2emailsAccording to a survey by ExactTarget, 77% of respondents aged 15+ prefer email as an advertising channel. Despite the fact that many voices have summoned the death of email as a marketing channel for the past two years, it has still prevailed and proved its strengths repeatedly and successfully.

Because of its cost effectiveness and the mobile Internet, email is becoming even more user-friendly and interesting for many users. The sending of emails is not associated with additional costs if you are already using a mobile internet connection, which is common nowadays due to social media.

By taking a closer look at social media communication, you will realize that the euphoria and hype have already calmed down. Although social media is surely quite efficient for fast and viral distribution of a message, it requires more resources than a lot of companies actually can afford, and implementing solution which enables direct communication with the customer is often difficult. Of course, there are some very good examples of where companies are successfully operating customer service via Twitter or Facebook, but continuous and verifiable communication is virtually impossible to enforce with social networks. The communication on the social web is simply so ephemeral that it can’t replace other types of communication such as email.

The possibilities and advantages of emails are obvious - they are capable of providing more targeted information than other channels. Furthermore, the mobile Internet eradicates many former constraints of email communication, allowing users to receive messages any time, any place. Measuring the success and response rates, CTR and ROI of email campaigns is also much easier and much more accurate than trying to measure social media results. The recipient can be addressed via an email newsletter, for example, regarding offers, news, social media activities, surveys and more. Thus, the medium "email" can be seen as a hub in digital communication. Targeted lead generation via email and trigger emails are further examples of its powerful impact.

Spam and phishing emails are the weaknesses of email, but there is spam and camouflaged links in social media as well - maybe even more so. Social media perhaps makes it even easier for criminals to collect very personal information, as users disclose intimate information on social media portals innocently, making them a lot more vulnerable than if they shared the information via email. Thus, security is not a particularly staunch argument against emails in particular, as the internet is full of fraud and rip off, and compared to email there are other much more vulnerable channels.

I admit that the possibilities in emails are limited, for example integrating interactive content or forms directly is not possible, but email will evolve along with the development of operating systems, and in my opinion we will see completely different emails in two to three years. It will remain very interesting for marketers to watch the channel closely in order to take advantage of the opportunities when they arrive!

Today you can already embed YouTube videos directly into emails, and if they are received via Gmail the video can be displayed directly in message.

Of course, other email providers offer similar features, e.g. Webmail, Outlook and Lotus Notes, which will continue to progress and mature.

Email communication is definitely not an outdated method, but rather a means of communications in an evolution phase with endless possibilities. Just wait and see!

By Daniela La Marca