Archive for July, 2010

Can Social Media Replace Email Marketing?

Social Media Social Media Subscription Preferences Could Put a Dent in Email Marketing

The recent Ben & Jerry’s announcement made me revisit something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Under what circumstances could social media replace email?

Do you think it could? I think it has – at least in part.

What normally would have been content delivered to email recipients now appears as blogs, status updates, etc. and those tools deliver the notifications. No news there but I don’t think these tools are sophisticated enough to sustain this method of updating people. The notifications are on or off with little control over frequency or preferences.

I subscribe to a few brands on Facebook but I use Facebook primarily for friends and family. Each time I login, whether it is on my phone or computer, I have to sift through all the brands’ posts to get to posts by friends and family. It’s not such a big deal on my computer but annoying as hell on my phone.

My options are to deal with the endless posts per day or globally unsubscribe. Where’s the throttle? Where are the subscription preferences? Maybe feed categories would work…

Take Mashable, for example. I love their stuff but it’s a lot of stuff. I only want certain posts. I’ll go to their site if I want the rest. They risk losing me as a follower because their frequency of posting interferes with how I use Facebook. All they need is a way to offer subscription preferences. I don’t want to hide them or stop following them I just want to filter their posts.

It’s not Mashable’s fault. They have a large following and post all sorts of things. The way I see it, they don’t have many options. They could create multiple users on each social site for each topic they address but there are too many issues with that. They could point to external email and RSS sources but that doesn’t embrace social networking and takes you away from the platform.

The problem is similar to email marketing’s time line and evolution. Email newsletters, announcements and ads were novel in the beginning. People subscribed to everything they could find. Brands were sending anything and everything with no targeting. The novelty soon wore off, and brands had to rethink their game plan.

Email marketers adapted to the demands of subscribers by providing increasingly more relevant and personalized content. Many are still struggling on how to accomplish it but we have identified the challenge and the consequences for not adapting are clear. Give me relevant content and let me control my subscriptions or I’ll unsubscribe.

Why is social media any different? Put me in control of the things I receive from you or I’m gone. What began as sites for people to communicate with each other with one set of needs is now being used by brands with another set of needs.

Social sites need to improve their communication options to allow for the needs of companies, brands and consumers.

I think these kinds of features are coming. What are the ramifications for email marketing when they do?

Posted: July 28th, 2010
at 7:34am by Rob Van Slyke

Tagged with , , ,


Categories: Email Marketing

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