House of Email Marketing–online-email-marketing-vs-social-networks

by Chip House

You just can’t make this stuff up. I saw this story on Yahoo a few days back which read: “U.S. doctors have found the Bee Gees 1977 disco anthem “Stayin’ Alive” provides an ideal beat to follow while performing chest compressions as part of CPR on a heart attack victim.”

Now, since I’m a drummer in my spare time, using a popular rhythm to use as a comparison to a critical heart rhythm makes sense to me. It speaks my language. Thankfully, because of this article I now know that I can comfortably conduct CPR at the right pace since I seemed to have the tempo of Stayin’ Alive stored somewhere deep in the recesses of my brain.

Those connections to individuals are less easily predicted online. Yet these types of esoteric facts about an individual can make the difference between a non-response and a sale. The problem is most marketers don’t know what questions to ask or which behaviors to monitor.

In fact if a marketer wanted to target me differently based on my being rhythmically-oriented, they would have to guess, ask me, or append psychographic interest data from a database that somehow listed my subscription to Modern Drummer Magazine (which I haven’t had in 20 years).

Combining preference data and behavioral data is the only way to go. Neither are perfect, but combined they are very compelling. Preferences alone may point you in an entirely different direction than a subscriber’s actual behaviors. That is one of the points we made in our recent whitepaper, “Messaging Behaviors, Preferences and Personas.” Our research with the Ball State Center for Media Design showed combined observations on media usage behaviors with survey data on how each type of medium is used.

We found, for example, that teens tend to use social networks extensively and most often when communicating with friends. However, most of this same group said they were much more likely to respond to a promotion when presented to them via direct mail or email (unless it is spam) than via a social network or a text message. They hold these newer media to be more personal to them.

That isn’t to say that social networks should be devoid of marketing or businesses. In fact, a recent survey from Cone showed that adult users of social networks have some expectation that businesses will be there (not sure if it is expectation or “acceptance”).  In this survey 51% said companies should have a presence in social media but only as needed or by request. Our own research points to the same thing: Opt-in is still king and email is not dead….and now I can do CPR!