Email Dead? Bah Humbug.
“Email was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of its burial was signed by banner ads, SEO, mobile and social. Marketing signed it: and Marketing’s name was good upon 'Change, for anything it chose to put his hand to. Old email was as dead as a door-nail.”
The ever-present argument strikes again. But as 2015 winds down and 2016 approaches, will marketers begin moving away from their most prolific medium? Like a timeless holiday tale, email keeps coming back and keeps winning big. Let’s take a trip through the life of email to see how far it’s come and why marketers just can’t let go.
Ghost of Email Past
It was a simpler time. 1999, to be exact. Emails were text-based and marketers sent campaigns with reckless abandon. These were the days of batch and blast. The only analytics that mattered were: 1) list size and 2) how often you could send email to every address on that list. Of course, not everyone agreed with these tactics. CAN-SPAM was enacted to put an end to such carefree advertising. While some — mostly seedy — entities saw the crackdown on unwanted email as an harbinger of a dying mode, others harnessed the power of HTML and CSS to bring creativity to email. These are the shadows of things that have been.
Ghost of Email Present
You think email is just about opens and clicks? Well, come in and know me better! To be sure, email has become a staple in marketing programs because it is a measurable means of direct communication. But analytics are not the only shining star.
Behold the wonder that exists in email marketing today! Technology is advancing at a rapid pace. Look closely and you will see marketers embedding video, countdown timers telling shoppers when a sale will expire, and responsive design that displays properly across devices and platforms. Consumers are buying directly from their inboxes, from their phones, from wherever they happen to be in any given moment. And marketers are using advanced analytics to customize every aspect of the subscriber experience, sending messages when people want to read them or when they’re in a location they can take action. In our shining age of consumer control, email technology is quietly leading the effort to make meaningful connections between consumers and brands.
Ghost of Email Future
In the cold, dreary graveyard of email marketing lie the plots of spambots and phishing syndicates. Beneath the dust on one of these tombstones, will we see the name “Email Marketing”?
Here’s why: Over the course of 15 years of technological upheaval and innovation, email has shown an uncanny ability to adapt to the needs of businesses and individuals alike. While it is true that, in 10 years, email might not look the same as it does today, it will still be an integral part of personal, B-to-B, and B-to-C communications.
Some of the most exciting things on the horizon include: widespread adoption of HTML5, mobile-first design and real-time contextualization. The reasons for email’s evolutionary tenacity are many, but amid the technical explanations, economic theories, and behavioral observations that explain its continuing health is the simple, powerful, and undeniable fact that no matter how many naysayers predict its demise, email survives because consumers love it.
No dreary graveyard awaits email. The future is bright.
This holiday season, keep in mind that email has come a long way, remains one of the best marketing methods on the planet, and continues to adapt to new technology. Marketers can rest assured it will be here for generations to come. As you prepare your segmented, personalized, perhaps even contextually relevant campaigns, do so with a smile. And remember, when the kids run to you to scroll through message after message, you did this to yourself. God bless us, everyone!