Maureen Wendell, VP, Account Director, Palio

Tech pundits have been predicting the death of email for the last several years, but will social media be its killer?

Technology progression isn’t going to change. Just because something new comes along, it doesn’t mean we should start digging the grave on other technologies. The advent of television threatened the existence of radio, but here we are, decades later, still listening to radio, even if our choices abound with satellite stations.

It’s been an awfully long death march for email, but it isn’t going anywhere – at least not in the near future – and it’s still a viable part of the marketing mix. ComScore notes that while Web-based email is on the decline, mobile email is experiencing an uptick – 43.5 million users turn to their mobile devices on a nearly daily basis for their email communication needs.

In addition to remaining a cost-effective solution to drive lead generation efforts and build long-lasting relationships with clients, email is the original social animal. Email supports one-to-one communication, and while not public, it is also a mass communication tool. Thousands of Listservs still exist and messages are broadcast to groups of subscribers. Email is sharable, whether forwarded to an individual network or posted in whole or part on other digital media.

Email also lets you send attachments such as PowerPoint presentations, particularly important for business users sharing confidential collateral. While some social media platforms enable sharing of attachments via private messages, they’re not the most secure way to transmit information. In some cases users sign away their rights to ownership of any material posted, making it property of the social network.

New social media platforms such as Google+ are indeed social and collaborative, but do they offer more capability than email? Writer Brian Storms doesn’t think so. Recently he posted a side-by-side comparison of social media’s newest darling and email, illustrating similar functionality. Plus, how many people still look for their social notifications through email to learn someone responded to a Facebook post or were added to a Google+ circle?

The reality is one medium isn’t going to replace the other – both have an important place in the marketing agenda. However, knowing how and when to communicate with your target audience so your efforts work in your favor, garner more leads and open more lines of communication between you and your contacts is essential. More so, by combining the two, marketers can further extend their message, target communications to specific groups, encourage users to share and forward email through the social networks and capitalize on the many ways to capture their audiences’ attention.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

© 2011