Email: it’s here to stay

By Robert Phillips

In November 2010, as Facebook launched its “Fmail” product, we were told that email was dead. “We no longer need email” was the cry a year later, when Atos revealed that it was eliminating the communication method from its offices. Meanwhile, the rocketing popularity of social tools like Instagram, Snapchat and GifBoom, particularly among “digital natives”, is much discussed.

Yet here we are in May 2013 and evidence continues to prove that email is booming. At SendGrid alone, we’ve sent more than 100 billion wanted emails for customers around the world in the past four years. Furthermore, the Radicati Group, a renowned technology market research firm from Palo Alto, recently published a report on the email market for 2012-2016. In it, the analysts asserted that email would grow from 2.1 billion users worldwide to more than 2.7 billion in the coming four years. Revenues for the market will also increase, shooting up from $8 billion globally in 2012 to more than $12 billion by 2016.

The reality is that we can’t live without it. On a consumer level, even those who choose not to communicate via email require an address to set up social accounts and reset forgotten passwords. From a business perspective, email is the dominant form of communication, both internally and externally, and there’s nothing on the horizon that looks like changing that fact. Even conversational tools like Yammer and HipChat are usually used to complement rather than replace email and they are almost always used for internal communication only.

A criticism commonly levelled at email is the claim that it’s burdensome. There’s too much email, it’s too hard to manage and it must therefore be dispensed with. But despite the rising volumes of email being sent around the world, this problem is abating. Rules, Labs features, improved spam filters and priority inboxes are making it easier for consumers and business users alike to limit what emails they are receiving. Moreover, the saturation of smartphones and mobile innovation for email such as Sparrow and now Mailbox are making it easier to achieve the hitherto mythical “inbox zero”.

But getting beyond the idea that email is something to be “managed”, there’s no escaping the point that businesses have been built on the success of their external email programmes. The entire daily deals industry is just one example. Customers like receiving emails that are well-crafted and tailored to their interests. They’re personal, in a way that a post to thousands on a social network cannot be.

From a marketer’s perspective, emails are also more reliable than any other channel. Whereas on Facebook or Twitter, a post might slide down the feed and be missed, or be drowned out in the noise of other news stories, an email arriving in someone’s inbox has a high chance of being seen.

Finally, good emails make the reader act. Get the subject and content right and marketers can drive the recipient to visit other relevant sites, share material or even buy something or make a payment. It’s not just marketing, it’s sales. For a business, that’s a pretty compelling prospect.

About the author

Robert Phillips has spent nearly 20 years managing marketing for a variety of premium products and services. Most recently Robert led marketing for Memeo, a worldwide leader in backup, online storage and synchronization services for consumers and small businesses. Prior to that, Robert led member acquisition for PeoplePC (acquired by Earthlink) and managed the company’s global expansion team in Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific in support of deals with the Ford Motor Company and Delta Airlines. He also worked at online DVD rental company Netflix where he helped build the company’s fast growing member base. Robert began his career at Ogilvy and Mather and DDB Worldwide advertising working with brands such as American Airlines, GTE (now Verizon), Embassy Suites Hotels and Level 3 Communications.

About SendGrid

Founded in 2009, after graduating from the TechStars program, SendGrid has developed a cloud-based service that solves the challenge of email delivery by delivering emails on behalf of companies. SendGrid eliminates the complexity of sending email, saving time and money, while providing reliable delivery to the inbox. With over a decade of thought-leadership, backed by a stellar record of delivering email, SendGrid is climbing to new heights.

The Radicati Group:

Full study on email market: Email Market, 2012-2016

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