This past year, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about “mobile-first.” As we shared back in February, it’s time we stop thinking of “mobile” as mobile. That’s to say, a “smartphone” is so much more than just a “smart” “phone,” and it is certainly used as much more than a “mobile” device. We are far beyond the first iPhone era. So, why are so many email marketers still treating the iPhone as the “secondary” experience? It’s time we acknowledge that many emails will only be opened on a mobile device.

Not only do smartphones function as many people’s primary computing device; their phones, along with their data plans, are the only way they get online. How does your perspective of reaching people change when you force yourself to believe that your customer will only see your email on their phone, and that anything you ask them to do based on that email (shop, watch a video, complete a survey) will be done on their mobile device?

Adopt This Attitude. Win In 2017.
I believe that marketers who adopt this attitude about email marketing can win big in 2017. IBM Marketing Cloud’s new 2016 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study shows us that 56% of emails worldwide (and 49% of emails here in the U.S.) occur on mobile devices:


I also recently read a blog post from NeverBounce that sparked some of these thoughts on mobile and email marketing. In the post, they share the following chart from’s 2016 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, which reveals that 27 to 71% of email opens occur on a mobile device…


All industries have increased since the year before, with the exception of Sports/Leisure and Sales/Marketing/Design. Now, why would Sales/Marketing/Design decrease? The writers at NeverBounce touch on this issue. It’s called content saturation, a subject I discuss in depth in my new book Finally Human.

Content Saturation Increases, Open Rate Decreases
The idea behind content saturation is similar to an idea you’re already familiar with: supply-and-demand. Supply-and-demand is a key factor in determining a product’s value. If there is a surplus of supply and very little demand, the price will be cheap. Likewise, if there is a surplus of “branded email content” and demand is remaining steady, then the “product” (your company’s emails) will be perceived as having a lower value.

One other reason why branded emails are perceived as having less value today than they might have years ago – back when email was fresh and exciting – is that our daily life has become saturated with emails. All of us have opened countless emails that brought no value, and these experiences have re-shaped how we see email marketing on the whole. We automatically believe that a branded email is going to be boring, irrelevant, or valueless… spam.

Successful Companies Change This Perception
The successful companies are changing this perception. They’re creating mobile-first emails that deliver on value and excitement. As a result, they’re building trust with their audience. They’re growing their lists. And they’re getting sales that can be directly attributed to email.

In the last couple of months, we’ve already shared with you that we believe email marketing will grow in 2017. We also proposed 37 reasons why email marketing is so important today.