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Does email matter anymore?

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I just got a note about how email marketing is essential for financial services firms. Really? Email is dead.

Email began in the 1980s, and spread rapidly. I learned very early on about the dangers and opportunities of emailing. Specifically, my then boss told me to cancel a programme that the US bosses had endorsed. I did so, and sent an email. Six months later, I met the US boss, whose programme I had cancelled. Being hugely respectful, I said hello to the CxO and he said: “so you’re that Skinner” … it was loaded with suspense. “Yes, I’m Skinner”, I said. “And you’re the one who cancelled my programme”, he said. The friction and tenseness grew. “Yes”, I said. He looked at me with a serious frown and the room froze. “Well, just so you know, I’m watching you”, he said.

It was at this point that I realised an email can make or break you. You have recorded your opinions, in writing and immortalised for all time.

Decades later, we have that immortalisation in every form online. From email to social media to video, we are exposing ourselves every day to the world, but is email still relevant?

My email is filled every day with spam, phishing, useless marketing and irrelevant chat. Rather than email, I use X, Meta, LinkedIn and Discord for communication. And this is the point: communication.

Humans rely on communication and connection, and that is why the smartphone networked revolution of the past years is so revolutionary, in that we can all now connect and communicate.

The thing with today’s communication and connectivity is that we call it social media and yet a lot of it is antisocial media. We can see this in so many cases – the most recent in the UK is the death of Brianna Ghey, who was stabbed to death by someone she thought was her friend – but there are many other cases.

It is why, this month, a master complaint was filed combining lawsuits from more than 400 plaintiffs across the US against social media firms for their “role in creating a youth mental health crisis through their addictive services”.

It is why, this month, America called in these social media bosses and asked them to explain themselves. This is because, a bit like AI, we haven’t worked it out yet. This was evidenced by the appearance of  Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Meta; Linda Yaccarino, Chief Executive Officer, X Corp; Evan Spiegel, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Snap Inc; Shou Chew, Chief Executive Officer, TikTok Inc; and Jason Citron, Chief Executive Officer, Discord Inc; was so significant last week.

Lawmakers wanted to know what they are doing to protect children online. The answer seemed to be nothing.

Meantime, I’ve distracted myself. This blog was about email. Does email matter anymore? I don’t think so. Therefore, when marketing financial services, I would forget email. Focus on virality in TikTok; sharing on YouTube; getting a message out on X; and knowing that everyone is talking about you … but not on email.

 

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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