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Long Live Email!

Email Is Still Relevant In Todays Digital World Online

Recently,  I was invited to speak at “Digital Showcase,” a quarterly event, hosted by one of South Africa’s leading financial service providers. The theme – is email  dead or not? I found this intriguing, as many people and companies are saying that email is dead and that Apps, AI and Chatbots are the future for all communications. While I do believe that these will all play a part in future communications, I have absolutely no doubt that email still has a very formidable role to play in future interactions between a business and its customer base.

While I was thinking about how I could get my message across in only 15 minutes, to an audience that may not actually buy into email, there was one burning question that I needed to address – Is email really dead?

Straight up – yes, I have to admit that some email is dying and it is important that I quantify this… there are certain types of email that should already be dead, and I am happy to help kill them off myself. They include: mass mails; spam; spray and pray; blasted out content and an ‘offer-of-one’ addressed to everyone in your database, expecting them all to react the same way. And then, my all-time favourite is addressing your longtime customer as, “Dear valued client”… #ThisMustDie and I am happy to pull that trigger!

But, with all these cool things in our digital environment, like Big Data, hyper personalization, content marketing, mobile technology, email integration, omni-channel marketing, etc. I couldn’t help but think to myself that email isn’t actually dying but instead, it is evolving!

Email is evolving

If you scroll through Google, you will literally find hundreds of articles written about email dying. But, conversely, you can find just as much content discussing why email is still alive and kicking! The most common argument is that Apps are killing email. Mmm… I don’t think so.

There are definitely some killer apps for sure, but …

  • Are they replacing what email can and should be doing effectively?
  • Are businesses successfully using their Apps to communicate complex offers, send operational and important messages, or educational and informative messages?
  • Are customers ready to adopt another app?
  • Are you investing all your skilled resources in designing the perfect killer app and missing out on what a tried and trusted channel like email can offer?

Innovation powers the future of email

One of email’s great roles is targeting and nurturing prospects into becoming customers, encouraging them to become repeat customers and then ultimately loyal customers. As a business you need to be innovative in your thinking. Leverage today’s technology, data insights and understand the digital trends. This will enable you to effectively deliver the right message, offer and discount to your customers in the most convenient way. There is and will be a role for your App, your Chatbot and AI, but these cannot work in isolation. Similarly, neither can email. Understand your customers’ preferred communication channels and integrate your communication tactics, in order to move forward in today’s digital world.

Email is most definitely still alive and kicking, but you need to embrace its evolution and apply it’s dynamic functionality to remain relevant in today’s digital world.

In other words, you need to collect, understand, analyze and use your customer data to create hyper-personalized and relevant emails that communicate effectively with your customers – providing relevance in the moments that matter.

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Ross Sibbald

Ross Sibbald

Commercial Director, South Africa

Ross is the Commercial Director at Striata for the African region. Ross is focused on leveraging the power of digital communication to achieve the desired results for his clients.

Ross began his career as a lecturer educating the next generation on marketing strategy. He was deputy HOD in the marketing department at the Durban University of Technology and also lectured at private colleges and various Business Schools. Keeping abreast of the market, Ross managed an IMM franchise (3 years) during his tenure as a lecturer.

Before joining Striata, Ross was a partner and director for an online property valuation company. He then joined Striata in 2010 as an Email Marketing Strategist, and was promoted to Head of Email Marketing in 2012. In March 2014, Ross moved to ABSA where he was acting Head: Digital Commercialize. His focus was on managing the various Commercialize teams with the goal of increasing the Bank’s digitally active customer base, increasing online sales via digital channels, driving revenue opportunities across digital channels and taking innovative digital products to market.

In Sept 2015, Ross returned to Striata to head up its newly formed digital communications agency.

Ross holds an Honors degree in Marketing (Technikon Natal).

Read more of Ross' blog posts here or connect with him on the following social channels: