Friday, April 29, 2011

Email is loosing its effectiveness. So what's going on?

In the past 10 years, the use of email as a marketing tool has grown. But that continued growth is doubtful.

Tony Rossell, a dear friend, mentor and associate here at MGI, recently posted on his blog ( some interesting information on email which prompted me to dig a little deeper.

In the April/May, 2011 issue of, editors stated that: "People were impressed with the idea that email was practically free and that they could communicate with people just by pressing a button. But the reality is that the open rates are steadly decreasing - we're ssing open rates consistently under 10%, and three or four years ago they were in the high 20%'s" (p.22).

The  2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review showed stated that " is waning: Total usage of web-based email dropped 9% in 2010 with more precipitous declines occurring among younger age groups, particularly teenagers. It’s clear that communication is shifting not only to other platforms, but to other devices."
Preliminary analysis of the results from the 2011 MGI Membership Marketing Benchmarking Survey indicate that respondents reported only a small increase in using email to build awareness among prospects and little change in using email to engage or onboard new members and support renewal efforts from the previous year.

So, what is happening and where is the budget money being reallocated?

If you have kids, maybe you already know the answer...other online marketing channels. My 17 year-old son does not check his email anymore, nor does he really talk on the phone, nor does he really go to the movies. Its all about FaceBook, YouTube and Skype. These "other online channels" are now the preferred choice over email.

The 2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review Report reports that "In Q4, Facebook widened the lead it took earlier in the year vs. Google and the three major portals, and now accounts for just north of 12% of time online—and it seems to be climbing. Three out of every 10 internet sessions includes a Facebook visit, and Facebook accounts now accounts for 10% of all pageviews in the US. “Facebook” was also the top organic search phrase in 2010 with nearly 2 billion searches on that term–3 times greater than the next most searched for term. In short, it’s a behemoth--and getting bigger."

Interesting point...YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world.
The report continues by stating that "Video adoption continues to climb, and online TV is now mainstream: More people watched video, and those that did watched more of it. The video audience grew by 32%, and time spent grew by 12%. The average American watched 14 hours of video in December. Hulu continues to be a big story, attracting twice as much viewing as the Top 5 broadcast sites (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CW) combined. The proliferation of both publishers and platforms is contributing to changing behavior—creating not only more video users, but more and more ‘cord cutters’ (people who consume TV content solely online.) Based on activity in the back half of the year the rate of change is likely to continue or increase, making video an increasingly important part of the digital experience."
I reported earlier in this blog that:

  • 1 out of 8 couples married in the US last year met via Social Media. 
  • Years to Reach 50 Million Users: 
    • Radio........38 
    • TV............13 
    • Internet.......4 
    • iPod............3 
    • FaceBook...9 MONTHS 
  • 1 in 6 higher education students are enrolled on-line studies. 
  • 25% of search results for world’s top 20 brands are links to user generated content. 
  • 80% of companies are using LinkedIn as primary tool to find employees.

So there you have it. The money is moving to other on-line channels.

But is any of this really surprising? I don't think so.

As direct marketers we long ago realized the potential impact of those tools that EMPOWER our prospects.

100 years ago, people who lived in very secluded areas had little choice of stores to buy from. Montgomery Wards and Sears answered this call with their catalogs, EMPOWERING these people by giving them a greater choice in products and services.

10 years ago these catalogs were put on line and no longer did the prospect have to wait 30, 90, 180 or 360 days to get a catalog. They could go on-line to buy their products.

Today, prospects can go on-line to buy their products based upon the recommendations of their FaceBook "friends" and the recommendations of other people who have used the product. AND, if they don't know how to use the product, they can go on-line and find out. EMPOWERMENT!!

More associations are embracing Social Media to not only sell, but to educate and nurture. How are you using it? Do you have a Social Media plan? Let me know.

No comments:

Post a Comment