Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
October 23, 200810:19 PM

Nobody Uses Email Anymore

Young people don't use email anymore. They see it as a traditional form of communication. They use it to thank their grandparents for a Birthday gift (or other times when they have to speak with old people).

The above was a paraphrase of something I've heard Don Tapscott (author of Wikinomics and Grown Up Digital) says countless times in his live presentation.

Are you done laughing yet? Do you feel old?

"Use of online social networking, text messaging and cell phones is diminishing the effectiveness of email marketing, especially among consumers that say promotional messages inspire their purchases, according to a report from JupiterResearch, MarketingCharts writes."

That was the headline from a September 5th, 2008 news item titled, Email's Effectiveness Erodes Against Texting, SocNets, Mobile, from MarketingVOX.

It goes on to say:

"'Consumers' confidence in email has become shaken by irrelevant communications and high message frequency, which are top drivers of subscribers' churn and channel skepticism,' said David Daniels, VP, research director and lead analyst of the report for JupiterResearch. 'People receive such a high volume of email that they are unable to pay attention to every message. It is so important for marketers to be relevant and succinct when they send messages to consumers' inboxes."'

Then, just today, MarketingVOX has another news item titled, Youth More Receptive to Email, vs. SocNet, Marketing.

"The ExactTarget study outlined six personas and measured how they interact with different media. Highlights (via the companion release):

1. Wired Users: 20% subscribed for marketing communications via SMS (more so than any other group) but want to receive texts only for urgent customer service issues, like financial alerts or travel updates.

2. Young Homemakers: Over half use social networks and SMS during the day, but direct mail and email are their preferred marketing channels.

3. Retired: 81% purchased online and 94% have been influenced by some form of direct marketing to make a purchase.

4. College Students: Very spam-savvy, they believe private communication channels (e.g., SMS, social networks) are off-limits for marketers.

5. Teens: Though they use social networking more than any other group, they are more likely to make a purchase from direct mail, followed by email, SMS, and social network sites.

6. Established Professionals: Within this group, women are more likely than men to use new digital media channels like IM, SMS, and social networking to communicate with friends and family. Both men and women, however, shop online — 92% of consumers in this group have made an online purchase."

Grain of salt time: ExactTarget - who commissioned this new report - is an Email Marketing service provider.

While there may be confusion over whether or not email marketing is still a relevant channel if you bounce between both of the news items above, most people doing any form of email marketing know the real truth: it is a very powerful CRM tool if you have a clean list, delivering relevant and personal content in a timely manner. If anything, I've been privy to some eye-opening open rates, unsubscribe rates and conversation metrics that speak highly to the power and efficacy of a strong email marketing campaign.

Beyond that, email is still - overall - a very heavily used communication channel (no matter which news report you choose to believe from above). With both the iPhone and BlackBerry sporting some very interesting numbers recently. Check out this from Computerworld as they were live Blogging the Apple Q4 Earnings conference call from two days ago:

"Apple beat RIM. In their most recent quarter, Research in Motion, or RIM, reported selling 6.1 million BlackBerry devices. Compared to our most recent quarter sales of 6.9 million iPhones, Apple outsold RIM last quarter and this is a milestone for us. RIM is a good company that makes good products and so it is surprising that after only 15 months in the market, we could outsell them in any quarter.

But even more remarkable is this - measured by revenues, Apple has become the world’s third-largest mobile phone supplier. I know this sounds crazy, but it’s true - as measured in revenues, not units, Apple has become the third largest mobile phone supplier... Pretty amazing."

As of now, the rumors of email's death have been greatly exaggerated.

By Mitch Joel