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Social Media and Email Marketing: A Symbiotic Relationship

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on November 26th, 2010 by Team Pi

Social media was supposed to be the death knell for email marketing.

But then again, TV was supposed to be the death knell for movie halls, Digital distribution was supposed to be the death knell for brick and mortar stores and e-paper was supposed to be the death knell for paper books. While new media has carved out its place in the world today, none of them have really made any of the old mediums obsolete. So yeah, social media hasn’t killed off email marketing.

However, that brings us to the question of where exactly email marketing stands today from a marketers perspective. While it has certainly slipped in terms of use, a recent survey by Nielsen reporting that the time-share of email has fallen to 28%, far below that of social media’s which hovers above 40%, consumers still prefer to receive marketing material via email. Email offers a far more intimate experience compared to social media, and there is scope for far more detail and design. And people still check their email accounts multiple times daily, in spite of having profiles in Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc.

The key difference between email and social media is that email is better at conveying detailed information like newsletters, brochures and catalogues to interested parties, whereas social media is more about mobilizing people around your brand and creating brand loyalty and awareness. Social media is also useful for getting a discussion going amongst the community, something that can reveal valuable information about which way a company should head. Although they can sometimes overlap, do not expect one to do the job of the other.

The point is, email and social media are not competing platforms. They cater to drastically different segments of the market, and have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. In fact, email and social media often complement each other when it comes to marketing strategy. You may feel that email marketing is done to death, but in reality there is still a lot of potential in email marketing if done right.

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