The good folk at Exact Target have a new study out and it got a media hit over at Promo Magazine:

Gen X Persuaded by E-mail, Direct Mail Over Social Marketing: Study
Oct 27, 2008 6:01 AM

Consumers 18 to 34 report they are more likely to respond to an e-mail marketing message or direct mail than to one they get through a social network, according to a joint research project by Ball State University’s Center for Media Design and e-mail service provider ExactTarget finds that:
“It is too easy to assume that the media consumers choose for their own news, information and entertainment are by default the best media to use for marketing messages,” Ball State CMD director of insight and research Mike Bloxham said in a statement. “This is a dangerous assumption to make in a time when consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their level of control over their media experiences.”

This makes sense to me on a number of levels. (I should qualify that what follows is my opinion only, I’m not a marketer, so I am going on intuition, common-sense and gut instinct here).

First off, I find it very easy to ignore web-based ads easily. Beside ad-blockers, my mind, and I think that of most others quite easily filters content when we focus on the actual content of a web-page.

Secondly, the innate nature of email as a push, not pull technology is such that shoving a well-constructed, requested ad under somebody’s eyeballs is bound to have more impact.

Now, some may dismiss this study of ET’s as self-serving, but frankly, the ‘No WE’RE hipper’ wars between email and social networking is getting a little long in the tooth.

The fact is, in these economic times I believe on-line advertisement of all types will be the logical choice of all marketers when budgets become tight. When the choice is between costly radio, print, billboard and trade-shows initiatives and the effectiveness of search term, email, and social networking placements, my gut tells me we aren’t going to see attrition in our sector, but rather an upswing over the next year.

Sure, things will get tougher for all of us all in the short term, especially for small and medium-sized players (we’ve already seen rounds of lay-offs at several companies), but ultimately the Fortune 500 have to be looking at budgets even as I type this, and the inexpensive rates of online must be very very attractive at this point for all types of marketing.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on where email and online marketing is going in the current financial climes … share your comments!