The “Next Best Thing” in Marketing Has Been Around for ~25 Years

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The “Next Best Thing” in Marketing Has Been Around for ~25 Years

Social media is something of an advertising wunderkind, creating a strategizing frenzy every time it develops a new aspect of communication. Yet for all its progress, the effectiveness of social media marketing is dwarfed by its oft-forgotten older brother. It’s understandable: he hasn’t developed much in his ~25 years of existence, and he doesn’t offer an excitingly befuddling new interface every year or so. He sulks in his consistency, forgotten by the ambitious, and ignored by the complacent. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter -- they’re just show horses compared to his steady mule. His name is Email, and he’s here to stay.

The discrepancy is easy to understand. Social media marketing has grown up quite a bit over the past decade or so. At first, marketers mimicked its infancy, loudly shouting and rattle-shaking to reach their audience. As this subset of the advertising industry has evolved, so has the subtlety and precision of social media marketing strategies. But as soon as the advertising world got a handle on say, Facebook, Instagram appeared; followed by Snapchat, Periscope, and numerous other networks and platforms vying for (and obtaining) the consumer's attention. Email hasn’t been the new kid on the block for decades, and it’s become so commonplace in our daily lives that email advertisements are about as a sexy as direct coupon mailers. However, where our intrigue and curiosity have failed us into believing social media acts as the nexus of all 21st century marketing, the numbers do us a service. The numbers, of course, never lie:

  • 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email. Source.
  • 7 in 10 people say they made use of a coupon or discount from a marketing email in the prior week. Source.
  • 40% of B2B marketers rated the leads generated by email marketing as high quality. Source.
  • For every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $44.25. Source.
  • Email accounts for 7% of customer acquisition, and acquires customers 11% more valuable than average (customers acquired through social media are 23% less valuable than average). Source.

So that’s that. Now, this isn’t to say that most marketers aren’t using email, or that social media is a waste of time. It’s to say that the time and effort put into social media strategizing may be put to better use through good ol’ electronic mail. This means more than a monthly newsletter, or the occasional coupon/loan special. It means sitting down, carefully looking at your target audience, and figuring out an email strategy to reach them. Do you have a younger demographic that’s reading their email on their smartphones? Or an older market that would benefit from large text? Maybe you have both, and need to segment your email lists to reflect that. Every strategy is unique to its organization, but some general principles are supported by research from our friends at Pardot:

In terms of usage and effectiveness, Marketers ranked the following:

Marketers' ranking of usage and effectiveness of email marketing

In terms of the most critical and most effective aspects of an email, Marketers rank the following:


Marketers' ranking of email's most effective and most critical aspects

This quantity of information can be overwhelming, especially if you’re used to clicking “send” on a monthly Mailchimp newsletter template, then washing your hands of the ordeal. If you need a specific, targeted email marketing strategy, contact The Pod Advertising for Blooming Creative solutions!

We’ll leave you with this thoughtful quote about credit unions and email marketing:

“Credit unions invest $2 million or more to open a new branch and consider it an asset. Yet they spend less than $20,000 marketing on their website and call it an expense… People are still more likely to respond to email than any other type of promotion offer that you have. That’s because 91% of US consumers still use email daily, and the rate at which emails prompt purchases is not only estimated to be at least three times that of social media, but the average order value is also 17% higher.”

- Mark Arnold