Email – Electronic Landfills Get Bigger

Last Thursday in Internet Retailer was a release from Juniper Networks projecting a significant increase in spending on email marketing for the next 6 years. 

Emailtombstone"Overall spending on marketing e-mail in the U.S. is expected to grow from $1.2 billion last year to $2.1 billion by 2012, with b2c e-mail continuing to represent the largest share of that total."

Jupiter, are you serious?  With Facebook, IM, Twitter, text messaging and lots of alternatives out there, spending substantial money on email campaigns seems foolish and throwing good money after bad.  I know many young folks who check email once a week at most.  I personally have a separate email account I use whenever a website requires me to put in an address, which I check maybe once every two weeks just to empty the inbox.  While email may never go away, I think it’s going the way of voicemail.  Anyone used to have Octel?  You could send messages to another person on the network easily…my old company used to live by it, even sending out broadcast community octel updates.  IM was the death of octel – suddenly you could get a hold of anyone easily and effectively, and in a manner of months I went from 8-10 octels a day to 1-2 a month.  Email may not suffer the same fate, but is there any doubt it’s becoming less effective or relevant?

When you read on in the article it says that many sites will fail to reduce or refine their lists, leading to higher spending.  More "marketing clutter" is coming your way, and even subscribed emails will be competing for your eyes with spam, bac’n and promotions that aren’t relevant to you.  Companies are better off spending that money on refining their lists, segmenting customers and developing a strategy and targeted campaign to get the right emails to the right people.  Otherwise the following 3 things will come true: companies are going to flush a lot of cash down the toilet, more companies enter the email marketing blitz, and overall ROI decreases over time.  What do you think?