What do you want to see in 2018?

Hi Everyone!

We hope you’ve all thoroughly enjoyed the holidays with friends, family and loved ones. As we ramp up for an incredible 2018, we want to hear from you!

At SparkPost, the goal with each blog that we publish is to be helpful, informative or just plain entertaining. Sometimes we totally nail it, and other times we might miss the mark a bit. That’s why we’d like to hear what you think! What kind of content do you enjoy reading the most on our blog? How-to’s on more technical skills? Features on community members using cool technologies? Thought leadership showcasing trends in the email and messaging industries?

We’ve put together a very short survey so you can let us know what you think – there’s room at the end for comments, suggestions, etc. We appreciate your feedback and promise to incorporate it into our plan for next year. For fun, I’ve listed below our top 5 posts from 2017 – they might help refresh you on what types of content we regularly publish here on the blog:

GDPR: What Email Senders Need to Know

Europe’s GDPR privacy law is an issue for almost every company with an app, SaaS product, or other service. Learn exactly what email senders need to know before the changes go into effect.

How to Use Microservices to Build an API That Lasts

Learn some successful strategies we use to build our microservices architecture and how they allow us to evolve our API during rapid growth.

Community Spotlight: CodeNewbie

Whether you are new to coding, want to brush up on skills or just network, CodeNewbie is an incredible resource. Check out this Q&A with founder Saron Yitbarek, and get excited for some fun upcoming projects we’ve got in store with them in the new year.

RESTful API Versioning Best Practices: Why v1 is #1

Breaking changes can result in frustration and loss of trust between an API provider and their users. API versioning is one way to avoid that frustration.

How To Read Email Headers

Email headers host a treasure trove of information. Learn how to read them and understand more about the mail you’re sending and receiving.

Any industry trends or topics you think were under-represented? Be sure to list that feedback in the survey or tweet us with your thoughts!

Happy New Year!


New publications, survey and web events provide insights into shifting consumer messaging preferences, debunks CASL myths and more

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – December 23, 2014 – Message Systems, the global leader in email infrastructure software for cloud-based businesses and large enterprises, recently hosted a webinar entitled, “CASL Myths: How to Legally Send Email to Canada.” Featuring Shaun Brown, partner at nNovation, Matt Vernhout, chief privacy officer at Inbox Marketer, and Autumn Tyr-Salvia, director of standards and best practices at Message Systems, along with moderator Patrick Gorman, senior editor at Chief Marketer, the panel debunked many misconceptions about sending email to Canada and addressed the most commonly believed myths about CASL, Canada’s anti-spam law.

In late November, Message Systems released the results of a survey it had conducted with a consumer audience to uncover preferences and opinions regarding transactional notifications. In a blogpost entitled, “Survey: Email Still Reigns for Notifications, Message Systems Vice President of Corporate Communications Barbara Burlington presented findings showing that email is the preferred channel for initiating communication with brands for non-emergency customer service issues, with a plurality of 32 percent of respondents choosing email, with the choice of phone not far behind at 29 percent.

The comprehensive technology white paper, “What Sets Momentum Apart,” has been expanded and updated with new sections and material on features and capabilities that were added to the flagship platform with the release of Momentum 4 earlier this year. Readers will find authoritative information on Momentum’s analytics tools, a deep-dive into the platform’s message origination features, details on the Supercharger multi-core server support module, new information on mobile push capabilities and updates on the Adaptive Email Network.

Finally, Message Systems CMO Steve Dille and Mike Gualtieri of Forrester Research recently hosted the webinar, “The Do’s and Don’ts of Data-Driven Email Marketing,” which presented findings that while 78 percent of marketers today believe that data-driven marketing is key to new growth, many still operate their email channel with little or no insight into what today’s recipients really want.

“This webinar will be of interest to anyone looking to harness the power of data to create more personalized, relevant and valued messages and content for their customers,” explained Mr. Dille. “I encourage marketers and email professionals everywhere to take advantage of the great content we produce here at Message Systems to optimize their programs and advance their professional development.”

Key Takeaway: Brands Should Stick With Email, Embrace the Unsubscribe Button

Brands are constantly seeking to interact with their audiences and look for an edge in using email to draw more clicks, get more eyeballs and create more user engagement. In thinking about the best ways to go about this, we thought, why not go straight to the source and just ask consumers themselves?

