Email vs. Social? It’s not an either/or choice.

Email is dead. Long live email.

It’s been a common refrain since marketers first jumped on the social media bandwagon.  But does all the hype around social media really spell the end for email as a marketing channel?  We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, “Of course not.”  

And this week, two separate reports seem to confirm that email is indeed alive and well in this age of social media.  

First, Brendan Regan reports on the FutureNow blog on a MarketingSherpa survey that finds buyers still want the basics when it comes to email marketing.  He writes, “[I]f you are executing well on “the basics,” you’re in a much safer place and can confidently experiment with all the new “bells and whistles” that you could put in your marketing emails (e.g. video, social networking, fancy graphics, etc.).”

According to Regan’s assessment of the report, email respondents also de-prioritized features like:

  • more interactivity
  • more graphics
  • advanced customization
  • less content
  • advanced delivery timing,
  • and social networking links.

Perhaps these email recipients didn’t get the social media memo?  Or, perhaps it’s marketers that are misreading consumer cues? Because according to another report by econsultancy, many marketers are looking for ways to enhance their email campaigns using various kinds of social media.  MarketingVox reports, “The report found that more than a third of companies (37%) are using email to encourage the sharing of content on social networks, and just under a third of companies (31%) say they are planning to do this. A fifth of companies (21%) are using email to promote customer ratings and reviews, while a further 26% have plans to do this.  The research also found that 28% of companies are using video content in their emails, as marketers increasingly use email to build customer engagement.”

One thing is clear.  Email is still very much alive and relevant as a marketing channel.  But there are two forces that seem to be butting heads.

On the one hand you have consumers saying they’re not interested in social media tie-ins to the email campaigns they receive and on the other you have marketers rushing to combine social media with email.  

Why the disconnect?  Are email and social media a match made in heaven (like peanut butter and chocolate) or an unholy union (like bacon and vodka…yeah, it’s real)?

What do you think?  Vote here.