest time of year in the inbox by a wide margin. All of those promotional emails create a lot of clutter and capture mindshare, which means that it email marketers not tied to the holidays haven’t seen record response rates this week. The good news is that the holiday season started earlier than ever this year, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday set new shopping records. With any luck, the inbox will return to its regularly scheduled programming pretty quickly. Press on, but keep an eye on your metrics – particularly deliverability.

Subscribers Do Not Differentiate Between “This is SPAM” and “I don’t want to read this right now” (via B-to-B Magazine)
Return Path released its Email Intelligence Report this week, and led with a startling statistic: 70% of emails marked as spam are actually opt-in marketing emails from legitimate senders. Instead of taking the trouble to find the (often artfully hidden) unsubscribe link and then getting to a page where they have to confirm their intention or give a reason for unsubscribing, consumers are just clicking on the “Mark as SPAM” button in their email readers. They don’t care about your  deliverability, only that you stop sending them messages. And in most cases it isn’t even personal – it’s not you they dislike as much as the 80 messages (on Cyber Week deals, as above) they had to triage before they even got to you. In the Attention Economy, relevance is official mission critical.

The Obama Campaign’s Subject Line A/B/C/D/E/F/G/H/I/J/K/L Testing (via Business Week)
The Obama Campaign employed the most sophisticated email (and social) communications program on the planet, in history. But some of what made it so effective had nothing to do with Big Data or marketing automation. Sure it used those tactics but the campaign also relied on good old-fashioned email best practices, like A/B testing of subject lines to a small segment in order to optimize the results when sent to the entire list. Only they didn’t just do A/B testing. Business Week offers a glimpse into a single day’s message where they tested 12 different subject lines before mailing to the whole list. Key findings? Breakthroughs came from the most unexpected places, and also had a short shelf-life, reinforcing the need to keep testing. Read this whole article if you have 5 minutes. It’s worth it.

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