Digital Marketing

We Don’t Talk About Email (No, No, No)

I don’t know where I’d be without my dad jokes. They remind me so effectively of exactly who I am. Just ask my five kids … (Cue cymbal crash/rimshot.) But seriously, folks, email marketing is no laughing matter. It consistently outperforms just about every digital channel and yet it’s a bit like Bruno in Disney’s Encanto.

For those unfamiliar, Encanto follows the story of the magical Madrigal family in the mountains of Colombia. Each family member has a special gift or power save the protagonist, Mirabel. Uncle Bruno’s powers of predicting misfortunate left him ostracized as detailed in the film’s hit song, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” (another artfully crafted earworm from Lin-Manuel Miranda).

The family doesn’t talk about Bruno because they don’t like what he reminds them of. As marketers, we don’t talk about email for a variety of reasons. First, we’re obsessed with what’s new. Email isn’t nearly as sexy as TikTok or even podcasting. Second, there’s a bit of a “file drawer problem” with email. Coined by psychologist Robert Rosenthal, this idea suggests that we tend to file away things that don’t reinforce our hypothesis. In this case, it’s our belief that, because email is old, it shouldn’t be anywhere as effective as emerging digital channels.

The problem with all of this? It’s simply not true. Instead of treating email like the Bruno of our digital marketing family, we need to talk about it. Here’s why …

Email’s Still Got It

As it turns out, there’s a lot of compelling data we’re ignoring in that file drawer. That’s because email marketing is extremely measurable and it’s easy to access analytics and discern value and business impact—especially when compared to that trendy upstart social media. Rather than fading into the background, email’s performance gets stronger with each passing year.

Let’s take a quick look at the state of email marketing:

As you can see, email remains an effective tool, providing targeted, data-driven marketing while also building loyalty, trust, and revenue through consistent, branded communication.

Well, What Are You Going to Do About It?

SPOILER ALERT: At the end of Encanto, the Madrigal family embraces Bruno. In short, they talk to and about Bruno more than ever before. We need to do the same thing with email—we have to embrace it and start talking about it more.

Here are some best practices to give you something to talk about:

Don’t let email be the Bruno of your marketing family. Talk about it more than you are today. Because talking about something is the first step in making it better. And, as evidenced here, email already packs a punch. When you treat it like the powerful channel that it is, you’ll be on your way to making marketing magic.