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Evolution of Email Marketing: From Spamming to Promoting

Evolution of Email Marketing: From Spamming to Promoting

Today’s era is the digital era. With the coming of digital age everything has been transformed. Businesses are taking the advantage of the new technology and the new age marketers are digitally active. There are many new tools available for marketers which simplify their work and aid them in achieving the goals. One such tool is Email marketing that makes use of email for fulfilling marketing objectives. It is the process of establishing conversation, building relationships and converting engaged readers into prospects.The evolution of email marketing has been continuous and progressive over the years.

The birth and popularization of internet opened many new arenas for the world. With the discovery of email by Raymond  Tomlinson in 1971 , the conventional method of communication was evolved. But email was brought into common use in 1990’s with the introduction of Hotmail. Now anyone and everyone could exchange messages over the internet. Email marketing also gained pace with the widespread use of emails for communication.

The early days of email marketing

email stats

Prior to the introduction of email, marketing communication was established with customers via telephones or by sending letters to their mailboxes. It was hectic task-printing and sending letters consumed both time and money. Also there was a very little room for personalization. Email changed the way of communication. Now the marketers could connect with the masses by spending very less amount of money. Soon every marketer was out sending emails to people without bothering to think whether it is relevant to them or not.

Interruption based marketing via email

Due to the fierce competition, every business was trying to attract the attention of the people. Since email had become popular by then, it was used to draw people to them. The conventional view of the marketers was that they needed to pause the people so as to catch their attention. Strategies were formulated and they sent out mails regardless of the fact that whether people wanted it or not.


Spam is any content which is of zero relevance to the receiver. In all the hustle to grab attention, email marketers sent out mail to every inbox. They put no effort in understanding the needs of the end user. Consequently laws were formed and it became necessary for the senders to include opt-outs for the convenience of the receivers. Spamming damaged the reputation of the companies among the people and soon interruption based marketing tactics failed to draw people.

Advancement with time

The harmful effects of spamming on businesses developed the modern views regarding the methods attracting prospects. Marketers learnt that now they had to do something different. Just sending out bulk mails was not going to help. They became aware that email marketing was far from bulk mailing, cold calling or spamming. All these three methods were classic techniques which involved interruption based marketing. A new aspect came into the limelight- permission based marketing.

Permission based marketing


Marketers got an idea that interrupting people was of no use if they were not of any relevance to the people. They actually started taking trouble to inquire about the interests of the users. People now receive mails only if they allow the marketer to do so by ‘opting-in’. By ‘opting-in’ the receiver agrees to the sender to send him mails. It gives the user the benefits of subscribing to receive from the areas of his interest. Marketers also now know whom they are connecting with and that they are not bothering uninterested parties. Now, they are not worried about the danger to their reputation.


With permission based marketing, emails have become powerful tools of promotion. Once a person has shown interest in the company, marketers can engage with them and have conversation and gain leads. Effective promotion is accomplished by the use of email marketing. In this way, the marketer does not unnecessary ping the user if he knows that he is of no relevance to the user. Much of the information can be dissipated to the interested user. Gmail, the most popular email service today has a dedicated space for promotional emails providing ease of access to the user.

Brand engagement via emails

Email marketing can also be used for the purpose of engaging with customers and prospects. A two way communication is essential for the success of any brand. Brands can inform and make people aware through emails and people in turn can give their opinion by replying. Suggestions and feedbacks play a vital role in improvement of services.

Email marketing has developed into a very powerful marketing tool because of its ease of access and nominal expenses. Many experts are of the opinion that its value is diminishing day by day due to certain factors. But email marketing, if used in correct manner, can provide  many advantages to the business leading to its success. Emailing marketing is in and will stay as for now.

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I am a management graduate interested in marketing in all its forms. My hobbies include creative writing, reading and travelling.

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