Much has been made about email as a marketing channel over the years. We’ve seen email grow from being a small to a very large part of our work and personal lives. We’ve even reached levels of email fatigue. This of course has even lead to some respected publications suggesting email marketing is dead.

I don’t agree, and I have some stats to back my case. In fact email marketing is arguably one of the most cost efficient channels marketers have to reach customers and prospects.

At the start of 2020 I would have argued email as a marketing channel has to be a core pillar for communications and engagement for B2B and B2C organizations. With Covid-19’s impact on networking, events, and marketing in general, I think we can unanimously agree the importance of email marketing has grown considerably higher.

With the good comes the bad.

The good news: we’re all glued to our laptops and phones even more. The bad news: most people’s inboxes have seen an uptick in emails received. The result is increased inbox competition and overall “Covid fatigue”.

By 2023 it’s expected that there will be 4.3 billion daily email users worldwide (that’s an increase of ~500 million users from today). I can’t predict the future, but I’m comfortable guessing B2B and B2C audiences will probably have less tolerance for spam and irrelevant emails than they do today.

So what does this mean? Like we said on our most recent podcast, in order to meet the expectations of your audience, you will require a powerful marketing automation platform (and strategy!) to cut through the increased inbox noise and be memorable to your audience. While many understand the capabilities of email marketing, often the more subtle features of marketing automation are overlooked. Here’s a quick refresher of the lesser talked about, but very crucial marketing automation capabilities you want as part of your marketing program:

  • Audience segmentation capabilities
  • Multi-email, multi-logic email nurture campaigns that dynamically adjust to audience engagement
  • Advanced sending and personalization capabilities to best meet 1:1 email recipient preferences/needs
  • Automation of tasks and processes
  • List maintenance & data hygiene efforts
  • Prospect and customer scoring + routing/assignment (note: some logic can’t be handled by CRMs)
  • Website and social media tracking and content distribution

In short, email isn’t going away. As I’ve described it’s still very much alive and growing. However, certain things about email and email marketing will continue to evolve. Concepts like machine learning and artificial intelligence will continue to be infused in email marketing capabilities and the channels marketing automation can cover will expand into and blur the lines between email, mobile, text/SMS, social, web, and more. More than anything else, I see marketing automation becoming a business logic tool to power comprehensive and complex communications to audiences with various degrees of engagement. When used right, this is an extremely powerful tool – one that will grow in importance as marketing programs and audience needs evolve.

If your organization requires a long term plan and roadmap for the role email/marketing automation will play in achieving your growth objectives, please don’t hesitate to contact us.