As the Huffington Post reminds us this week, Adobe research has found that the majority of Millennials name email as their preferred method of contact with a brand. There's an understandable fascination with new channels that can tempt marketers to think that anybody young can surely not be reachable on the same tried and tested channel as their parents. Think about it and it all makes perfect sense.
Email is perfect because nearly nine in ten Millennials tell Adobe they primarily pick up emails on their mobile device and email is the communication method, when optimised, that spans the gap between the large and small screen. It's essentially everyone's digital ID. Whatever you have done online, it will always be underpinned by an email address. Even if you're a Millennial signing in to every new service through Facebook, that initial Facebook account will have been set up through an email address.
Also, when you think about it a little more deeply, young people are obviously flocking to social and messaging service, but it doesn't necessarily follow that they want brands to "inbox" them via these sites and apps. That's usually a privilege reserved for friends. It's for brands to try to come up with engaging content which catches their eye in their feed or to pay to put a new range of wares in front of a viewer.
Email is preferred by Millennials, just as it is by older age groups, because it fits in with the modern trend of goods and services fitting in around you the consumer. Emails sit in the background waiting to be discovered at a time and place of the smartphone owner's choosing. They don't normally "ping" like a Whatsapp message coming in. They are there to be ignored or engaged with whenever the recipient is so inclined. They're not trying to compete with your friends' messaging to make plans -- they're on the part of the smartphone where a Millennial is used to receiving work emails and communications from brands.
When you consider that Millennials are the worst offenders when it comes to ad blocking (as many as one in three or one in four are estimated to block), then the ability to talk to this generation through their preferred contact method has to be a major feather in the cap of email marketing.