Forget tik tok, marketers need to find the next email

As Facebook and Apple battle it out once again over user privacy settings on their platforms, the digital marketing landscape is shifting under our feet (yes, again). I won’t pretend to know how all of this plays out, but the likelihood that the most effective marketing channels looks different in 5 years feels close to 100%.

So as we look at the new social networks (TikTok) and newly-mainstream content channels (like podcasts), I’m left with one big question – which of these new channels is going to be the next best method for communicating with your audience?

For the past 10 years it seems like once or twice a month I talk to a client who is surprised that email marketing is still effective. Me too. After getting Gap emails 2-3 times per day for the majority of my adult life, it’s a wonder that I ever read anything I get via email. But as many smart marketers have pointed out over the past several years, email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to reach an audience.

But it won’t always be that way, right? Eventually the platform will grow stale or some upstart method will overtake it. So here’s what I think marketers should be looking for as we sort through a dizzying landscape of communication.

What Makes Email Marketing so Unique (and amazing)

  1. Low barrier to entry – One of the great things about email marketing is how simple it is to get started. You don’t need to know a lot about design (or even strategy) to create a campaign and start talking with your audience. Certainly great creative and strategy win out, but just about anyone with a laptop can build a campaign.
  2. Affordable – Because email is a direct communication channel the only costs are for the technology which help facilitate it. When you compare how much it costs to send a marketing email to a list vs. get a Facebook post in front of your audience (because you’ll obviously have to pay for effective reach), it’s not even close.
  3. Consensual Opt-In – This is one of my absolute favorite things about email marketing. We opt-in to email marketing campaigns as opposed to being served up ads based on our interests. I’m not against ads at all, but from a personal standpoint I know to expect email marketing when I join a list, but have no idea which ads are going to fill Instagram each week.
    Effective – Like I said before, email marketing just straight up works. It’s highly effective at reaching people and turning prospects into leads and leads into customers.
  4. Mass adoption – Whether we like it or not, for most of us email is a part of our daily working lives and therefore fully entrenched in our work and routines. Sure, we may all have embarrassing throw away accounts from middle school that we use for fantasy football sign ups (wait, just me?), but there’s no doubt email has been adopted by the masses for an eternity in digital marketing years.


Looking at the current landscape, there are soooo many ways for digital marketers to reach their audiences but none check all the boxes above the way that email does (unless you know of one that does and in that case, reach out!).

I think the only platform that we know about today that may get there at some point is SMS (text message) marketing, but that’s going to necessitate that we all get a lot more comfortable with brands texting us which could absolutely happen.

Alright marketers, what did I miss?

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