A day at TMF&A, a quick update on (email) marketing technology

On Tuesday February 24 (yesterday in fact), I visited the TFM&A fair in London. The Technology for Marketing & Advertising event is the UK’s (and probably Europe’s) only event for integrated marketing solutions. Except for WebScene in Belgium, that is.

200 exhibitors brought the full range of cutting-edge digital, data and CRM technologies. On top of that there were plenty of educational sessions (with many case studies) about CRM technologies, CMS, campaign management software, customer experience management, email marketing, affiliate marketing, SEO, online branding, social media, web analytics etc …
Although I enjoyed the event and definitely the “everybody in the same place at the same time”, I was kind of surprised that over the two days only a couple sessions where dedicated to email (3) or mobile (1) marketing. I attended one session on email marketing. It was ok but the kind of stuff one heard also a year ago. Why not taking the opportunity to talk about the real big challenges we are dealing with in email campaign management today: email deliverability, renderability or integration and synchronization with CRM, CMS, data warehouses and backoffices. I f you want to learn the basics read a book, attend a workshop or talk to your marketing partner. In my opinion events are there to get an update on the latest and the hottest.

About seventy companies delivering email campaign software and services are present at TMF&A. I visited ten to fifteen of them (mainly ESP) and what surprised me was the ‘ignorance’ about deliverability and integration. When asked for details about how they deal with this, answers like “we meet with ISPs often”, “we have some API to do the integration with CRM”, “sure we can do that” etc … kind of disappointed me. Imagine I’m a company with +500.000 email addresses and I want to sync 10 to 15% of my profiles on a daily basis and get these delivered to the inbox I would not be impressed nor convinced. Apart from the people at Emailcenter and Silverpop nobody mentioned partnerships with expert companies like ReturnPath

What struck me most was that in the Mobile Marketing Zone only four (4) companies were exhibiting. Shock Concepts was most differentiating. What is happening? The event organizers launched it as a new zone and stated that mobile marketing is emerging as a key channel for integrated marketing campaigns. Is the UK market not ready for mobile marketing (can’t imagine that) or was it just a coincidence (economical downturn, did I overlook some exhibitors, …)? I would be happy to get some feedback on this.

In short: a very interesting event. Very professionally organized. Worth visiting but I was somewhat disappointed about the depth and breadth of knowledge with the email campaign software / email marketing services exhibitors. Too much sales blabla about products and not enough focus on today’s challenges: email deliverability, renderability, integration and synchronization. But that of course was my personal feeling.

Luc Robijns


  1. Posted February 25, 2009 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    hi Luc
    it was nice meeting you at the event (i was with Tamara)… thanks for your interesting take on the day.


  2. Posted February 26, 2009 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    It was nice meeting you too, Denise. Hope next time we’ll find more time to talk.

    take care

  3. Posted February 26, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Luc, glad you recognized that Silverpop understands deliverability issues. But deliverability also takes effort on the part of the sender, not just the ESP.

  4. Posted February 28, 2009 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    great article, sure i’ll be back.

    good day

  5. Posted March 6, 2009 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    well since I am not a fan of ReturnPath as I think they are pretty much a bad mafia type organization I welcome that attitude what I would be interested in is how many people and products used DKIM ?

    since yahoo’s gmail paypal etc use this it actually starting to be far more important to email deliverability


    John Jones

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