In the corner of my office sits a dull dedicated technology device called a “Fax Machine”, its real name is in fact “Facsimile”. It’s presence is tolerated in case we need to communicate when Facebook fails, the SMS feature on my phone implodes or the email goes down. It occasionally does make whirring noises and prints off a page from a marketing company or business that hasn’t heard of email or the internet.
I am sure that if I asked my teenage children what a fax machine was I would get a quizzical look with a raised eyebrow. They were popular in the mid 1980’s and were a “must have” for every office and even came with the amazing ability to print in color. Marketers were quick to use them to bypass snail mail with calls to action and produce leads for sales teams.
Email replaced fax machines as the Internet became ubiquitous. It is still the prime communication tool for companies and Chief Marketing Officers have email marketing right at the top of their list for effective and efficient marketing. According to a Study by the Center For Media Research CMO’s had email marketing at the top of the list in their plans for 2010.
But there is a trend emerging that should give people pause for thought to not sit on their laurels but continue to evolve their messaging habits and marketing tactics as the way we communicate continues to morph .
The Comscore report “The 2010 Digital Year In Review” reveals that email is in decline for every age group category except those over 55 and email usage by12-17 year olds is down by 59%.
Facebook’s chat and instant messaging is quite often used instead. In November the Founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg announced a “Modern New Messaging System” that would address emerging trends in communication announcing “High school kids don’t use email, they use SMS a lot. People want lighter weight things like SMS and IM to message each other.”
A comment I read on a blog recently by a university student reflects the winds of change ” I’ve never sent a proper email in my life, email is too formal”
So when we are looking at how we communicate we really need to think about what our audience’s preferred channel for receiving and sending messages is and consider messaging with Twitter, Facebook or even YouTube. There is now more than one way to get your message out you just need to find the right selection of communication channels for your markets.
Don’t expect email to disappear as my 1980’s generation fax machine device still has a place in my office it’s just that it is not as relevant as it used to be.
Email is not going away any time soon but things “are a changing”
What do you think?… is your communication relevant?
Image by Chris_Carter_