The Killer App is Dead

We wanted to attempt to split the hype from reality around this media hot topic. What we found was a startling contrast to the everyday “water cooler” chats we hear about our overflowing inboxes.

We started the survey* by asking if e-mail has become a “counterproductive intrusion” in the workplace, 33.3% said yes. The majority, 66.7%, of respondents said no, e-mail was not disruptive to the workplace. And while we did not delineate inbound e-mail vs. outbound e-mail activities, subsequent responses would lead us to believe that e-mail is not intrusive as long as it is being SENT.

When asked if e-mail was the killer app that killed itself, 56.7% of you indicated e-mail was not responsible for terminating its own usefulness. While, 23.3% of you felt e-mail has reached the end of the line as an effective communications medium.

Use of e-mail for out-reach marketing? Send please! 60% of the survey participants rely upon e-mail for outreach marketing to prospects, 30% include e-mail marketing occasionally, while 10% never consider it as an outreach vehicle.

But contrast the rather high % use of e-mail to prospects with this data. When we asked how do you emotionally respond when you receive an unsolicited e-mail with a product or services offer? Only 3.3% responded positively to receiving unsolicited e-mail or SPAM. 36.7% respond angrily to seeing unsolicited e-mails pop into their inboxes, yet the majority of survey participants, 60%, agreed that the reaction to an unannounced e-mail depended on the offer or who sent the message.


Noting that 40% appear to use other means to market their company’s products and communicate with their customers, we then asked what were the most effective marketing tools and strategies for getting around the limitations of e-mail -based marketing?

Although the selections and responses were varied, one tool and one strategy rose above the mix: Face-to-face sales calls accounted for 50% of the alternative strategies to e-mail marketing, while telephone calls to clients/prospects received a 70% response rate as the preferred e-mail alternative outreach tool.

[Please read related survey research article: Is Face-to-Face Selling Dead?]

Aside from the reaffirmation that human contact is still the best form of marketing communication, some lesser selections included: Website marketing, including Google AdWords, 33.3%, tradeshows, direct mail, and general sales support materials (e.g., white papers, case studies) all ranked evenly at 23.3% each.

*Survey database was our 27,000+ B2B subscriber base