The grapevine in digital marketing circles lately is that email marketing does not have a future.

Could this be true?

“In God we trust, all others must bring data,” is the famous saying of Edwards Deming and I fully believe in that saying. Let us look at the data in front of us to figure out if email marketing is dying.

Point1: Millenials and Gen Z do not check their emails as often as the generations before them

Point 2: People now have an attention span of 8 seconds, which is shorter than the attention span of a GoldFish at 9 seconds – Microsoft research. Most likely, emails may not work in this scenario

Point 3: Emails are one-way communication while today’s markets prefer conversational means of communication available with social and messaging apps

Are these points good enough for us to chuck email marketing from our digital marketing repertoire?

Before we get there, let us look at some of the counterpoints.

Counterpoint 1: I receive an average of 150 emails per day and I read and respond to at least 60 to 75 of them every day.

Counterpoint 2: Close to 100% (well actually 92%) of Internet users have an email account – Fourth Source Website

Counterpoint 3: Email marketing is 40% more effective than social media – McKinsey report

Counterpoint 4: 99% of consumers check their email daily with more than 50% checking personal accounts more than 10 times a day – HubSpot

Counterpoint 5: Email has better ROI in comparison to any other channels and the delivery rates are higher than most channels

The counterpoints seem to be a clincher in favor of email marketing. However, why is it perceived to be something that is not working in the digital marketing world?

Very few people find the emails that they receive are useful to them. Like any marketing message, emails to be differentiated, meaningful, personalized, delivering relevant messages based on geographic location, interests, and purchase history.

Also, you shouldn’t be sending the same message to everyone on your list. You should be able to understand your recipients and segment them into multiple buckets. Once this segmentation is done, you should send relevant messages to the list.

A case in point

I was heading marketing for an organization in the B2B space and we had built a huge list of subscribers in a span of more than ten years. We were constantly communicating with them using emails – both educational and promotional content.

This effort was bringing in a substantial number of leads, close to 100 qualified leads in a month. People in my team though weren’t very kicked about sending emails and they always wanted out of it and try out other channels of communication. Though we had a bouquet of activities including thought leadership, event participation, speaking gigs, and social, I still did not want to lose out on the leads that we were generating from email marketing.

I went and told my team members that I am fine with dropping email marketing as long as they figure out other ways to generate the 100 qualified leads every month. I didn’t want to fix something that wasn’t broken.

To date, and it has been 10 years since I quit that company, I hear that email marketing is still one of their best-performing tools.

Tags: Digital Marketing, Email Marketing, Email Marketing ROI, Personalization, Messaging