I’m a big fan of email. I believe it is still one of the two most important online media channels.

Search being the other.

But has the emergence of video and social media and mobile taken a chunk out of the email market place? I think so. But does that mean email is less relevant, or does it just mean that we must integrate our campaigns better and ensure that our email, mobile and social messages match? Therefore email is still important, we just have more options now.

Shouldn’t we be doing this anyway? Matching our messaging so our following, customers, supporters and clients all get the same information regardless of what source or channel they prefer to use?

“Integrated campaigns” was the big buzz word for 2010. There’s integrated campaigns which to many corporates means integrating “online” with “offline” and then there is integrated online campaigns, where all digital channels compliment each other. We (online media and marketing professionals) have all been trying to do it for years and some brands and agencies and professionals do it well, others can’t coordinate internal departments to get it right.

But back to the original question, is email still the cornerstone of every online marketing campaign? I say a resounding YES!

Regardless of research from ComScore that shows webmail is in decline, its down by only 2%. This is time usage, not number of sessions. We don’t need to spend as long on email now that we have micro-blogging, RSS, twitter follows, facebook likes and online newspapers to keep us up to date. That doesn’t make email less relevant, if anything, email can be more relevant and more impactful when it supports all the other information about your brand in a clear message that points you to deeper links with more information.

What we have to remember is that email, as an online marketing tool, is definitely a broadcast channel. Which is strange, as it was designed as a two-way communication method between individuals (to replace the traditional mail) and we (the online community in general) have taken hold of it and used it as an effective one to many communication channel.

Email newsletters were not concepted as a two way channel – although many people do reply to emails regardless. Email and e-newsletters still offers businesses a very cost effective and streamlined method to make announcements, share news, launch campaigns, respond to concerns and keep in touch. Social media does all of these things too, but it is more immediate, its about being relevant and topical at that moment that your customer is engaged online. Email can be opened at your customer’s convenience, it can be read at their leisure, it can be longer and more detailed than 140 characters can allow.

While I acknowledge that email has some significant challengers out there ready to take its place, it is still your best bet for a large scale launch to reach large numbers of customers and mobilise them to action.

And of course, for personal and business day to day communication, I can’t see email being replaced. The only thing that has cut in to keep the volumes of email down in my workplace is the use of instant messaging or skype to send links or ask quick questions.

Email is here to stay.

Do you agree?