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Email State of the Union

Michael Seaton of The Client Side Podcast, and ScotiaBank sent off some questions about email to a group I’m in and I thought that they were interesting enough to share with everyone (along with my answers, of course). Just to set the stage, this year is my 10th anniversary of email (damn, I am so old!). I still have a can of spam trophy for my 1,000,000th email back in my days at DCI.

Here some of the issues/topics I will address with the panel:

1. Personalization – examlpes of good / bad.

The key here is not to screw it up. Not personalizing is no crime if the message is still relevant, and looks better than something that starts “Dear Pujabu (sp?),”

2. Is the audience listenting? Are email metrics on the rise or
decline?

Yes, many people think (and many pundits say) that email is dying. Nothing is further from the truth. Spam may be losing it’s edge, but relevant emails are more powerful than ever.

3. Net generation – when this huge cohort hits the workforce and
begins to emerge as a force in the consumer economy, will email fall
into the catagory of “my parents technology?

Not until there is a viable corporate substitute. Yes, some of those crazy kids use MySpace over email, but would you move your corporate website to a MySpace page? I didn’t think so.

4. Has any new technology (RSS, IM etc..) emerged as is the killer app
in terms of database targeting, personalization and measurement as
email brought to the table?

Nothing out there currently beats an email that has individually coded links to website landing pages. RSS is too early on the adoption curve and IM is more expensive as it is not asynchronous (2 people need to be on at the same time).

5. Is email now part of the traditional maketing mix – has it shed
it’s “new channel” status?

It has in the sandboxes that me and my buddies play in. Print is now a rare luxury.

6. How is it being used effectively as an integrated part of the
channel mix?

It easily substitutes for print at a greatly accelerated timescale (quicker to create, cheaper to send, instant feedback).

7. What are key trends / differences in B2B B2C that you have seen –
either good or bad?

I’d say B2B is more effective as it tends to be more niche. It’s very common to see smaller lists outperform larger ones by a factor of 3 or more. B2C can be tailored to niche customers, but if not then it’s just another broadcast that will be ignored.

8. Social Media and email – discuss…

Just another integration point. For those that are not yet living RSS the only way to stay involved as the conversation continues is to get pushed something. The easiest something is email.