Email marketing was profitable before Graphic User Interface (GUI) came to the Internet.  The first email spam was sent in 1978.  Email has grown and lived through a lot since then.  In the early years of the 21st Century it was going to be over-taken by Paid Search, and then RSS and CRM.  And social sites like MySpace and Facebook were going to make email obsolete (this time).

Blogging has been around since the mid or late 1990s and the platform has grown to include delivering RSS feeds to subscribers via email.  Paid Search was the online marketing darling for a few yeas.  As it turned out, Paid Search didn’t end up with the same ROI as email, but it did do a lot to drive email subscriptions with measurable metrics tied to activities, which in turn can be leveraged within targeted messaging. 

CRM is a great sales tool that also leverages email.  You can have effective email without CRM, but you can’t have effective CRM without email.  And which social site was it that added email?

So maybe email isn’t the center of the universe, but it is the 800lb-Gorilla in the online marketing mix.

Email is an online tactic deployed as part of a larger online marketing strategy.  While the email tactic may employ it’s own sub-strategy and tactics, it is itself a tactic and should never be taken as a complete marketing strategy. 

Maybe one of the reasons that email doesn’t get a greater share of online marketing budget could be directly related to its success as an online marketing tactic.  That doesn’t always lend itself well to empire-building through budget acquisition, which in turn often regales email to the role of Pip.

At the 2009 Email Evolution Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, Stan Rapp is quoted as saying, “Email is the tightest link ever forged between buyer and seller. Email is the heartbeat of the Internet.”

But it’s not the center of the universe….  I don’t recall anyone ever saying that it was until it was said that it isn’t, but I digress….

Once again, email is just a tactic in an overall marketing strategy that includes “social media”.  And social media competes for it’s share of the same overall marketing budget that email does.  Email has worked long and hard to prove it’s value as a viable marketing tactic, and it’s taken a lot of abuse along the way from both outside and in.  It has paid it’s dues and has earned it’s place as that 800lb-Gorilla. 

While I think that the headline, Why E-mail Marketing Is Not the Center of the Universe, is a bit misleading, it did generate some Twitter activity.  Does throwing email under the bus of sensationalism for a headline of a story about a broader marketing mix do a disservice to the email industry? 

If one wants to increase their social media budget, they may want to look at different online marketing tactic within the organization that costs more and makes less than email.  Email budgets always seem to be tight enough, and email has repeatedly proved its marketing worth

Just my $0.02….