Death of Email Marketing? It Already Died and We Missed It!

I have read enough about the death of email becase of RSS marketing and social networks. Email is already dead and it wasn’t RSS that killed it. The shift to mobile media already been fully embraced and we never even new it. That is unless you have been paying attention to what your children are doing.

I have alot of friends in the twenty something bracket and see how they operate daily. Texting from their phones is a non stop way of life. The mobile phone is already a basic necesity as is thier MySpace page where they would rather read personal posts than free email accounts with with tons of spam.

Email does not really exist as a real time communication medium for the teen / twenty somethings of today. Email is seen mostly as a way to interface with professors, parents and adults or a point of contact for someone thru a website link.

For years I wanted the wearable computer that us real geeks envisioned in the 90’s. It was just recently that I looked at my Treo 650 with it’s RSS reader, constant incoming texts and (though crappy) browser I have had it for a while and not even realized it.

David Baker of writes that “There will be a blur as to what e-mail, RSS and mobile messaging are to the consumer.” in an article inspired by Paul Gillin in BtoB magazine’s print edition last month, titled “New Technology, New Media and New Paradigm.”

RSS will probably never be known by the masses yet will be used heavily as the underlying protocol for information delivery and news / article consumers. It already has become invisible to MyYahoo! users who consume RSS feeds thru their personal homepages and is the highest RSS aggregator currently used.

“So where does this leave text messaging in the mix” you ask scoffing??? The greatest viabiliy of a text address is that no one wants to change their number. No more email churn or ISP hopping. If you change providers you can transfer your number.

Read this article about how a group of teen Internet entrepreneurs readily admit that traditional e-mail is better suited for keeping up professional relationships or communicating with adults. They find facebook to be indespensible but only log in to email once a week.

There are millions of young adults already programmed to instantly open their latest text message. Try to get a 22 year old or worse yet your girlfriend on the phone and you know what you will get. No one answers the phone anymore without checking to see who it is. Text on the other hand gets opened instantly because there is no one to answer to and little spam compared to email.

Ebay is already offering text bidding thru text messages embracing a very mobile 17 to 25 market.

Sony’s PSPs now support multimedia downloads via RSS. How about a Tivo plug in that gives you an RSS reader on your TV? How about RSS links delivered via text messages. Web enabled phones already make web links clickable in text messages. The list goes on and on.

I do believe however that with the proliferation of better internet enabled phones we will see future delivery to the mobile market escalate. Especially as multimedia phones bring more value to the younger market and more phones offer a decent browser. Just think about it and remember Chris Lang told you about it first!


  1. Posted September 27, 2007 at 10:41 pm | Permalink


    This is one of the most brilliant articles I have seen on this subject matter.

    In the IM world people are always living in yesterday and waking up after the next big wave hits playing catch up trying to figure out how to monetize it.

    I have spent the last two years integrating rss, podcasting, ecommerce, affiliate management, subscriber management, and the most popular email list management services into a one click subscription process.

    It boggles my mind that you caught onto the “home page” reality of rss feeds.

    What if I were to tell you that we have developed a system that you can use to send personal text, audio, video etc messages direct to the yahoo, msn, aol etc homepages?

    The point you make about the mobile text communication market being the new email is brilliant…

    Basically it is instant messenger in your pocket where you cna hold silent conversations in just about any setting.

    While I develop technology to target this communication medium I am not text addicted but I see people who everywhere they go they are constantly reading and responding to text messages never disconnected from those whom they are addicted to communicating with.

    We plan on launching during the next week or so.

    This weekend one of our licensed partners is launching his white label of our technology at the 2007 Podcast and New Media Expo in Canada where he has a booth and is speaking from the stage.

  2. Posted October 3, 2007 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    This article cleary proves that you are wrong: Email is not dead- email is very much alive- it is just not living on the desktop anymore.

    The definition of email is an electronic message- sms is an eletronic message-

    Thanks for proving the point about email, in its newer lifeform!

