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Outlook 2013 and email marketing. The challenges.

Despite rumours to the contrary, email marketing is alive and kicking. What is changing, however, is both the range of email clients now being used and the number of opens on mobile devices (up to 75% for some markets). Ignore, for the moment, the mobile email space there’s a big elephant in the room that needs a close look at if you’re heavily involved with email marketing – that elephant is called Outlook 2013.

Microsoft is still the choice of many organisations and with Outlook 2013 comes a huge re-write that’s getting mixed reviews. That aside, what are the challenges for email marketers?

  • The use of Microsoft Word as the rendering engine means very limited support for HTML and CSS
  • Images are disabled by default
  • Absence of contrast and over-arching “whiteness” of the UI makes plain black text on a white background difficult to make stand out
  • An updated preview pane that stuffs content further down the page
  • Loss of proper support for table layouts, a classic method to “frig” the layout is now harder to use

The good news is that most of the issues can be dealt with using inline styling but, please, Microsoft when can we have an email reader that supports modern standards?