Email SWOT

Ever heard of SWOT? It’s an exercise that examines strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. You can use it for just about anything: yourself, your life, your job… hey! Even email marketing.

That said, I thought I’d give SWOT a whirl. Perhaps this will spark some fun and debate. OK, let’s get down to it.


  • Email is an opportunity to personalize messages and offer relevant content to the recipient.

  • It has referral, or viral marketing, capabilities, which can augment your database dramatically.
  • Rich media can be a powerhouse for your campaigns.
  • Email lets you test quickly and inexpensively.
  • It is highly trackable.
  • Bounces can be quickly identified and the problem corrected. Resending email is inexpensive and painless.
  • Email provides quick lead generation.
  • Email incurs no production, paper, or postage costs.
  • It drives sales.
  • It offers customers a dialogue.
  • Email allows you to manage undeliverable messages in a cost- and time-efficient manner.
  • It can be a great complement to just about any marketing mix.
  • It can become an integral part of the relationships you have with customers and prospects.
  • Email can be an adjunct to any other medium to reinforce message, product announcement and seminar dates, or trade show information — to name but a few.
  • It can deliver valuable information in a timely manner.


  • Is email too trackable? Are we shooting ourselves in the foot by continually touting its accountability? Something to ponder.

  • A small email push can be quite costly on a per-thousand basis.
  • Consumers are saturated with email. The volume of unsolicited commercial email (UCE) and permission-based email is growing daily.
  • Mind-numbing details and processes are often required to get a campaign out the door (not for the faint of heart!). See our campaign to-do list if you’re skeptical.
  • It’s difficult to measure media weight against your target audience.


  • Innovation and growth make this an exciting time to be an email marketer.

  • With vision, an email marketer could pioneer new ideas.
  • Online branding will spill into email.
  • Email offers exponential list growth capability through referral, or viral, marketing.


  • Servers are clogged with email. Costs could increase.

  • ISPs are trying to manage the load, but sheer volume could result in charges for push fees.
  • Legitimate marketers could face fines and penalties for spamming.
  • If spam’s growth isn’t curtailed, email may no longer be a valuable means of communication.
  • According to Jupiter Research, almost 70 percent of online consumers worry their privacy is at risk online. This concern could result in a reticence to share information.
  • Lack of expertise in regard to the people running email campaigns could jeopardize a brand’s image.
  • Email’s perception as a viable medium could be trivialized due to the volume of spam, porn, and homespun creative.
  • Technical issues increase as campaigns become more sophisticated.
  • Acquisitions lists are getting increasingly lower CPMs
  • Email messages are being blocked by ISPs.
  • Email campaign effectiveness is diluted due to the sheer volume of email in inboxes.

That about wraps it up for me. Please note this list is by no means exhaustive, more like a work in progress.

I look forward to your feedback. I’m certain there are many more items to be covered. Drop me an email. I’d love to hear from you. The more input, the merrier!

Take care,


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Author and e-business expert Alexis Gutzman undertook the complex process of starting and publishing an email newsletter and details her experience in this briefing. “Publishing Your Own Newsletter” originated as a multipart series on This briefing is a compilation of Gutzman’s essential writings about the email newsletter publishing process. Along with tips, tricks, and advice on what works best and what pitfalls to watch for, this ClickZ Guide includes product evaluations, code for capturing user information, and sound advice on user privacy concerns before implementing some of the tools discussed.

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