By Tom Wozniak, Head of Marketing – published on Forbes.com on 7/3/20
Once upon a time, digital marketing was considered to be a young person’s industry. Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it certainly seemed to be filled with a lot of people in their 20s and early 30s looking to break away from “traditional” marketing and carve out a new path in the emerging internet arena. I was one of those folks.
Back then, every digital marketing channel felt like a new frontier. Email, which has been around since the 1970s, helped form the foundation for internet marketing. I believe this was because it already had a bit of a track record and was also more relatable for people with an offline background due to its similarity to direct mail — just “electronic.”
As marketers continued to test the boundaries of digital marketing in new channels like display, search and early lead generation programs, email continued to play a dominant role in their marketing programs. In both customer acquisition and retention, email consistently delivered results and a healthy return on investment (ROI).
Throughout those formative years of digital marketing, with explosive growth in both marketing opportunities and revenue generated, I remember many online marketers who predicted a day when internet marketing would eclipse traditional channels. Fast forward to 2020, and plenty of the predictions of those early digital pioneers have come true. For many companies, marketing is now a digital-first endeavor.
However, one prediction that many industry pundits have made for years, yet hasn’t come about, is the decline — or even end — of email marketing. While we all love exploring new marketing channels, marketing pros know that one factor rules the day when it comes to the channels and tactics we will continue to leverage: performance. As someone who has been involved with email marketing since the late 1990s and now heads up marketing for an email compliance company, I can say confidently that, despite its advanced age, email keeps performing.
In regard to email, which is in its 40s, there are a few key stats we can point to that demonstrate just how strong and healthy it continues to be in 2020.