Is Email Marketing Dead? Lets Explore

Person checking email Sprint Digital

Many have pondered the relevancy and effectiveness of email marketing for some time now. Has the death of email marketing finally occurred? Should this be an obituary for our beloved email marketing instead of a blog post?

Or perhaps we should take a closer look at the data and in particular what has occurred over the last 48 months before we say “RIP email”. We need to consider the possibility that in 2021 email marketing remains a prominent component in the marketing mix. So the question is asked, is email marketing still a valid and worthwhile marketing channel in 2021 or is it dead?


Email marketing is still very much alive and well. In fact, according to Statista, the volume of emails sent and received has increased year on year and is expected to reach 347.3 billion in 2024! It’s true that the death of email has been predicted for more than a decade now. Some argue it’s inflexible and prehistoric but email has remained the backbone of business for years now and 2020/2021 looks to be no different.


Over the last 18 months, dramatic changes have occurred in the world of communications and workspaces due to Covid 19. Pretty much overnight we moved to an online world. Remote working became the new normal, with Bloomsburg calling it the ‘largest work-from-home experiment in history, and this seems to be a change that looks as if it’s here to stay – hello hybrid-working!

Some industries thrived during this period while others did not, emails, however, increased across the board and continued to play a huge role in communication for business. Indeed channels like Microsoft Teams and Slack may have replaced informal break room chats with colleagues but in this new hybrid world, email was the steadfast star of the show and was heavily relied on for communication, both in B2b and B2c scenarios.

During the pandemic, Hubspot reported a 44% increase in emails being sent and received, as well as huge growth in email engagement. Many reported that it became harder to reach people via phone during the switch to remote working. Email was deemed the more flexible communication medium – less demanding and instantaneous compared to talking in real-time. Ask yourself, have you seen an increase in your emails over the last 12 months? I know I have!

During 2020 – 2021, across the board, we saw more money being poured into digital budgets. Email marketing solidified its place as a go-to channel for B2C communications. ROI for email campaigns remains strong at $42 / €35 for every $/€ spent. Email also has the benefit of speed, being well understood and of low cost, and is relevantly trustworthy. Plus most people already have an email address. Furthermore, it seems customers continue to prefer communicating and connecting with a brand via email in 2021, with email newsletter sign-ups also on the rise.


But of course, with this increase, marketers had to fight even more so for attention in the digital space. They have to go above and beyond to make that lasting impression. Segmentation and message personalisation can go a long way in the fight to stand out in the crowded inbox. And let’s not forget about A/B tests, an effective way to find out what messaging, content, subject line, etc. Works best for your audience.


Another reason email marketing remains relevant is that it presents opportunities for smart data-savvy marketers to derive plenty of insights from previous email marketing campaigns. Click through rates, open rates, and conversion rates can give marketers a key understanding as to what their target customers respond to and what resonates with them. Analyse components of your email marketing such as subject lines and clicked content and put these campaign learning to use in combination with other marketing channels running simultaneously.


So there you have it, email marketing is not dead and one could argue it is very much thriving in 2021. A segmented, targeting, and optimised email marketing strategy should be a key component in the marketing mix for any business looking to reach customers online and drive traffic and revenue through their websites.

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