One-flavour thinking

Ben & Jerry’s has recently dropped its email marketing in the UK to concentrate solely on social media. Should this become a trend across other big brands, it would spell disaster for their marketing efforts.

Focusing on one customer channel is a very shortsighted approach. Email and social media both have unique benefits and are significantly more powerful when used together. By integrating social features and exclusive offers, companies could improve the value of their email programmes for their subscribers and ultimately boost customer acquisition.

Companies looking to drop one channel in favour of the other are looking at things from the wrong angle. For starters, email marketing allows your company to own its email list, but with a social strategy the identities of your Twitter and Facebook followers are owned by those respective parties.

Social cannot yet stand alone as a marketing solution; it needs email to make it work as a direct channel. Google and Microsoft are integrating social functionality into Gmail and Outlook respectively, a measure that will enhance the customer’s view of email and social media as mutually compatible.

Viral marketing programs are set to become exponentially more powerful, and email marketers should prepare for this shift by developing an integrated marketing strategy for the two channels now.

Paul Bates, UK MD, StrongMail

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