Sometime ago, I took issue with Ken Schafer (and Seth Godin for that matter) when they were reporting the death of email was a foregone conclusion. The truth of the matter is that it is not dead – or as Mark Twain once said "the report of my death was an exaggeration". Yet, the debate continues in terms of the role email will play in the future.
We have to remain strategically sober to the fact that as the "net generation" becomes more prominent, email will likely be discarded as their parent’s technology. In due time we are sure to see instant messaging, RSS and other tools rule the day as primary communication vehicles.
Now contrast that with a recent study by New York-based Datran that asked U.S marketers to choose the most important media channel they plan to use in 2007. An astounding 83% of U.S. marketers picked email citing the ability of email to drive incremental revenue, reinforce the brand position and improve customer loyalty.
Jen Evans wrote a great post on the state-of-email that I thought was bang-on the issues. She touched on many great points both pro and con. In my work, I have personally seen the direct impact of a well planned email strategy and know it is a highly effective tool when used properly to develop a dialogue and nurture relationships. And, it is also holds camp as an impressive ROI machine if you manage to harness its potential.
Now, before I create the wrong impression, I love RSS and IM too. I could not live without my feeds or Skype. Even Twitter is growing on me. With RSS, I believe the power of what I want coming directly to me is simply brilliant.
That being said, RSS has not taken hold as fast as we thought it would with consumers – it has not realized the same growth curve and adoption rate as email. Consumers simply do not know what RSS is and marketers have not even begun to explain it or apply. In fact, we marketers have not yet even found a "silver bullet" explanation for ourselves, let alone for consumers. And I’ve yet to see the database or revenue model applied as easily as it was with email.
So, is RSS and IM the future? Hell yes. However, I adhere to what Shel Holtz is fond of saying, the notion that "new media don’t kill old media." And, I know most One Degree readers would agree with that as well.
So why am I here posting this? Well, I will be moderating a panel of pundits for a CMA – Canadian Marketing Association Roundtable event on March 7 titled "Optimizing Email for Better Results" and I want One Degree readers to weigh in and help take the pulse on this topic.
What questions would you like me to ask the experts? The panel will include Sulemaan Ahmed, – Online Channel Manager, Sears Travel, Scott Jamieson – Principal, SJR Digital, Randy Litchfield – Partner, Inbox Marketer and Tara O’Doherty – Tara O’Doherty Consulting.
What are those critical issues and themes on the minds of marketers related to email? I hope we can tap into the wisdom, concerns, opinions and questions of One Degree readers and really make the roundtable as relevant and timely as possible. I know for certain that if there is any audience that has a scoop on these issues, it is you.
Tell me what you think the future holds for email. Leave comments here, or call into my podcast, The Client Side, at 1 206 666 2242 and chime in. Join the show and I will play your comments on my next episode as a set-up to the event.
Please comment and help shape the nature of this important discussion. Call or comment. Don’t be shy.