Why Email Marketing Is Alive And Thriving

Why Email Marketing Is Alive And Thriving

With the advent of any new, exciting or sexy way of doing anything, the advocates for it will proclaim the old methods to be dead. The Internet was supposed to kill print. It hasn’t. Television was supposed to kill radio. It didn’t.

Lately, social media has been said to be the next great “killer” driving things like email marketing to its death. That notion was largely behind my reason to pen The Rebel’s Guide To Email Marketing with DJ Waldow. Social will kill email? No, it won’t. Or at least that is our supposition. But why suppose? Why not ask? It’s kinda what we do here.

In the latest edition of The Social Habit, we asked a representative sample of over 3,000 American social media users 12 and older if they read email from brands products or companies. Of those who responded, 61 percent say that yes, they indeed do read emails from such entities. Email marketing is dead? We think not.

Further, we asked those who responded with a “yes” the question, “Why do you typically read email from a brand, product or company?” And the answers are rather interesting. The top response (and our subjects could pick more than one reason) was to get deals, discounts or coupons. But it wasn’t the only response and understanding all the others is pertinent for marketers wishing to dive into an email marketing program. Some 70 percent of those that read emails from companies do so for the deal. More than half (53%) say they do so to learn about new products and 41 percent want news and updates from the company.


Perhaps the content marketing mantra of “don’t talk about yourself” is less applicable than we have been led to believe? That question certainly cannot be answered by this set of data, but it’s interesting to consider.

Of course, we’ve also broken down the reasons by sex, age, ethnicity, income and a variety of other subsets in the tabular data, so investing in The Social Habit’s Option 3 product can help you get to more specific information on this front. But what do you think about the numbers for email marketing responses? Does 61 percent surprise you? How about the 70 percent that do so for the deal? The juxtaposition from the expectation is what normally intrigues me about looking through data. How different are these numbers from your expectations? Tell us in the comments.


About the Author

Jason Falls is an author, speaker and CEO of Social Media Explorer. Find him on Twitter @JasonFalls.


  1. Erin OBryan says:

    I think a lot of us wish email marketing was dead only because it requires us to do the work. With Social you put the message out there into the social stream and hope you catch something, with an email it requires you do the work. Firstly, email is not a stream you have to do the work to get the contacts to begin with. More importantly you have to provide a service or something that makes you good enough to let you into the sanctum of email. Facebook, Twitter etc.. I ignore a large portion of who I chose to follow, with email I think long and hard before I sign up it’s my private place where I hope to only get what’s important to me and filter it very well. So I guess email is not dead but it’s a more elite club to get into. Get it right and you get get the secret code to get into the club.

  2. Jason Falls says:

    Thanks for the response, Erin. I think I would argue that the social campaigns that are successful require you to do the work, too. Hoping you catch something means you’re rolling the dice with your efforts. Working at it … just like you do with email … you can better know what buttons to push and how you can produce success, not hope for it.

    Also, the lion’s share of the work in email marketing is in building your list. Perhaps you’re referring to buying lists or even using existing customer lists — both viable options if you want to work from those starting points, but strong email marketing programs are promoted first to ensure those on the list are of the opt-in type. These are people who want to hear what you have to say.

    Of course, there are different approaches and circumstances for every business. Thanks for giving us your perspective.


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