Resources Hub » Knowledge base » When Did Email Marketing Start?

Email marketing has become so ingrained that it’s seen as a part of everyday life. Each day, people open their inboxes and see an incredible of promotional emails. The art of email marketing is, of course, to guide those customers into opening and engaging with those emails, rather than ignoring them.

If you find yourself asking how it all started, you might be surprised to know that email marketing began in earnest roughly 40 years ago in 1978.

Following the inception of the internet with the first email ever sent written in 1971, Gary Thuerk, a marketing executive at Digital Equipment Corporation, was the first to take email to the next level by sending a blast of 400 emails targeting Arpanet devices. The results of the email blast were impressive, even by today’s standards, as it yielded a cool  $13 million in sales, a figure any marketing manager would be proud of.

Email marketing has generated an impressive 20% of income for businesses.

To stand out in the inbox, you’ll have to work on managing perceptions. Marketers succeed when customers embrace emails as pieces of information. The goal of your email marketing should be to design content that’ll leave customers feeling informed, rather than preyed upon with unsolicited, blatant, and overt promotions.

You can achieve this by talking about things customers want to know about. For example, for those interested in wine, Somm Select announces the season for wine pairing, giving insight and educational info.

For example, announcing the season for different wines in newsletters going to people who share those interests, as demonstrated below, is an excellent use of email marketing.


How email marketing’s beginnings shape its future

Since the beginnings of email marketing in 1978, the use of this tactic has nothing but skyrocketed over the years. However, by 1998, consumer frustration with spam mail had also skyrocketed, leading email providers to respond by creating junk folders.

In more recent years, marketers have had to navigate regulations like the GDPR, the rules governing marketing efforts in the European Union. The incredible value of the EU market makes it imperative for organizations to conform.

Despite the stress that the GDPR brought to email marketing teams around the world, in the long run, it acts as an advantage by improving the quality of your audience.

The limits on email marketing imposed by the GDPR—like requiring recipients to agree to receive promotional emails—acts as a filter that works in your favor. By targeting the respondents who actually subscribe, your emailing list will become much more effective.

Does it really matter?

Email marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. You should be staying abreast of the ins and outs of email marketing, as the trends continue changing to remain competitive in today’s digital market.

What now?

It’s more important than ever for you to keep up with the best practices in email marketing. There are tons of great resources out there that you can use to create a solid foundation to your email strategy.

Discover features that empower you to get more out of email marketing with Campaign Monitor.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.

Get started with Campaign Monitor by Marigold today.

With our powerful yet easy-to-use tools, it's never been easier to make an impact with email marketing.

Try it for free