Email marketing just got harder… or easier!

When we talk with clients initially one of the key points they bring up is to ensure that their brand is fully “implemented” into their email marketing programme.  This often involves including multiple images, background colours, etc.

Our view is that this is a waste of time.  Email is designed to communicate a message from individual to individual and the most successful campaigns are those that emulate this personal one to one style.  Branding the email immediately marks it as “promotional” and something to be treated with suspicion.

So, when I received the message below from CommuniGator, I saw it as good news and a vindication of our viewpoint.

From CommuniGator:

When Outlook 2007 was released by Microsoft one of the most significant changes was the switch to using Word as the email authoring tool over IE. In Outlook 2010 Microsoft has affirmed its stance that the users ease of composing professional looking text based emails outweighs the rendering of received email, created using alternative email clients, specifically those written in HTML and containing CSS. Microsoft has stated that it currently plans to continue using Word to render HTML emails and it seems, on initial inspection, that HTML support in the current Word engine has not been improved in any way.

So, what does this mean for the email marketer? The below summarises HTML/CSS functions that are no longer supported;

– Animated Gifs

– Flash or Other Plugins
– CSS Floats/Positioning
– Use of images as bullets in unordered lists
– Background images
– Forms
– Background colours
– Alt tags

In short, you can expect the rendering of all HTML email communications to suffer significantly as a result of the changes.

You may be thinking this is nothing new, as Outlook 2007 has been around for a while, but well over half of MS Office users are still using the 2003 or even earlier versions. It is also worth nothing that over 8.6 million users have tested the beta version of Office 2010, more than 3 times the number of any previous version, suggesting a much faster adoption rate and a large number who are planning on making a jump from 2003, straight to 2010, probably at the same time as upgrading to the new Windows 7 operating system.

Thanks Microsoft 🙂