I recently had the chance to ditch the "legacy" attitude of email working colleagues in a close circle of professionals all signed up to a new snazzy messaging service. It did away with all that had come before, apparently, allowing us to chat and share files and so on. How did i know when I had a new message? Why, i just waited for an email notification to go and check out the super new app.
Email is far from dead. In fact, it's thriving. Within three years there will be nearly 3 billion email users, up 10% from last year's level. They may well not get everything done in their inbox, but as a starting point, it can't be beaten. Often it's a notification channel that something needs your attention elsewhere -- and in just about every conceivable use, it's the channel that tells you to click on a link to get something done elsewhere. Can you name a channel that's a better starting point?
There are a couple of other reasons why email is what i always refer to as the ugly duckling -- which for those in the know, soon becomes a beautiful swan.
There's the very obvious point that it's a means to talk to customers and prospects, with their permission, at regular intervals. It would feel strange for brands to proactively message us on social media and messaging platforms, yet it is fully expected with email -- it's something customers are signing up for every day.
Apart from a communication tool, however, here's the really good bit. Cross-channel is the new hot buzzword for any brands that want to reconcile online and in-store behaviour. There are no cookies in a mobile world, and so the way to identify someone in-store is typically a loyalty app or taking an email address, perhaps for an eReceipt or for warranty information. The lynchpin here is email. It is the identifying link that follows through from online behaviour to the cash register.
Rumours of email's death, then, or even references to it as "legacy," are so exaggerated they are an outright lie.