Habeas: Email Remains Primo Communication Method
Will they use email to communicate with their colleagues, plan meetings, strategize about PowerPoints, etc.? Or will Facebook--or more likely, a more professional type of social networking option--come to dominate intra-office communication?
The scenario may be a few years out, but not as many as some might think. One grad student at Ball State, Brandon Prebynski, appearing on the Summit's first panel, said he would be content to use Facebook solely at his next job. (A panel of Ball State students affiliated with the school's Center for Media Design offered marketers the opportunity to gain insight into changing behaviors among the college set.)
Nonetheless, online firm Habeas released its annual study of consumer attitudes Wednesday, which showed that email remains the "primary method of communications in personal and business capacities." (Two other Ball State students said they might have trouble using Facebook at the office because it doesn't quite meet a "professional" standard.)
The Habeas research (conducted by Ipsos) also led to the conclusion that email will continue to be preferable "despite the rise of online threats and the emergence of other communication channels and Web 2.0 applications."
Habeas CEO Des Cahill said the study "illustrates the relevance and longevity email has within the online ecosystem."
The survey found that 67% of respondents prefer email to communicate online, and 65% feel that will still be the case in five years. And vis-à-vis a younger generation "aging out of email," the survey found that 65% in the 18-to-34 demo "will favor email to communicate with businesses in five years."
The research also found that there is a rise in consumer concern about email security issues--with 69% of respondents worried about "being victimized by email fraud scams," up from 62% a year ago. And perhaps giving marketers pause about advertising on mobile devices, it found that 43% of respondents were concerned about spam and virus threats on their wireless devices, up from 36% in 2007.
One area where the research confirmed some of the opinions of the Ball State students: Daily emails are as unpopular as pop-up ads, ranking together "as the most damaging online tactics to a company's online reputation." Ball State junior August Miller, a telecommunications major, said he opens and engages with emails from Apple, in part because they come periodically--but he's likely to unsubscribe soon from the daily words that come from UrbanDictionary.com.
At the Summit, Alan Chapell, president of Chapell & Associates, said he has a separate Hotmail address he gives companies who insist on obtaining an email address when he signs up for something. The Habeas research found again that some 60% of respondents seem to follow at least part of Chapell's thinking, and have two or more email addresses, "giving a different address to entities they do not trust while maintaining separate accounts for trustworthy sources."