Print industry predictions part 1: the death of e-mail
This is a series of predictions on how the printing industry might look in 10 years time…
Isn’t life without e-mail unthinkable?
It’s the primary way that so many of us communicate. These days we rarely speak on the phone: we e-mail instead. E-commerce is built on sending us the right e-mail updates. Marketing often depends on e-mail newsletters. Bills, company updates, spam? All sent by e-mail.
The trouble is that many of us are sick of it. I delete around 50% of my e-mail without reading it. And I am receiving significantly less e-mail from those I care about than I used to. At the same time, I feel just as in touch with them.
Am I predicting the death of e-communication?
Absolutely not! It is here to stay as you will see in some of my following predictions (particularly prediction 6). However, the way we communicate will change.
There’s already a backlash against e-mail. People feel that they can’t manage their inboxes. E-mail is easily guessed or hacked. The privacy and data protection laws aren’t really working for anyone.
We used to joke about traditional letters being snail-mail. But e-mail often feels just as slow these days.
So what’s the alternative?
I see communication evolving in three ways. The first is instant messaging. Lots of suppliers are already sharing their WhatsApp and Signal details as a primary means of communication. And savvy marketeers are starting to send out their information using tools such as Telegram groups.
However, instant messaging doesn’t leave much of an audit trail. Many companies are already setting up internal messaging networks using tools such as Teams, Monday, Slack and similar. Suppliers will be invited to join and communicate via these methods.
Finally, messaging will become more automated. We won’t need to send as many e-mails because information is generated automatically. Notifications and updates can be integrated with internal messaging networks. Suddenly everyone can see the information that they want, when they want, with no human intervention and not one single e-mail.
How does this work in real life right now?
I buy a lot of goods and services online. Nearly everyone sends me e-mail acknowledgements and despatch and delivery updates. With companies such as Amazon I delete all these e-mails unread. It is much easier for me to work inside their app and find all the updates I want there. The important notifications ping straight to my phone. Having an e-mail is un-necessary communication clutter.
Some of the smaller businesses I use have already adopted e-mail free systems. All the communication is via phone notifications.
There’s one other big issue for many printing companies here
If you are providing multi-channel marketing, you are going to have to review what you are doing. Your clients won’t be interested in e-mail solutions. They will want solutions that rely on phone notifications and integrate with other messaging networks. You may need to adapt your technology and your sales messages.
If you offer data, there will be a whole range of issues around data laws as well. Life without e-mail doesn’t have to be unthinkable. It looks likely to become reality over the coming years.
If you rely on e-mail, it is time to mix up your channels
Members of The Successful Print Sales Circle have an assignment and guidance on this in month 6 of their membership. Enrolment opens in October.
Whatever channels you use, social media will still be a vital tool. Download my free guide How To Use Social Media To Create Warm Prospects