by Sonja Carberry | April 14, 2016

IBD LogoA little effort makes the old new again. How firms put a savvy spin on office standbys:

Press send. Social media tools can make email seem antiquated. Not so fast, said SparkPost CEO Phillip Merrick:

“What was the first thing you did this morning? Check your email.”

The inbox still has business significance.

“Twenty-five percent of all Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases were driven by email offers,” Merrick told IBD.

That’s compared with 2% of social medial offers.

“Social gets all the buzz,” he said. “But email is still the workhorse of the digital economy.”

Land it. That doesn’t mean email is foolproof.

“Twenty to 25 percent of legitimate emails — they don’t arrive in the inbox,” Merrick said.

The lost ones get rejected by Internet service providers or languish in spam folders.

Cloud email delivery service SparkPost boosts email performance by making sure missives arrive as intended.

“We’re like the FedEx of email,” he said.

Hear back. SparkPost taps into real-time analytics and multiple metrics to detect deliverability issues and offer clients live feedback.

Say a retailer emails a website visitor a special offer.

“You can — in real time — find out if this visitor has opened the email you just sent him,” Merrick said.

Tap it. Smartphones are making email even more accessible.

“Fifty-one to 52% of emails are being opened on a mobile device,” Merrick said.

His mission is to keep up with advancing devices and “make sure email remains relevant.”

Connect quickly. Employers are realizing they need to reach workers where they are — and that’s often on smartphones.

“Mobile is forcing companies to really rethink how they distribute content,” said Jeff Corbin, CEO and founder of APPrise Mobile, maker of theEMPLOYEEapp.

His startup allows firms to push messages and content directly to employees’ smartphones and iPads via an app personalized with company logos and visuals.

“It becomes a mobile hub for employee-related stuff,” Corbin said.

Make it match. Caesars Entertainment (CZR) used theEMPLOYEEapp to create @CaesarsToday, an app workers download from Apple’s App Store or Google Play.

“It’s got that branded, personal feel,” Corbin said.

Extend reach. Companies such as Caesars use theEMPLOYEEapp to distribute corporate news, policies, training videos and live events. When a blizzard hit, a corporate client used it to get the word out.

“That’s how they communicated with their 10,000 employees that they shouldn’t come to work because of road conditions,” Corbin said.

Boost teamwork. On a typical workday, an employee might use email, social media tools and internal platforms to collaborate with co-workers.

In short, they’re all over the place.

“We’re seeing fatigue now. They’re so fed up with jumping round to different services. That also kills efficiency.”

So says Rickard Hansson, CEO of Incentive.

The social intranet provider aims to consolidate team communication and collaboration tools into a single platform. The all-in-one approach eliminates the need for multiple software subscriptions.

Consolidate tools. The Incentive social intranet extends beyond the typical document collaboration tools to include wikis, blogs, microblogging, file sharing, app development, instant messaging and videoconferencing.

While collaborating on a document on the social platform, “you can pull people in on an as-needed basis,” Hansson said.

Get them together. A group of employees attending a conference can use the Incentive intranet to develop an itinerary and other documents, and launch group chats to discuss priorities and activities.

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