I blogged yesterday on what i think is going on here, but to make a long story short, I suspect that Facebook has Microsoft-owned LinkedIn in its sights far more than email. Giving corporates their own walled garden for staff to communicate within seems to make sense, and if you throw in the potential for those companies to then start recruiting via Facebook, you can see where the social giant might hope to pick up some of LinkedIn's massive recruitment revenue.
Sure, if a significant amount of corporates buy the Workplace service, there may be a reduction in the volume of email between colleagues who can message each other direct. However, that really doesn't have anything to do with email marketing. It will not impact how often people check their inbox and it will not suddenly stop brands that have been given permission to talk to people over email making full use of that opportunity.
Let's get down to facts, as pointed out by Adobe this week. Email is still far and away consumers' favourite means to be contacted by brands. Sure, there are some frustrations that they can get too many messages, sometimes they're not optimised for mobile and they can take too long to render properly. That said, email is still our preferred method of communication. It's partly because of history, because we're used to it -- but it goes deeper, I think.
Email relies on permission. We have control over it. Most brands we have agreed to be contacted by are given that permission because it's useful to us. We have dealt with them once and so want to know of further offers or we simply want to know when our stuff will arrive and when the brand has something new and exciting to talk about. If we get fed up with a company, we just need to simply click "unsubscribe" to kick them to the proverbial kerb.
No other channel can come close to that permission-based approach. We may moan that we have too many messages in our inbox, but we can at least delete quickly, ignore or unsubscribe. The same cannot be said for promoted posts on Facebook or videos that play automatically every time we check out the news online. Yet look at the fuss made about social and video advertising.
So, email marketers should allow themselves to enjoy another wry smile as their channel of choice is once again killed off by the latest social media launch. It reminds me a little of that poor character in South Park -- Kenny. He used to get killed off in every early episode, and yet there he is again bright and fit in the next, ready to be killed off, again. Kenny or Tiddles the cat. The choice of moniker is yours.