Before I had to start paying the bills, I used to love all the stuff that came through the mail slot at this time of year: announcements, coupons, cards, and catalogs – glossy, full-color, hundreds-of-pages thick catalogs. My brother and I spent weeks poring over them picking out each and every thing we needed for Christmas.
Now I am paying those bills and no one sends out such catalogs any more. Instead, many of us wade through the spam of our email inboxes sifting out the stuff that would have been recycled if anyone was savvy about recycling in 1975. Different medium, same problem?at MyCustomer.com pulls in some resources that suggest ‘no.’ People are not only still engaged with their email, but they are enticed by further integration of email and social-media networks. Even the ‘junk mail’ draws pretty positive responses. How come?
“Email usage’s percentage change highlighted by Nielsen is in direct contrast with ExactTarget’s ‘Subscribers, Fans and Followers’ research [in the U.K.], where we asked if consumers used email more or less often between October 2009 and April 2010, and 25% of consumers said they were using email more often. Only 6% said they were using it less often. How consumers access email is changing, but the use of email continues to increase.”
Indeed, companies are spending more money on email marketing than ever before, in no small part because it is so cost-effective, even if twenty-something percent delete the mass email without reading it. Moreover, as many of the marketers with whom Davey speaks point out, email is growing in sophistication as it grows entwined with social media: the cold-email marketing strategy (à la ‘cold calling’) is giving way to messages tailored to each recipient.
Facebook announced its own email service () a number of weeks ago, as a means to draw all online communication into one experience. Whether Messages becomes a behemoth to match Facebook itself remains to be seen. But the trend to bring email into similar experiences as social media is clearly there. Davey quotes Eric Grafstrom, Senior VP of Operations for Sales and Business Development at , about this synergy:
If email social networks become more integrated and intelligent then one can assume the same will happen for delivery of marketing messages,” he suggests. “Ad targeting has become very sophisticated over the past several years allowing marketers to target the individual user out of a sea of millions and millions of people. Marketers will demand and companies will deliver more sophisticated methods for targeting the user based on what will net the best result.
So rumors of email’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Perhaps small comfort as you work your way through your junk mail. But do not forget that your email service (whether on your computer, like Apple Mail or Outlook; or web-browser based, like GMail or) provides opportunities to cull a great deal of the clutter from your Inbox before you have to see it. Nothing is foolproof, but every little bit helps.
Beats cutting down acres of trees each holiday season. But I still haven’t got that Red Ryder BB Gun on page 406.