Chapter 7 Step Two: Give Your Email Marketing Strategy a Real-Time Makeover

There’s no beating around the bush here: Email just isn’t the channel it used to be. As we’ve already explored, today’s buyers—millennial buyers in particular—are using email less and less and turning to messaging more and more.

Arguably, the downfall of email as a communication channel began just a few years after it was invented in the early 1970s, when, in 1978, a marketing manager working at a computer company sent out the world’s first spam email. This was back before we had even started calling spam emails “spam.” The unsolicited email, which was blasted out to 400 of the 2,600 people using ARPANET (an early version of the internet), advertised the company’s new line of mainframe computers. It also set the tone for how marketing teams would use email in the years to follow.

Flash forward to 2004, and PCMag.com is publishing an editorial titled “The Death of E-Mail,” in which the columnist writes: “It’s quite possible that spam alone is killing e-mail.” A slew of similarly themed articles will appear in the years to follow, with headlines including “5 Scientific Reasons Why Email Is the Absolute Worst” (Mic, 2014) and “How Email Became the Most Reviled Communication Experience Ever” (Fast Company, 2015).

And while people have been predicting email’s demise for decades, the reality is that it’s still alive and kicking. For proof, just ask yourself this question: Did you check your email today? ...

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