There's a rule in marketing and it's that your / my / our opinions don't count. The idea is not to think about what you do but what the customer does... We're simply too biased working on a brand, knowing an industry or just as marketers to be objective even if we fit every demographic and interest to a "T".
The reality of email is that it's still pulling the best returns of anything out there on a dollar per dollar basis. The reality is also that it can't be left in isolation or in the same form it was in 2005... Whether it's shifting usage, shifting open rates or the advent of mobile, social, etc it has to be a strategy you evolve or it won't work.
Of course there's one huge distinction in the effectiveness of email which Steve pointed out -- when a brand sends an email it's a CRM tool to engage people with an existing relationship. The only way to really use it to get new people walking in is user to user... one person sharing you to another.