Why email will never die


“Email is not going to disappear. Possibly ever. Until the robots kill us all.” - Paul Buchheit, creator and lead developer of Gmail

All the bold pronouncements can cease and desist, because it’s time for everyone to just accept it already: Email isn’t going to die. Every time shiny new technologies emerge, media hype leads to ominous “email is dead” headlines…. and again and again, (since, like Beyoncé, it’s a survivor) email either emerges triumphant or plays really, really well with whatever was supposed to bring about its demise.



Things that were supposed to kill email (and why they didn’t):

• 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 go to hell. But despite the fact that spammers now send around 100 billion unwanted emails, modern spam filters mean we rarely (if ever) see them.

• Instant messengers: Everyone who was online in the late 90s and early 2000s remembers the widespread love affair people – from suburban 12 year olds to Wall Street bankers – 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.

• 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 SMS marketing comes across as too creepy and intrusive. Think about it: How many brands do you really want to hear from via text?

• 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 like Slack and Asana: 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; 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. Besides, things like Slack were built for internal communications and don’t do much good when it comes to public-facing marketing messages.



Despite all the worry over the years, the simple fact of the matter is that email isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, for 69.7% of internet users, email is their preferred method of communicating with businesses (eMarketer)


1. It’s personal, but not too 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 4300% for anyone who hasn’t seen the stat plastered across our homepage).

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.



Did we miss anything on our list? Remember something else that was supposed to "kill email"? Let us know in the comments!


About the Author

McKenzie Gregory

McKenzie Gregory is a senior content manager 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.

Follow on Twitter Follow on Linkedin More Content by McKenzie Gregory
Previous Article
Sharper images for sharper emails
Sharper images for sharper emails

If you’re anything like us, you’re a tech fiend who loves upgrading to all the latest devices. And there’s...

Next Article
Look who's speaking at Marketing United
Look who's speaking at Marketing United

Back when we first decided to make Marketing United (April 18-20 in Nashville) a real thing, we made a pro...

Get our best content straight to your inbox