Though email has been with us for the lifetime of most digital marketers, I think it has the potential to be an exciting space, if marketers are able to look at it as a new and exciting channel just as they think of social media.

Agencies are beginning to merge email and social as they see personalization at the core of the success of both channels. This is one area we’ll see grow in 2013 but what else is in store for us when it comes to email?

We reached out to a few people to see what they think about email and how it will impact companies and their customers in the upcoming year.

Martha Pierce, Marketing Coordinator at Equinox

Brands, keep it short and sweet. I don’t want to read a long email detailing the 5 reasons I should ‘like’ you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter and/or take a survey. Just send me links, do it in a concise way and give me an incentive. 50% off something never hurts.

Ben Plomion, VP, Marketing & Partnerships, Chango

Soon all marketers will realize the benefits of advanced analytics to produce highly personal emails. A few years back, most of us thought email marketing would die slowly. It’s actually been the opposite. And that’s mostly because email providers now offer fully personalized emails that provide true value to a customer.  

Half of the B2B companies now operate ‘drip programs’, where emails are programmed to accommodate individual needs. The logic behind email personalization is now so complex that it’s almost impossible to identify ‘canned responses’. 

Download a whitepaper on a B2B site and chances are you will be sent an email from your sales rep that suggests a related whitepaper. All of this is made possible by marketing automation platforms that have grown so much in popularity in the last 12 months. 

The acquisition of Pardot by ExactTarget is a testimonial the marketing automation and email industry are consolidating.

Julia Rieger, Director of Marketing, LiveIntent

Along with the rise of ‘Smartphones’ has come a resurgence of email as the primary tool for information exchange.  The first thing that most people set up on a new Smartphone is going to be their email accounts.  

As the email address continues to gain in importance as the unique identifier necessary for joining and using services like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, former detractors will come to realize that email isn’t something to fix, it’s something to leverage to create greater engagement.  

Beyond its messaging applications, email addresses retain their position as unique identifiers and database primary keys and as such key ingredients for ‘big data’ and CRM.

Tami Forman, Senior Director, Global Corporate Communications at Return Path

The smartest marketers in 2013 will apply intelligence to their email marketing efforts. What does that mean? Intelligence is about the combination of data, analysis and insight to make your program more effective. Many marketers have a lot of data, but without the other components more data is actually worse than less. Savvy marketers will use intelligence to outpace competitors and win the battle for customer attention.

The ubiquity of phishing against financial services brands has made communication via email nearly impossible for those companies. But criminals are smart and are moving onto other high-profile target brands across a range of sectors. Marketers need to take action to protect their brands from email fraud or they will risk the kinds of reputational hits that will make email far less effective for them in the long run.