I’ve Got 99 Reasons…

Email marketing can sometimes live in its staid corner of the digital universe. Jay Jhun of BrightWave has a great knack for taking email out of this zone and displaying his passion while also helping email marketers be more remarkable, so I asked Jay to share with me some of his thoughts.

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Unlike the well-known hip-hop hit that talks about problems, I believe that marketers should understand there are at least 99 reasons why email marketing has a bright and bold future (and social media ain’t one!).

As I embarked on my professional journey with a focus on email marketing, much of what I felt was missing was a swagger among email marketers. The complexity, the measurability, the artistry, the technology, the permission-based nature – all make email marketing a powerful channel. I had a boss at my last digital agency accuse me of thinking that email was the center of the digital marketing universe. Without flinching, I asked, “Isn’t it??”

Some of us probably face a deep existential question whenever we go home when our family members ask, “So what is it that you do again?” It’s not like we’re the only esoteric professional craft in existence, but for being a channel that drives so much business for so many brands, we’re overdue for a reality check on being able to clearly articulate what we do, what we love about it, and why our friends and family should sit up and pay attention.

On August 20, the 2014 Litmus Email Design Conference will be wrapping up with a closing session titled “99 Reasons Why Email Rocks” and I’ll have the unique privilege and opportunity to rally 400 of the world’s brightest digital marketing professionals around all that is great about email marketing.

Did you catch that?

The truth about email marketing practitioners is that we are, first and foremost, digital marketers. In fact, I’d venture to say that we are digital marketers who often or eventually choose to focus on email.

I have yet to meet an email marketer who didn’t have a clear grasp of other digital marketing areas like websites, search, display, mobile, or social media. I don’t know that the same can be said in the reverse. And frankly, that’s a huge problem that needs to be addressed and an even larger opportunity that is now front-and-center with the onset of marketing cloud warfare.

Consider that the arms race in the marketing cloud only reached a fever pitch when email marketing software companies like Eloqua, Responsys, Silverpop, Neolane, and ExactTarget were being acquired over the last two years to the tune of almost $6 billion. While all that SaaS goodness was categorized as cross-channel, multi-channel, or marketing automation platforms, the truth of the matter is that they all have email marketers as their power users and they are at the core of all the measurable return on investment (ROI) for outbound campaigns. Not SMS, not social. Every brand-new responsive website is nothing but a field of dreams that nobody will visit without email and search. Any e-commerce business would attest (albeit anonymously) that email marketing drives a significant portion of their revenues.

Here are just a few additional reasons why I am certain email will be rocking and rolling well into the future:

  • People use email more than they use Facebook on their smartphones
  • Email has the power to monetize every mobile app
  • Everyone loves their inbox on their birthdays
  • Email is one of just a few real-time media that consumers will tolerate