Posted February 28, 2011 9:51 am by with 6 comments

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Remember the old Timex advertising tagline “Timex takes a licking but keeps on ticking!”? It’s one of the iconic advertising slogans that will probably be a part of the American pop culture lexicon for a long time to come.

Well, that same implied toughness about a Timex watch can now be applied to e-mail as a communications device. There are many people who think that it’s time to drive the final nail in this communication tool’s coffin. That nail is supposedly being driven by social media in general.

eMarketer reports that quite the opposite is occurring according to a survey by Merkle. Of course, Merkle provides e-mail marketing management services so you have been warned.

Based on these findings the more active you are in social media the more often you check your e-mail. Seems to make sense to me. I know I check my e-mail to much and I am trying to wean myself back off the habit a bit.

Mobile only adds more opportunity to stay connected.

What is likely to happen is that the usage of e-mail for personal communication will fade. Social networks are replacing that function very well and as younger generations who are less likely to use e-mail get older the trend should continue. The numbers displayed above may look very different in 5 or 10 years.

Where e-mail proponents should feel pretty secure is in the commercial realm. Social media will have a very difficult time uprooting e-mail in the business world mainly because e-mail is easier to track and is part of the new paper and communication trail that business needs to keep itself organized and protect itself as well.

Any over the top proclamations about the death of e-mail as a whole are just people taking advantage of the Internet’s ability to let a shrill voice get some attention for a short period of time. Any thinking person will see that e-mail will likely have it’s place for a long time to come. That place may look different and may even be a little smaller but it will remain important for sure.

Your thoughts?

  • I agree with your conclusions Frank. I think one of the biggest things that email has going for it is that it’s a protocol, NOT a tool. In other words, Facebook could be gone tomorrow (highly unlikely at this point)…not email though. Sure it’s use will diminish, but I think the advent of collaboration tools will do just as much as social media to diminish the role that email plays in communication.

    I have some other thoughts over here:


    • @Matt – Thanks for your input. It’s always good to hear you POV.

  • yaroslav

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  • The effectiveness of either tool is based on the effort put into them.

    Are people just rallying behind social media because it’s cool/new/exiting?

    Whereas, if they put the same amount of effort (per week) into a carefully crafted email marketing – those results would improve?

    • @Jason – Never underestimate how little people actually do. If you let them TELL you what they do then that will be a whole lot different than what they actually do in many case. Fun isn’t it?

  • There’s no doubt that email marketing works. In addition to the traditional email marketing (mass email) one should look at another marketing opportunity and that is the emails we all send from our corporate email addresses every day. I represent a company that has developed a solution for just those emails and thus this post.
    The basic idea behind wrapmail is to utilize the facts that all businesses have websites and employees that send emails every day. These emails can become complete marketing tools and help promote, brand, sell and cross-sell in addition to conducting research. Wrapmail is available for free at