I was recently on a great discussion thread about the future of email--how important is email to the future of interactive marketing? Here was my contribution to that discussion:
The ability to communicate online is evolving at an unprecedented pace. Social networking, mobile, UGC, chat, virtual worlds, etc., all provide incredible new ways for people (and marketers) to reach out and influence each other. These new technologies are darned interesting, and I haven't met a marketing executive who believes they don't matter. To many marketers, and particularly those focused on Gen Y, I can see why TV, direct mail and even email would seem uninteresting by comparison.
In light of these exciting new technologies, it's understandable that some marketers might be tempted to bypass email altogether. But ignoring email would be no different than ignoring Web sites—both are necessary and critical pieces of the Internet world. Anyone who downplays these foundational elements is disconnecting themselves from the very pulse of the online experience.
The real question about email is whether it's the buggy whip or the wheel. Is it an accessory to an approach that is quickly fading away, or is it a foundational piece of a very long evolutionary cycle?
You know my vote.