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The Wall Street Journal may have declared "The End of the Email Era" this week, but that obituary went live far too soon.

Email is still alive and kicking. Beyond the fact that email usage still continues to grow, it is also a key factor in all of the more recent social tools that are seeing explosive growth. And according to a new study by Pontiflex, marketers are finding consumers much more willing to share information via email than social media, meaning that email is still an integral tool in marketing campaigns.

Specifically, the study found that only 12% of online adults said they’d be willing to provide social media information (like a Twitter handle or Facebook name) to markers online, while 96% of those surveyed had provided their email to brands to receive special promotions or more information.

Those numbers may be more in keeping with the fact that email sorting tools make it more easily accepted to accept branding info, but it still highlights the fact that social media is an imperfect tool for all digital marketing needs.

The Harris study surveyed 2,064 adults age 18 and older and found that just 17% of online adults aged 18-34, 8% of adults 35-44 and 7% of users 45-54 were  OK with sharing social networking information with brands.

Combined with a few other numbers, that makes a good case for email as a marketing tool:

  • 68% of online adults are more likely to trust a brand they hear from often and that offers them personalized deals or information online
  • 78%  of online adults said they dislike having to leave their destination when they click on a banner ad
  • 47% of online adults said they have intentionally clicked on ads on a website

According to Pontiflex CEO Zephrin Lasker: "Building a relationship in the social networking space is not very different from building a relationship in the real world. Once marketers have built relationships and trust through e-mail, they then engage consumers in relevant ways on social networking sites."

And there's a lot behind that theory. For starters, fully 1/3 of Twitter users have never used the service. Considering that the majority of tweets are still written by a small percentage of microbloggers, email is still a failsafe for getting ahold of people. And pointing them to your brand.

And while real time messaging is on everyone's mind lately, it has plenty of drawbacks. For starters, iif you aren't in front of a screen around the time a Twitter message goes out, you're likely to miss it. Or get annoyed if you didn't miss it and then have to deal with repetitive messaging when brands want to reach eyeballs.

Email is much more tailored to opt-in messaging. And it can point people toward what's going on in social. Especially those users who still don't quite get social media.

Even the Wall Street Journal article that pronounced email's death admits that usage of the service continues to grow. Services like Twitter, Facebook and instant messenger are growing at a faster pace, but they have a lot further to go to reach email usage rates. And the day email is officially "dead" is still far off on the horizon.

Meghan Keane

Published 14 October, 2009 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

721 more posts from this author

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thoughtsdotcom

Email is still alive and well. Email is extremely useful and can be more personable when it needs to be.

almost 7 years ago

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Todd

I think "The End of the Royal Mail Era" would have been a more accurate title

almost 7 years ago

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Marty

How can email be dead and social be king when all social sites require an email address to sign up?! They can and should go side by side in any strategy; marketing, customer service etc.

almost 7 years ago

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Sanjit Chudha

As some of the posts - indeed the article itself - demonstrate, email will not die as long as there is a human impulse to ensure the privacy that social media doesn't always provide.   As marketeers it's too easy to get swept along by the 'next big thing' and forget that human beings are multi-faceted and willful.  

It would be wrong to abandon the mix of tools we have and assume that the next wave of 'what's hot' is the be-all and end-all.   It isn't.   Marketing and new product development is about understanding the tools, testing their application by segment and then applying that education in the right proportion, at the right time and for the right audience.  

Common sense you might say.

almost 7 years ago

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MetroplexInteractive

Email isn't going to go away anytime soon but this article highlights the unavoidable fact that social media is quickly replacing traditional (er, electronic) forms of communication. Social networking, SMS, MMS, tweets and the like have the advantage of immediacy in an easily absorbable form which is why so many have adopted them as their preferred method of communication - after all, we live in a sound bite world don't we? I predict that these new forms of communication will continue to become more unified such that in the future there may not be a distinction between SMS and MMS, then text and social posts.

almost 7 years ago

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Eric R

This isn't a zero sum game, where if social works...email doesn't. Or if email works....direct mail doesn't. At each stage of the customer lifecycle, different media play different roles, and each marketer must find the right media mix to acquire and retain profitable customers. Contextual relevance in all messaging regardless of media channel is of paramount importance...which is why most CMO's struggle with achieving 'customer-centricity' today as they did 10 years ago.

almost 7 years ago

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ball valve

Marketing and new product development is about understanding the tools, testing their application by segment and then applying that education in the right proportion, at the right time and for the right audience.

almost 7 years ago

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Jay Farlow

The Pontiflex/Harris survey not only shows that email is not dead, it also supports the concept of not asking prospective customers too much too soon via web forms. Our client, Market2Lead, just did a news release on this:

http://www.market2lead.com/company/pr2009-10-26.html

almost 7 years ago

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Internet Marketing

SEO, linking, spamming is a big, big industry. It may be a nuisance but for a product owner, it is deemed important in trying to be relevant, current and out there. It also is being developed on a regular manner so it is every changing and dynamic.

almost 7 years ago

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