  3. Posted October 4, 2007 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Really? Really? Ironically, I found your post via a Google Alert that arrived via Email. For something to die, it must have ceased to exist. My inbox proves you wrong a thousand times over each week. Email is core to most business processes nowadays and it’s just as relevant as picking up a phone… with some additional advantages.

    I believe you’re terribly mistaken. The last thing I want to do is read a message on my phone that has multimedia and nice formatting, and is several pages long. Put it on my huge monitor and put in in an email so that I can delete it, organize it, archive it for later…

  4. Posted October 4, 2007 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Doug, Thanks for your comment. Ironically I find it, well, ironic that on your blog you offer subscribers RSS, email AND text options! So you must agree in some small way that the lines of electronic communication have overlapped and blurred even a little. What my article is about is that a whole new generation is right behind us and they DON’T use email.

  5. Posted October 4, 2007 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Hi Chris,

    I definitely see value in each medium, but your title wasn’t that there was overlap… it was that email was dead. With all due respect I don’t think there’s any meat to your arguments.

    The generation behind me hasn’t been introduced to the modern workplace – where email is thriving. My son just started at IUPUI (Math and Physics). While he may have used MySpace, Facebook, text messaging, etc. before – he’s now using email over any other medium to hand in homework and to discuss lessons with other students and staff. My daughter (13) utilizes chat and text messaging… she doesn’t use email (yet).

    So, it’s not that the younger generation won’t use it… it’s that they currently don’t have a need to use it. There’s a huge difference between the two.

    I just left working for ExactTarget, arguably one of the largest email service providers on the planet. They are also permission-based and always have been. For the 3 years I worked at ExactTarget, our output of email doubled virtually every single quarter right up until I left. The demand isn’t even slowing down, it’s still accelerating. Constant Contact went IPO today – and their price soared 73% above the opening price.

    I really appreciate you dropping me a line to continue the dialog, Chris! Your title was link bait and you caught yourself a big mouth (me!).

    It’s not that Email is dead, Chris. It’s that, for the younger generation, it hasn’t been brought to life yet.

    Long Live Email! :)

  6. Posted October 18, 2009 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Currently I work as a media director at a law firm though I am an independent brand consultant / manager. I have seen the decline in email.

    Working with over 100 restaurants in the Dallas, TX area over the past 2 1/2 years I used to use email as a avenue to market events, happening etc…well, that just doesn’t work anymore. They now have to do a number of things for a longer period of time and go after the right groups of people.

    The law firm I currently work with has been emailing for a year now to over 20,000 very targeted people. The statistics were gradually going down so we had to put in other measures to counteract what was happening. Combining podcasts and video in an email has really increased the stats…for now.

    I did a poll out of 100 random emails I have in a 50,000 email database.
    The question was:
    How many eNewsletters have you signed up for in the last 6 months? Simple question.

    Out of that 100

    58 emailed me back
    2 said they did


    That means very few are willing to get more emails. Emails are becoming more like billboards. They are just there on the highway and you see one that may catch your eye every now and then. Waaaay cheaper however!

    Though there is still some validity to emailing it has to be used in other ways, like market the other marketing efforts.

    Ex: You have an article out in a publication…market that in your email. That works better and builds credibility.

    Until you reach the tipping point of success, keep doing a bunch of things. It’s not the death of email…yet! Though there is saturation. Just use it correctly and understand the doors won’t swing open and the phone won’t ring off the hook!

    It took me 8 months to rebrand the law firm and become marketing leaders or have that perception. They are the largest at what their niche is. To date we have spent $0 on traditional advertising. Everything is done in house and we successfully started a “ground roots” effort after the perception was created. It does work, just be patient.

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  1. […] of social change. In 2007 I published and article that received some pretty harsh comments “Email Marketing Already Died and We Didn’t even Know It.” As I said then “Just try getting someone on the phone these […]