Rumors of Email’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

email_env“So sir, your opinion on the latest pronouncement of the ‘end of email’?” I asked, figuring a provocative opening might start an interesting discussion. The Effective Detective made a face like he had just consumed a lemon.

“Watson, tell me you are not buying into some Internet Marketer’s idea of a catchy way to sell their latest Social Media Profit Explosion! program,” The Detective almost spat out, turning his currently dour face to me.

“Actually sir, I was trying to start our weekly conversation. I seem to have accomplished my goal,” I smiled.

“I could end this conversation now, but since you seem to be so proud of yourself, let us entertain this pronouncement for a moment,” The Detective replied after a second, still trying to sound dour, but with just the hint of a smile on his face.

“The problem with such prognostications is twofold, Watson. The first is that it ignores the simple fact that email is still a far better vehicle for notifications and communication then either Social Media or texting. The second is that often the prognosticator either has a vested interest in the statement being true – the aforementioned Internet Marketer, or they are a pundit with no real experience in the world, but they think Social Media and texting are really cool.

“Email still allows for very rich messages, even if they are relatively short, or a reliable vehicle for links to other sites – yes, even Social Media sites, something Facebook and LinkedIn still have not totally mastered, and texting is generally not suited for. I think the primary difference though with Social Media is the visibility of a post versus an email. We would all like to believe that our posts are so important and wonderful that everyone will simply jump to read them, but even if they did, the problem is that your post may not rank high enough to even show up in someone’s feed. They may have to search for it, and I think I don’t need to tell you have often that happens! Then of course let us not even start on what small percentage of the slightly older population – which is a primary target if you are selling business to business is focusing on Facebook versus reading their email,” The Detective paused, once again giving me a chance to inject my own thoughts on the matter.

“So are you claiming that Social Media and text messaging are useless?” I asked, alarmed.

The Detective rolled his eyes before answering. “Really Watson, must you be so overly dramatic? Of course not. What I am saying is that email’s place as a marketing vehicle is hardly disappearing. Social Media has its own set of issues that I am not convinced will be resolved in the short-term, especially if they are revenue generation for a Social Media site, for example the concept of featured posts, which of course are paid for. Though I heartily recommend Social Media as another distribution channel, simply not the primary one.”

“And text messaging?” I pushed.

“There the jury is still out. With texting the problem is more limited content amount. It can be useful for special urgent offers or event reminders but real content? I also think that at least for now, there is a different perception of the purpose of texting. It will take a while to purge the perception that they’re more for a quick reminder or question and answer like where do we go for dinner? rather than a content delivery system.

“Now, the expanded use of mobile devices to read and act on emails, there is a subject that requires some study and will be worthy of future discussion,” The Detective concluded.

“But not today, sir?” I asked, knowing what the answer would be.

“Quite, Watson, not today.”


I love comments good and bad! Let me know what you think!