Too many marketing teams are grasping at new media opportunities, trying to be multi-dimensional but still maintaining a one-dimensional view of the marketing plan. This week’s AH-ha! moment suggests we are straddling old and the new media channels, never sure how to allocate scarce dollars.
While e-mail continues to be the primary driver for e-communications, we are facing constant pressure from the newbie marketing team members who believe everything is viral and social. They live in their newly spun cocoons of 140 characters. To them, it isn’t whether the message is right or wrong, and neither spelling nor grammar nor punctuation is important (because no one in social media cares about those “old media” stalwarts). All that matters is that we get a message into as many social channels as possible as quickly and as often as possible.
The newbies have got it partially right. Done correctly, social media has the opportunity to amplify the brand or promotional message beyond the usual suspects that we continually try to target. What do we mean by “amplify?” If we send you this e-mail with links to social media and you friend us on Facebook and Twitter, et al, we have the opportunity to get our message in front of others and more people know about us. Best yet, we want you to “SHARE” this message with others. It’s a tangled web in cyberspace and the possibilities for engagement beyond your current boundaries are endless.
Here’s a caveat: it does not matter what your business is. This applies to every business.
In the world before e-commerce and e-communications and even today, if we send you a direct mail piece, you won’t get mad. Unless it is an envelope crammed with stuff, you will probably at least eyeball it, so it’s up to us to have the right creative and content to capture you for a fleeting minute, not seconds.
The email box is considered more personal, at least by the newbies. If we send you promotional content you didn’t request, send it too often, or you don’t like the content, we’re spammers and you won’t do business with us anymore. Viewers look at e-mail in three to five seconds, so we have to grab you or you’re gone. That’s why we have a significant challenge to get it right.
The Marketing Implications
In the business world, most e-mails always have the same message: “Buy my stuff.” Admit it, that’s why we’re all in business. Whether it is an informational email or a blatant promotional email, the goal is the same. Buy my stuff.
We suggest that we need to EXPAND this time worn goal and e-communications is where we start. Our new goal is multi-dimensional:
- Buy my stuff
- Spread the word – virally and thus AMPLIFY my message through social media
To accomplish this requires breaking the five second delete reflex (yes, REFLEX, because we have collectively trained our customers to focus on the delete button.) We propose that marketing refocus and re-purpose email campaigns. Keep selling your stuff and at the same time position your email to stand out from the crowd.
There are three guidelines that will strengthen your next campaign’s success. These are driven by our Sixth Star marketing strategy that incorporates analytics at the center of how you go-to-market.
- Frequency – make sure it is appropriate. Overkill will kill your relationship. Use customer analytics to establish frequency.
- Focus – and target. Buying lists is a quick way to get tagged as a spammer or have viewers send viral messages about how they hate getting e-mails from you. Have a solid customer database with demographics and sales history and then begin the targeting process. Re-read No. 1 above about frequency. Understand the difference between high and low value customers and understand that one size does not fit both.
- Content – It’s critical that your content matches your customer targets. The overriding message is still to buy my stuff and at the same time make the content/message POWERFUL enough that the viewer will WANT to send it to social media/network friends. That’s AMPLFYING your message.
According to Constant Contact’s recent research, email’s reach grows by 60% if they are shareable via social media so you should create versions of every email for your website and include Facebook and Twitter “share” buttons. Remember that an effective email marketing strategy does not operate in a vacuum. Consider all the content rich channels and make sure they are in alignment and watch how amplification will impact your business.
This week, after celebrating the beginning of summer with a long weekend, ask your team how well you are using social media to amplify your brand’s messages. Old models are being turned upside-down and the landscape is continually changing. In a time when we really don’t know what economic or marketing force will challenge us, this is as good a time as any to re-evaluate your connectivity strategy and sharing tactic because this is what fuels your business growth.
Have a safe holiday and a fantastic week.
Bart Foreman and the Group 3 Marketing Team