Email marketing may not be completely dead, but it is certainly holding on by a thin rope. The problem with email marketing is the lack of the illusion of control associated with it that has made social media marketing so powerful. When I see a post from a company I have chosen to follow on Twitter or Facebook, I can choose to immediately interact with that content while remaining on the same platform. My interactions then become the most valuable part of the marketing cycle because I have now “co-signed” this company enough that I am willing to let my friends know I am engaged. I can also scroll right past it without giving it a second thought. It hasn’t annoyed me in any way. That same content delivered over email arrives in my email mailbox and the first thing I think is “Hey, who invited you?!?” Email marketing has a negative connotation from the beginning and if the message is not eagerly received, it is automatically perceived as a nuisance and something to be deleted. Think about how much junk you throw away that you receive in regular paper mail. The new marketing IMC campaign understands the importance of letting the user feel as though they are receiving the content on their own terms. Emails currently have no future. Why would I choose to click on a social share button from an email? What do I hope to share with my social group? …that I have received an annoying email that my friends can probably relate to? (That purpose is best served with a whiny status.) Email has just become too productivity-based and does not yield the same benefits that social media engagement does.
Now I understand that this is not the popular opinion and most of my readings on the internet and in the lecture seem to take the other side of this debate; but my criticism is not without constructive feedback or optimism even. Email is an important part of a good IMC campaign because there will always be more email addresses than social media accounts (you need an email to sign up for them anyway right?). Also, some people will always want to receive information in that format, but the entire culture needs to change. One way to make sure our emails are as successful as possible is to follow some of the advice from this week’s reading. Emails also need to have a little more personality. Many of the examples of great blogs also looked like great emails; the difference in my opinion is that blogs feel more personal. Emails also need to become as customizable as anything else on the internet. Users, not content creators, need to be able to set up email preferences on their own terms. If they would like to only receive an email once a month, then they should have the option of receiving an email once a month. If a user wants to be emailed ONLY when products from an online store drop 50% below their retail price, they should be able to request that too. Finally, if email marketing is going to remain successful, it needs to acknowledge the massive impact social media has had on acquiring information and seek to cooperate in this new world rather than distinguish itself. Maybe I can sign up to receive email-like information in my Facebook inbox directly in Facebook from the company’s page. Or maybe I can choose to reply to an email every now and then and not have the response fall on deaf ears. New marketing is very consumer-centered because engagement with the consumer has become a crucial aspect to a successful IMC campaign, and if email is going to remain successful, it needs to reconsider its voice and consider putting the consumer in the center of its actions.