Email Marketing: “I am not dead yet”
News of email marketing’s demise has been around for years.
Cases in point:
- I’ve been on many panels where the topic is “Email is Dead; Long Live <Fill in the Blank>” where “the blank” is Blogs, RSS, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube – you name it. Typically it’s a point-counterpoint format, where I’m alone on one side of the stage and there are at least three “experts” on the other side dissing on email.
- News sources, from About.com to iMedia Connection to the Wall Street Journal have run articles about all the latest online marketing tactics – and how they will displace email in a matter of months or years.
- I recently did an audit of a large organization’s email program, from acquisition through creative development and into conversions and overall performance. At a presentation to the field reps, it only took a few slides for an attendee to raise his hand and ask why we were bothering, since no one used email anymore (even though their members are career professionals in their early 20s through retirement age).
- Ever since I started my email marketing consultancy, over nine years ago, people have asked me what I was going to do when email died. Confidence in my career choice was not high.
All that said, email is NOT dead yet. Nor is it dying.
Each year, the Direct Marketing Association ranks marketing channels by the ROI generated. Email has led their rankings for a number of years; in 2010 they project that email marketing will return an average of $42 for each dollar spent, down from more than $43 in 2009. Email is the leader by more than a nose; the #2 channel was Internet search advertising, which returned just under $22 per dollar spent in 2009.
Forrester also weighed in on email earlier this year, projecting that U.S. spending on email marketing will increase by a compound annual rate of 11% until at least 2014, when it will reach $2 billion.
A recent MarketingSherpa survey found that email was one of only two tactics where more organizations increased budgets than decreased them in 2009. Nearly 50% of companies reported that their email budget increased, compared to 14% who said it decreased (the balance said that their email marketing budget stayed constant). The only other tactic where more budgets increased than decreased? Social networks and blogs, where 48% of companies increased budgets and 20% decreased them.
The latest report that supports the life left in email marketing comes from Yahoo! Hotjobs, which recently published an article on six new careers they felt were “coming of age.” Number five? You guessed it – Email Marketing Manager. Yahoo! reports it delivers an average salary of $69,000 and encourages those interested in moving into email marketing management to pursue an MBA.
My experience in the trenches supports the health of email marketing. My email marketing consultancy has been busier than ever in the past few years. I continue to grow my client base and just brought on a new employee to help me meet the demand.
So the next time someone suggests to you that email is dying, smile and just hum the tune to Monty Python’s “He’s Not Dead Yet.” Then go back to the office and continue to hone your skills to succeed in this exciting industry which is very much alive.
Editor’s Note: Jeanne Jennings is teaching MarketingSherpa’s Email Essentials Workshop Training in 12 locations across North America this year; the next one takes place in Toronto on October 19th. She’ll be blogging about the course material and her experiences during the tour. We’re excited to have her on board and contributing to the blog.