Confusion about the core strength of email


Morgan Steward wrote some great thoughts in today’s Email Insider e-newsletter. The basic thought is that our peers don’t understand the value of what we do. He gives several reasons why, but one in particular resonated with my own personal experience.

Email lives at the center of a conflict between things that are urgent and things that are important. In a recent interview, I asked an email manager at a Fortune 500 retailer, “How often are you asked to execute something in email that you believe is detrimental to the long-term success of the program?” The answer: “Probably three or four times a week!” As ambassadors for the channel, we need to help our peers understand that email’s strength lies in its ability to deliver highly targeted messages to subscribers and to increase lifetime value — creating the link, creating trust, between buyer and seller. Though email can be delivered quickly and have an immediate impact, that does not mean speed of execution is email’s core strength.

In fact, speed and urgency run counter to email’s core strength. Building lifetime value takes time, planning, and thoughtful consideration. There is nothing urgent or last minute about it. “Lifetime” implies patience and meaningfulness. We need to constantly remind our peers that email only thrives when important messages are prioritized over urgent messages.

Email will only truly shine when marketers start looking at long-term strategic value of customers and how email plays a key role in building engagement. Traditional marketing professionals need to stop looking at email as the “quick & easy” way to communication with consumers.

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