Published on Forbes.com on 12/12/2018
It’s funny to think of any form of digital marketing as “old school,” but in 2018, email marketing fits that bill. We’re at a point where email marketing is older than many of its current practitioners.
For those that aren’t digital marketing history buffs, email marketing is celebrating its 40th birthday this year, tracing its origin back to 1978 when the very first mass email campaign was sent to about 400 recipients, promoting Digital Equipment Corp. That campaign certainly set a high bar for return on investment (ROI), since it is reported to have produced around $13 million in sales. That’s not a bad ROI from just 400 emails sent ($32,500 per recipient).
Since 1978, a lot has changed in the email marketing arena and with the overall adoption of email itself. The arrival of the early internet in 1983 and its evolution over the years provided a platform for email usage to explode. But, with the constant development of new channels and platforms for advertisers to reach their audiences (digital display, video, mobile, social, etc.), email has remained a popular and effective marketing medium.
In fact, by the end of 2018, there are predicted to be more than 3.8 billion email users worldwide (paywall), and that number is expected to continue growing over the next few years. Additionally, on average in 2018, more than 281 billion emails are sent each day (paywall).
With these kinds of numbers, it’s no wonder companies continue to count on email to reach their current and prospective customers. There’s a traditional philosophy in advertising that the best place to advertise is where you find large numbers of your audience. Email continues to be a channel where marketers can reach potentially huge audience numbers. The channel has also matured in ways beneficial for both marketers and email recipients…
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