Mobile Isn't Mobile Without Email

Mobile is cool, but "Heads up -- cool is not a strategy." That’s a great quote from Maya Mikhailov of GPShopper,  who in a recent MediaPost Mobile Insider wroteabout not losing sight of “the audience” with all the hype of building cool mobile experiences. She also very insightfully reminded us of the real value of mobile apps:  utility and convenience.

The smartphone really isn’t a mobile device anymore, it’s an appendage that one simply doesn’t go anywhere without.  Apps are so abundant and readily available, there’s an endless world of experiences for anything you can think of, some more valuable than others. There are apps for finding a dog bone, and for keeping us from drunk-dialing people we shouldn’t. There’s an app to compete with your friends on who can spin toilet paper off the roll faster while you sit in the stall. I often wonder how the data world would have looked at lifestyle segments had they known that the college-educated, working mom of three, who drives an SUV, had Haircaster as an app (advises women how weather conditions will impact their hair).



There’s even an app called “email,” which happens to be on the front screen of all mobile devices, and is the one users spend hours a day checking and interacting with.  Email is still one of the most consistent ways to inform and educate customers and fulfill brand experiences.   Whether tethered to a “message” pushed through an app or an SMS or MMS message, email will always be on the front screen on your mobile device and vital to any mobile strategy.

As CMOs get uber-excited about mobile and the unique experiences that can be developed through apps, there is still a persistence you must create with the consumer -- and email is that connector. 

As I’ve written before, the ubiquity of messaging,  the controls set by the email industry, the regulations imposed by the ISPs (each uniquely) have defined and allowed this form of consumer engagement to survive overuse, fraud and the changing whims of the large ISPs.  Regular mail has decayed faster than an open banana in heat, the Web has become so passive and search-driven, recall of branded URLs is almost  a lost human skill.   There will always be a need to communicate when a brand wants to communicate, always a need for outbound- PUSH.  

Tell the CMO that email is the primary and persistent channel  -- mind you, not the only channel, but the predominant channel that will enable mobile (and for that matter, the social channel) for many years. Don’t let it get removed from the home screen on your corporate device.  

The principles of what makes good email programs will hold true for another decade.

6 comments about "Mobile Isn't Mobile Without Email".
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  1. Dave Hendricks from LiveIntent, May 19, 2014 at 5:45 p.m.

    This is my favorite part: "There’s even an app called “email,” which happens to be on the front screen of all mobile devices"

    Email is one of the apps on your phone you don't delete...

  2. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, May 20, 2014 at 7:27 a.m.

    Email is still around, but it's changed a lot in 10 years. Emails are tighter, more stylish, less verbose, and much more likely to be real-time and personal.

  3. Jim Ducharme from eDataSource, May 20, 2014 at 9:35 a.m.

    It's always good to remind people that mobile is a device, while email is the channel. Seems people become confused on this and lose perspective sometimes.

  4. Stuart Meyler from Beeby Clark + Meyler, May 20, 2014 at 5 p.m.

    Good points, but given that email is mobile (ie read on a mobile device a majority of time), it is surprising that most companies don't plan or execute it that way. Instead, most companies still design and plan for desktop usage behaviors and, at best, use responsive design/media queries to serve up a "mobile version of the desktop" original.

  5. Jim Ducharme from eDataSource, May 21, 2014 at 8:04 a.m.

    Agreed Stuart. Mobile technology is the future and the sooner brands start preparing and executing, the better.

  6. Justin Belmont from Prose Media, May 24, 2014 at 8:23 p.m.

    Great tips, David. Prose Media uses e-mail quite frequently, both in our own content marketing, and in the work we do for others, and it's such an important way to connect with your customers; it's quick, easy, and everyone uses e-mail. Here's a post from our blog about successful e-mail marketing:

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