There’s Nothing Sexy About Email

I get pitches constantly — that’s the nature of this gig — and a recent one for an email infographic caught my eye. The subject line was cute, claiming email looked sexy for its age. Email is 46 years old … and in my opinion, it’s looking a little rough around the edges.

I get pitches constantly — that’s the nature of this gig — and a recent one for an email infographic caught my eye. The subject line was cute, claiming email looked sexy for its age.

Email is sexyEmail is 46 years old … and in my opinion, it’s looking a little rough around the edges.

Now don’t get me wrong, email is a workhorse. But it’s a workhorse that most of us dread, or are addicted to, or dread our addiction to it. Frankly, almost all of us have a complicated relationship with email.

And our inboxes? Talk about unwanted bloat. How many times have you or a colleague cheered triumphantly when reaching Inbox Zero … just to have a flood of pointless communiqués fly in and muck everything up again?

Sometimes it feels like Email is an overly dressed cougar at the bar, scanning the crowd for some young hottie. But time and time again, Email comes up against Slack, social media, and the countless other mobile messaging apps (those seriously seem to spawn at freakishly high rate).

And well, those other communication forms seem to win out, more than often. Email is what you send to your boss … to your parents. But in the world of Snapchat, Tinder and WhatsApp, well that’s how you’re contacting your BFF or weekend hookup.

Barnie textingWow … that analogy really went there.

Bottom line: Don’t say Email is hip, fun and sexy because you’re trying to say 46 is hip, fun and sexy. We don’t need to be told that (duh, it’s obvious), and honestly, the comparison falls flat because Email just ISN’T.

Ray Tomlinson may have sent the first email in 1971 (followed by Gary Thuerk sending the first mass marketing email in 1978), but I don’t think we’re going to find a replacement anytime soon — especially for work purposes. That said, I wonder where our customers are going to be in five years, and how they’ll want to be contacted. We’re already seeing a shift now with mobile and social … so what’s next?

You tell me marketers! And in the meantime, I’m going to prep for my birthday this week and read a few more hundred emails.

Author: Melissa Ward

Melissa Ward is the managing editor for Target Marketing, and she has opinions! More importantly, she's a nerd for great copy and design, a disciple of authenticity, and really loves it when marketers get it right.

3 thoughts on “There’s Nothing Sexy About Email”

  1. @Melissa Thanks for your article. I think email is generational. I grew up doing business with it, I find it tremendously useful for communications and documentation.

    I work in an office environment that just moved from Slack to MS Teams. Both are littered with giphys and non-work related crap that I find them to be a total waste of time; however, that’s what today’s workforce wants to communicate and “collaborate.”

    Email, like ATMs, will die when I do. Hopefully the users of “collaboration tools” will mature so they, and the tools, provide more value than they seem to be providing now.

    1. Thanks for reading! I agree that email totally has its place, but let’s call a spade a spade and not call email sexy, because it just isn’t. It gets the job done, but it’s not shiney or fun (and really … that’s ok).

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