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Email is still a powerful marketing tool

Published on 23 Jul 2019

As a marketing tool, email has been around for decades. And for years, we have been warned of its imminent demise. In-app messages, WhatsApp for Business, Facebook Messenger …  have all been touted as the technology that will topple email from its hold on the digital throne. 

Yet, there are 4-billion email users, with more than 281-billion emails sent every day – an audience and volume that remains unchallenged by any social media or instant messaging platform enabling business to consumer communication. 

Aside from how many people it can reach, email offers the highest returns for marketers: “In 2019, email marketing’s return on investment is 42:1 on average, up from 38:1 last year”, according to Litmus’ 2019 State of Email Survey findings.

Our expert’s opinion:

It’s certainly not as sexy as Instagram or as talked about as Facebook, but email remains a powerful tool in a digital marketer’s arsenal.  Let’s look at some of the reasons for this . . .

The digital home – email is still the address on record for all digital initiatives – be it registering on social media or shopping online. As such, it is our digital home – the online address of record, where we receive notices and confirmations for all online actions.

Cross-generational appeal – new generations are usually the first to adopt emerging channels over existing ones, yet from Boomers to Gen Z – email remains the preferred digital channel to receive B2C communications. What is changing, is the device and application being used, and when and how email is accessed and actioned. 

Fit for purpose – email is versatile – it can support a short, quick transactional notice or an information-rich newsletter. Email lets you know who engaged with your communication, what they clicked on and when – all invaluable information to feed into your decisioning process/engine when you are designing your next campaign. 

Relevancepersonalization has evolved from simply addressing an email by name to using real-time data, artificial intelligence and prescriptive analytics to predict what that individual needs, and then successfully engage them with the right content.

Permission based – perhaps most significant, is the fact that these days, if someone is on your email list, they want to be there. With legislation requiring simple and transparent unsubscribe processes, it’s easy for customers to hop off your list. Which means, if they are receiving your emails, they want the info. 

Users come and go on social media as interests change and peer groups migrate, but everyone I know has an email address. Let’s also remember that companies don’t own the data of their users on many platforms, including shared mobile wallets or social media. But, when in possession of an email address, it’s customer data that is owned and known. 

Whether your job is delivering the next best marketing offer, or the next best action . . . email continues to offer the best performance in business-to-consumer communication.

Mia Papanicolaou

Mia Papanicolaou

COO, The Americas

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