Standing out certainly has become more difficult. While e-mail usage has declined, the volume of messages continues to rise: the number of marketing e-mails was forecast to reach a record 838 billion in the United States in 2013, according to Forrester. It’s no wonder relevancy should be a priority for every marketer. The best e-mails feel personal—and they are. Flash-sale site Gilt Groupe sends more than 3,000 variations of its daily e-mail, for example, each tailored based on past user click-throughs, browsing history, and purchase history. Of course, building true customization and targeting abilities is a transformative process that requires specific capabilities and supporting infrastructure. Customer information often lives in different parts of the organization and must be aggregated to create a single view of each consumer. A targeting engine must be built to guide the right message to the right person. And operations need to be ready for the change; creating and sending 3,000 e-mails a day is very different from sending one mass e-mail blast. Although it’s a lot of work, it drives real returns: one financial institution increased revenue from target segments by 20 percent by using life-cycle events to trigger personalized e-mails to existing customers; home-goods retailer Williams-Sonoma reported a tenfold improvement in response rates by adopting personalized e-mail offerings based on individuals’ on-site and catalog shopping behavior.
The original Pixel produced impressive low-light shots last year, so it comes as no surprise that the Pixel 2 does it even better. This year Google added a faster lens, which lets in more light than last year's f2 model, and it added built-in optical image stabilization (OIS) for holding the camera steady to counteract shaky hands that often spoil shots in dim conditions. The wide-angle lens on the iPhone 8 Plus also has OIS so the shot of the Mirror Maze looks well lit, but it's not quite as sharp as the Pixel's. But to be fair, they were taken within a millisecond of each other and the shot is slightly different because of the flashing lights.