Martin Wallace
Martin Wallace 10 April 2015

Don't Write Off Email Just Yet

How crucial is email to your digital marketing strategy?

I remember someone telling me, not so long ago, that the days of email were numbered. Alas, six years on and here it is, strong as ever.

The Duracell Bunny, the Hobnob in Peter Kay’s tea, the cockroach in the apocalypse – email has stood the test of time and kept going, from the early days of digital communication through to its modern role as username and primary key.

It has been claimed, at numerous junctures along the digital journey, that email is, or is soon to be, passé. Each new mainstream digital channel, trend or medium has indirectly promised to usurp email as the way forward.

Each time the new dawn is upon us, we all rush to create an account for the new-fangled technology platform. What do we use as username? How is our identity verified? How is our account setup confirmed?


Facebook has had a good go at being the new single sign-on verifier; it’s common to have two options when creating your account on the latest technology fad: email or Facebook. Sometimes Facebook is prioritised as the preferred medium for attracting new signups, owing to its gravitas in the connected world. The problem with Facebook data is it is not as easily shared across multiple platforms as email.

That, and the fact you need an email address to sign up to Facebook!

There are some drawbacks, of course. People’s email addresses change – they may have new jobs, get married or change to new email platforms. But on the whole, as a daily verification mechanism, email is too widely used for these minor discrepancies to invalidate its significance.

Time will tell how long email has left as the supreme pivot of our digital existence, but in the meantime, it needs to sit at the heart of your multichannel strategy. Whether you are joining together online and offline channels and data streams, whether you are delivering multichannel promotions, keeping in touch with valued customers, or even looking to acquire new followers and advocates. Particularly if you are hoping to progress visitors and prospects through online transactions – email is not just necessary, it is essential. Research has shown that people prefer to use email as the primary commercial channel.

Examples of email in action can be found in our online guide, Creating the Ideal Customer Profile. The guide shows how data across the multichannel landscape can be created, collected, enriched and shared across your marketing systems using real-time customer profiles.

Even the resulting data that email campaigns produce can be invaluable in determining further interaction with your prospects. Resulting clicks, conversions and forwards can highlight customer interests and preferences, enabling the organisation to drive relevant engagement forward.

Not just that, email retargeting and abandoned basket campaigns can be a sure fire way to increase conversions on otherwise lost prospects. Dansk Supermarked, Denmark’s leading retailer, increased conversions threefold just by using retargeting.

Face facts: email is here to stay for the foreseeable. Make sure you integrate it fully across your multichannel strategy – it is invaluable as both a unique identifier and communication medium, and has survived (and thrived on) every challenge thrown at it to date.

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