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Are We Witnessing the Death of Email?

It sometimes feels like people have been predicting the death of email since email was first created. Despite email’s popularity, it is not something that people have ever really loved. Some criticisms of email include:

  • Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook, believes the world has reached “peak email.”  Email, according to Moskovitz, is inefficient and inhibits workers from getting work done.
  • Email is based on traditional mail, and does not really suit the needs of modern Internet users and Internet communication. A few years ago, Google tried to re-imagine what email might look like if it had been created in the 21st century instead of the 20th. This led to the creation of the doomed platform “Google Wave.”
  • Many studies have pointed out that teenagers barely use email. They are more likely to communicate with one another using instant communication services like text messaging or Snapchat. Many believe that when the next generation comes of age, they will bring their communication habits into the workplace with them.

The truth of the matter is that, like the snail mail that preceded it, email probably isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Email is simply too entrenched in nearly all aspects of our personal and professional lives. Even if email is going to “die,” it is not something that will happen all at once. Now, email may change as mobile platforms become more popular and technology allows email content to become more interactive.

What does this mean for email marketers?

Well, first off, congratulations, you get to keep your job. Secondly, you need to adapt to what is almost certainly going to be a changing landscape over the course of the next five years or so. It should go without saying, but it will be important to start thinking of email marketing less as a disruptive marketing tactic (send 12 emails a week about sales and specials and hope the recipients bite) and more as a means to distribute high quality content. Just like your social channels, email should be seen as a way to give your fans and followers information that they want, or that they can find useful.

Email needs to be entertaining, and inspiring, or else it’s going to get marked as spam, or the recipient will unsubscribe from your mailing list. You need to make sure that the technology you use for your email marketing is the latest, but that’s secondary to having high quality content to send. In the end, email marketing, like email itself, needs to change with the times, or it may just die.