Through Google Consumer Surveys, we polled a consumer audience to find out how they themselves prefer to hear from brands, and what perceptions they have when a communication doesn’t go as expected. We’ve outlined the key findings and takeaways below:


Which form of communication do you prefer brands use to share special offers/deals/coupons with you?

I don’t want to receive any notifications. 50.08%
Email 25.08%
Text 9.03%
Snail Mail 7.14%
Social Media 5.29%
Push Notification 3.38%


Half of respondents preferred no marketing communications at all, which, while not surprising, reinforces the fact that companies should not only be aware of the channels in which they’re marketing, but the extent to which they’re alerting users at all. Of those that indicated a notification preference, the majority (50+ percent) preferred email (yes, email is not dead). Companies should thus consider this when both setting their marketing budgets and preparing their actual marketing campaigns. For all the hype that social marketing has gotten in recent years, just above five percent of respondents actually prefer seeing ads or deals in their social channel over anywhere else.

Perhaps the biggest email lesson to be learned here is this: email marketers should embrace the unsubscribe button and celebrate every time someone clicks it. If half of consumers don’t even want to see deals or offers come through, then marketers likewise should not want to see those names on their target lists. When someone unsubscribes, you’re not losing out on a lead but are instead creating a more refined list of recipients that actually care and are more willing to engage. At the same time, the onus should always be on marketers to deliver relevant content in the first place. By striving to get the correct messages to the correct audiences, they set themselves up for greater success and less consumer frustration.


How do you prefer to initiate communication with brands for non-emergency customer service issues?

Email 31.79%
Phone 29.43%
Other 22.46%
Online Chat 9.41%
Social Media 6.92%


Companies tend to prioritize marketing and sales for their email practices, but they should take care not to overlook customer service as well. Consumers will always want options to connect with a company when there are any issues, but email is the top choice (32 percent) for them to initiate contact when they need to get in touch. When they reach out, they have an expectation that they’ll hear back in a reasonable time, so having the right response process set up is critical. Aside from ensuring that you have a dedicated email address for customer service, it’s important that your email systems are integrated with those of your service department so they get an automatic reply of acknowledgement, followed then by a more personal note.

At the same time, 29 percent still prefer the human element via a phone call, but email can play a factor here as well. Companies are increasingly introducing call-back features for their customer support, so that instead of waiting on hold, they place the burden on the company to call when a representative is available. If wait times get longer than normal, companies can create a process to deliver an automated email with an estimated call back time which can be valuable to the customer experience.


Have you ever completed a transaction online (reservation, purchase, etc.) and not received the confirmation of receipt?

No 51.78%
Yes 28.01%
Not applicable 20.21%


If you don’t receive a confirmation receipt after an online purchase, how does that impact what you think of a brand?

Poor, I will not do business with them again 51.74%
Indifferent, no impact on my perception 26.98%
Minimal impact, I will do business with them 21.28%


Thankfully, the majority of respondents (52 percent) have always gotten a digital receipt or other transaction confirmation when expected, but it is surprising (and somewhat worrisome) that nearly 30 percent have experienced never getting that confirmation. As a consumer myself, I can relate to the feeling of uneasiness of making an online purchase but not seeing an email come through immediately. Some brands are great at this – you make the purchase and the receipt comes through your inbox within seconds. Others can take a minute, several minutes or longer. Today’s digital consumer expects online purchases to be instantaneous, so when the confirmation itself is delayed (or never arrives) it immediately stands out. For this reason, it is no surprise that 52 percent of respondents indicate their perception of a brand can be significantly impacted due to never receiving this simplest of transactions. Considering nearly 30 percent of consumers have faced this issue before, it’s something that every brand should be diligent in avoiding – after all, it’s their reputation that’s at stake.


The Takeaway

Consumers are nowhere near giving up on email for how they interact with brands – it’s what they want and what they expect the majority of time. But today, they have higher expectations for personalized, relevant content and instant results. As companies evolve their customer-facing processes of marketing, customer service, sales and user engagement, it’s important for them to integrate email in a way that matches or exceeds those expectations, or they’ll risk falling behind.



This survey was conducted through Google Consumer Surveys from September 11-14, 2014 and polled 500 US adult internet users.