Will email marketing exist in 5 years?

September 1, 2017 McKenzie Gregory

 

Here's why we think email marketing is here to stay

If you work in marketing, chances are good that you've heard all the buzz about Adobe Campaign’s third annual consumer email survey. It's a fantastic collection of insights into consumer habits in the inbox, but some industry experts are honing in on a single piece of data that doesn't seem promising for email marketing as a channel: According to Adobe's findings, the overall number of hours consumers spend on email each day decreased 27 percent from last year.
 
So, should we all be freaking out? Does the fact that people are finding balance and spending less time reading email mean email marketing will become less effective over time?
 
We don't think so. 
 

The good news for email marketers 

First of all, that particular statistic is just one figure in a massive, comprehensive report. And while yes, there has been a downturn in people checking email overall, everyone's favorite demographic to name-drop (millennials) love it more than ever. According to the report, more than half of 18-24 year olds still check their email while in bed in the morning, and 43% of millennials aged 25-34 admit to doing the same.
 
Plus, in our own 2017 Email Marketing Industry Report, we found that 47% of marketers report that email generates the most ROI for their organization, and 58% plan to increase spending on email marketing in 2018.

The fact of the matter is that despite all the rapidly shifting trends in tech, email remains a cornerstone for many channels: You need an email address to even sign up for most services, including social media accounts. Because of its eminence in the digital space, because it continues to drive incredible ROI for businesses, and because it remains a channel consumers want to use to hear from brands, we don’t believe email is losing momentum at all.

 

Things that were supposed to kill email as a channel altogether

Besides, the whole "email is dead" spiel certainly isn't new. Every time a new report comes out or shiny new technologies emerge, media hype leads to ominous “email is dead” headlines…. and again and again, email either emerges triumphant or plays really, really well with whatever was supposed to bring about its demise.

• Spam: When email first started becoming a go-to communication method, something else came with it: spam. Everyone started getting inundated with Viagra ads and million-dollar offers from Nigerian princes, and people thought the inbox would be forever lost. But despite the fact that spammers now send around 100 billion unwanted emails, modern spam filters mean we rarely (if ever) see them. They do still make for great comedy, though… 
 
• Instant messengers: Everyone who was online in the late 90s and early 2000s remembers the widespread love affair people had with AIM. But it flamed out as quickly as it rose to popularity. Turns out, AIM was actually a thorn in AOL’s side: It didn’t actually make them any money, and they never intended for it to get so popular. So the company didn’t put any effort into maintaining or developing its massive presence, and it eventually fell by the wayside. 
 
• SMS: Even though people are most definitely attached to their phones, this one didn’t take off like people expected, either. The reason: Texting is an extremely personal communication platform that signals intimacy, so while it works for some brands, SMS marketing often comes across as too intrusive. 
 
• Social media: This one made for a huge scare in the email marketing world: The insane popularity of social media must mean a certain death for email, right? Wrong. The two coexist quite harmoniously and actually support one another in some interesting ways.
 
• Collaboration apps: Don’t get us wrong – we’re all about Slack here at Emma. Our staffers use it on the daily for quick messages and all-too-important GIF communications. But products like Slack don’t replace email as a channel: They just discourage us from sending it in situations where it’s the wrong medium, like when you’re figuring out lunch plans or asking someone if they can stop by your desk for a quick chat. Collaboration apps like Slack were built for internal communications and don’t do much good when it comes to public-facing marketing messages.
 

Why email marketing has stuck around and will continue to do so

Despite all the worry over the years, email isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, according to that same Adobe report, a whopping 61% of people now prefer to be contacted by businesses via email – a 24% increase year-over-year. 
 
Source: Adobe
 
Why?
 
1. It’s personal. Smart email marketing tools like automation, segmentation, and dynamic content allow you to send super relevant messages to your audience. And it really works: Marketers see an average increase of 20% in sales when delivering personalized experiences (Monetate). 
 
2. It’s cost-effective. Unlike many other marketing methods, email is incredibly affordable and boasts an astounding ROI (that’s 3800% for anyone who hasn’t seen the stat plastered across our content).
 
3. It’s measurable. Email generates easily trackable and measurable results. Plus, there are a whole bunch of ways to test, assess, and optimize each message to get improve your results with every send.
 
Plus, email just works. It’s open. It’s lovely on mobile. It’s user-friendly. We’re all addicted to it. And it’s here to stay. 

About the Author

McKenzie Gregory

McKenzie Gregory is a content writer on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.

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