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The Next Big Thing Is Already Here

February 24, 2010  

"In the technology industry," writes Morgan Stewart in an article at MarketingProfs, "we are constantly focused on the next big thing." And there's often an assumption that whatever comes next will wipe out whatever came before. Do you remember, for instance, when computers were going to make paper obsolete? Or when it was just a matter of time before online shopping killed catalogs and malls?

But there's a catch to predicting this type of "inevitable" outcome: It hardly ever happens.

"We are witnessing the same thing when it comes to the digital marketing trifecta of social media, mobile and email," Stewart continues. "Instead of cannibalizing one another, these three technologies are fueling each other." In other words, social media and mobile messaging aren't about to kill email, they're gonna feed it.

Stewart offers these reasons why email is here to stay:

  • Email has become a viable alternative to texting, thanks to smartphones. "Mobile email is appealing because it untethers [younger groups like college students] from a computer," Stewart says. "Moreover, there is the perception that email is cheaper since it comes 'free' with mobile data plans, while there are additional fees for text messaging."
  • Email remains a favored method of communication. Whether sending statements as part of a paperless billing program or promoting a special offer, businesses like to use email—and so do their customers. "When asked which channel consumers prefer to receive direct marketing communications, the overwhelming majority wants email," he reports.

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