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What Is Email Marketing Situation in Russia?

10 to 13 October 2011, Russia hosted its first email marketing conference “Mailing Conference 2011”. Russian marketers clearly marked their up-coming trend: Russia looks towards the West and is more than serious to reach global standards. Mailigen, one of Europe’s leading email service providers, has made a significant investment in the development of email marketing in Russia by consulting local marketers and sharing its international business experience in the Western market.

Who participated?

During the conference, Mailigen team shared its experience and opinion with numerous marketers, businessmen, bloggers and other interested.

Presentations and lectures were given by representatives of email service providers like Unisender, Mail.Ru, MailerSoft, DirectList, EmailMatrix, internet marketing agency FutureBit, brand development agency Brandflight and others.

While among special guests were two worldwide known independent email marketing experts – Tamara Gielen and Kath Pay from www.PlanToEngage.com.

What did we learn?

Mailigen team went to Russia to spend four days discussing email marketing issues. The conference took place nowhere else but on a cruise ferry going from St. Petersburg to Stockholm and back. Guest lectures were given by Arturs Bernovskis, executive director of Mailigen, and Viacheslav Kolomeyets, manager of the project Maligen.ru. Here will be a short resume of what was seen and heard during the conference.

1. Email recipient in Russia is not protected against spam

One of the most discussed issues during the conference was email marketing legitimacy. Questions like „is email marketing the same as spam” are still popular on the East of us. There are laws in Russia indirectly refering to email marketing, however, they are vaguely described, do not meet current situation and few practitioners comply with them. Unsolicited commercial emails or so-called spams are often guests in recipients’ inboxes.

Situation in SMS marketing is even more critical. As there are neither laws regulating SMS sendings nor mobile phone spam filters, recipients in Russia are completely unprotected against mobile message spam.

2. Russian email marketers look towards the West

So far in Russia, email marketing was widely considered as sending mass messages totally ignoring recipient wish to receive (more often – not to receive) emails and even not allowing to unsubscribe from them.

But step by step, email marketing in Russia has taken a course to the West and has started little by little to approach global standards. Russian marketers are paying more and more attention to qualitative email design, content, corporate ethics and interests of recipients.

3. Russia – promising market for email marketing

It’s only now that email marketing in Russia meets rapid development. There is still lack of information about professional email marketing in Russia, and only few companies include email marketing in their overall marketing strategies. Today marketers are becoming aware of business effectiveness realizing qualitative email marketing campaigns. Mostly these are international companies, exporting businesses and large companies following the latest trends. Consequently, there is a growing demand for high-level email service providers. While in the market, there are only few ESPs, including international ones.

„This is the right time to enter Russian market with email marketing based on Western business experience and matching the highest global standards. In comparison with Europe, Russian companies often are much more larger and of course their data bases are also bigger than our usual ones. For us it means working more hard work, but that’s just what we are looking for,” says Arturs Bernovskis, Mailigen executive director.

4.Mobile boom in Russia

Although Russia is taking its first steps in qualitative email marketing, one freshly new trend is absolutely clear. There is surprisingly high demand in marketing activities via mobile phones: reading email in mobile version and SMS marketing.

Extreme growth of smartphones has reached all the region – Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and other neighbor countries. Since reading email in mobile version is widely used, marketers will have to think very seriously about optimizing emails for mobile phones. Statistics are more than surprising: almost 20% read emails via mobile phones! The reason is Internet accessibility or better would be say inaccessibility. Terrestrial Internet is poorly accessible in the wide territory of Russia, while mobile Internet is easily available even in the most remote corners of Russia. Of course the peak of mobile era is not yet reached. The number of mobile users continues to grow in Russia and other CIS countries.

How it affects us?

Mailigen is one of Europe’s leading email service providers having clients worldwide, including US and Asia. Recently Mailigen has entered Russia and other CIS countries by launching Mailigen system in Russian www.mailigen.ru.

„We were pleasantly surprised about Russian new ideas and offered solutions in email marketing during „Mailinge Conference 2011”. We will definitely use the obtained information and experience to enrich our email marketing solutions with freshly new trends and tools,” says Arturs Bernovskis, executive director of Mailigen.

Let’s keep intrigue by not revealing Mailigen forthcoming innovations… Meanwhile, we are offering you a small photo insight of the event.

What Is Email Marketing Situation in Russia?
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