On the direct marketing landscape, email is as strong as ever. Over the past month, DoubleClick, ExactTarget , and Habeas have released studies testifying to the overall strength of email as a marketing channel. This comes as a response to a string of recent articles claiming that “email is dead.” It simply isn’t true. Consumers are comfortable buying through email and they feel comfortable receiving permission based email from companies they trust. In fact, across the board consumers prefer email when dealing with businesses for most communications — and they don’t see that changing any time in the near future.
I am delighted that the email marketing community has responded to these false alarms with responsible and compelling data. Email is the established technology for outbound digital messaging. That said, new channels are emerging. Much like traditional media, direct marketing is becoming fragmented. In the ’90s we added email to the direct marketing mix of direct mail and telemarketing. Since 2000, there has been an explosion of new communication tactics added to the one-to-one marketers toolkit. We need to move beyond showing the value of email to highlighting the roles it plays in a fragmented one-to-one environment.
This week at the Email Insiders Summit, we heard from a group of college students about their media preferences and how they use technology. Guess what? They were all different. While there were some overall themes, the glaring reality was that they all used a different set of tools for communication, and they used those tools differently. As much as we may try to categorize communication preferences by demographic data points such as age or income, there are consumers who break the mold. In the 2008 Channel Preference Survey, we found some teenagers prefer to communicate with friends and family through snail mail, and some senior citizens are heavy into text messaging. How do we serve customers under these circumstances?
Originally from “Email Is Not Dead, But Preferences Need to Evolve”| Published May 28, 2008