It’s been dying for close to a decade now. But yet it still lives.

Like cockroaches, Twinkies, and Cher, email marketing just can’t be stopped and will probably persist forever. And with good reason.

Incredibly, email marketing still has an ROI that consistently ranks very, very high when compared to other marketing tactics. Already in 2014 it’s reported that total sales from email are at 23% for most companies, an increase from 18% just last year.

While digital channels keep sprouting like weeds, email has remained in the background as a reliable touch point for marketers, always there to help them engage further with customers.

And, as always, it’s evolving along with the every evolving digital technology. Below are a few of those advances.

One of the biggest is that, due to increased ability to curate and filter information, email is going to become fully personalized to an individual’s preference. Email marketers have long recognized that “batch and blast” email campaigns aren’t nearly as effective as they used to be. Personalizing them using “big data” is coming soon and, according to the Email Marketing Industry Census from Econsultancy last month, nearly all email communications will be fully personalized within the next five years.

Another advancement looming is the use of email addresses as identifiers to engage with customers. They’re already being used on Facebook and Twitter in the form of Custom Audiences or Tailored Audiences, respectively, and allow marketers to use their email lists to send targeted ads to users their organization already has a relationship with.

What this does is circumvent demographic ad buying and allow marketers to send specifically targeted ads to users in any way they wish, from something as specific as buyers who made a purchase in the last 24 hours to everyone on their newsletter and anything in between.

Since the average consumer is already using their email address when they sign-up for practically anything online, this opens up the opportunity to integrate marketing campaigns across multiple networks. It also brings us to our next new email innovation, email being completely integrated with other marketing channels.

Put simply, the value of email will become increasingly linked to its performance with other marketing channels. While right now there isn’t a single technology platform that can handle complete email integration, marketers are sure that within the next five years it’s going to become a reality.

Finally, although it’s been used for number of years, most companies fail to maximize the ability to completely automate email campaigns. As the other changes above become increasingly popular however, and email marketers struggle with increasing time constraints, automated campaigns will become the rule rather than the exception.

Still think email is dead?