Article after article has claimed “email is dead.” Not only does email marketing have stanch supporters, saying that it doesn’t work simply isn’t true. For some, it works better than anything else.

Econsultancy’s Email in Action survey, conducted with the Email Experience Council of the DMA, highlights the challenges, opportunities and changes in email marketing in the US.

As highlighted in the survey results, problems with email often comes from tactics. Companies who are creating precise and unique email campaigns continue to find the highest return. For them, this is often the best way for communicating with customers and prospects over the long-term.

Those who still compensate for relevance with volume by “batching and blasting,” have found the results have ebbed, deliverability has dropped, and list growth is slowing. No wonder email gets such a bad rap.

Some of the hurdles companies are facing, as outlined in this report, are due to budget restraints and the increased reach of social media:

  • 75% of respondents describe competition with social media as “somewhat” or “very” challenging.
  • In a similar vein, 69% believe that young people are abandoning email as a primary channel.
  • 65% report that it’s a challenge to get the budget that their email programs deserve.
  • Yet agencies report that the majority (60%) of their clients who use them for email are increasing their email usage.

With social media pulling focus from email, how well are companies integrating the two channels? Less than one in four organizations has a documented plan to integrate email and social. Other than the widespread use of sharing icons (69%), only 35% of companies have incentives for email subscribers to join their social programs.

This highlights perhaps one of key takeaways from the Email in Action Survey: companies need to acknowledge that online behaviours are changing in a profound way and on a massive scale. Certainly this means email strategy will need to be reconsidered.

The subscriber experience needs to be shaped with mobile and social in mind. It will be those companies who are already integrating their user experience across multiple platforms may find greater success in this traditional marketing medium.

The UK Econsultancy team are currently conducting a similar survey on email marketing with Adestra. If you are interested in taking part, you can fill out the survey until February 8, 2012.