We live in an app-driven world. So it may be a surprise to some that the common denominator allowing people to download, use, purchase and move between apps is not some hot new technology. It is email. As the common linkage between channels, email is the ubiquitous master channel that enables people to plug into social networks and connect the various components of their digital personas.
The standard that defined email was codified 33 years ago. It hasn’t changed a great deal since its inception. The world has grown up on email, and an array of technologies and enhancements have been developed to ensure the long-term viability, security and cross-platform functionality of the medium.
Email’s ubiquitous nature extends beyond marketing into the automation of customer service. Where would we be without automated password resets via email or abandoned shopping cart messages? Or the humble welcome letter, policy updates and other forms of transactional messaging. Email is the system of record that helps us organize, document, track and streamline commerce while providing an audit trail. Email gives us the option to be as verbose as we want to be, or as curt and direct as we need to be.
Numerous pundits have stated that Millennials are moving away from email — Snapchat was the latest thing. Before that it was SMS; now Meerkat and Periscope are in vogue. Here’s the plain truth — Millennials are growing up snapping, Vineing, Meerkating, Periscoping – they’re coming of age on social networks and then embracing email as they enter the workforce, or with their first Amazon purchase, which uses an email address for a login and relies on email for the stream of confirmations and updates that follow.
In this slideshow, Phillip Merrick, CEO of Message Systems, has identified five reasons email remains dominant and isn’t going away any time soon.
The Longevity of Email
Click through for five reasons email remains the dominant form of communications, as identified by Phillip Merrick, CEO of Message Systems.
Email’s ROI is leaps and bounds ahead of every other channel. The simple mathematics say that for every $1 of investment, email provides back $44.25 according to a 2014 infographic; subsequent studies have also confirmed this.
A Common Foundation
The big four marketing clouds — IBM, Oracle, Salesforce and Adobe – are built upon email marketing platforms that send billions of pieces of email. Although futurists envision a world where email is dead, realists see a world where new channels grow up and garner niche to mainstream appeal, all the while relying on email as a common foundation.
Global email volume continues to grow. There has never been a down year for email — projected growth through 2017 puts total email volume at a 3 to 5 percent yearly growth rate. Massive social networks rely on email to bring customers back to their sites and apps. Email is the tip of the engagement pyramid and a constant reminder that something is happening somewhere, compelling recipients of these messages to re-engage with a site or brand.
We live in an insecure age that requires significant measures to secure our digital communications – email, in particular. Doing so protects email users around the globe, our company’s brand and the Internet as a whole. Steps every company engaged in email should take include:
- Enabling Sender Policy Framework (SPF) for all outbound email. SPF is a basic email authentication that helps receiving domains and ISPs understand which IP is authorized to deliver email on behalf of which domain.
- Enabling DKIM/DMARC for all outbound messages. Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) is a cryptographic solution that helps ensure the integrity of the message body, sending domain and other attributes.
- Transport Layer Security (TLS) to automatically encrypt message traffic is a must have in today’s world. TLS has grown in popularity and adoption. Even providers like Google are publishing a transparency report to help the industry understand the importance of securing email in flight.
Optimizing email based on customer behavior analysis. The route to market for today’s most sophisticated mailers has changed significantly, from delivering a particular campaign X times a week to sending emails based on user interaction with the website and/or mobile apps. Campaigns or batch communications assume that all recipients are basically alike — these tactics leave less room for content optimization based on user preference like geographical location, previous website history, purchase history, etc.
By connecting the website and apps to an email engine that keys off of both email metrics and web analytics, automated email delivery can become a routine communication rather than something driven by eureka moments. Data is the gold standard; the key to unlocking the potential of data is to make it actionable. Analyzing data after the fact, after an event, has you missing the window of opportunity. Email systems need to be tied into the analytics in real time so that important moments in the cycle don’t perish, but rather become the basis for ongoing, regular communications.