Reports of the death of email have been grossly exaggerated. For quite some time now, various pundits have been suggesting that email will die quite soon. However, a comprehensive study of email has shown that we love it. Indeed, the very thing that was supposed to kill off email – social networking – has actually made us love email more. People who use social networks are more likely to repeatedly check their emails than people who don’t use the likes of Facebook or Twitter.
Furthermore, the research shows that the time spent on emails each week has not gone down; rather it has remained relatively static in the past year. So, what does this imply? It suggests that you shouldn’t take your “eye off the ball”. Even though social networking has considerable value to online businesses, email persists as an important communications vehicle. Many Internet marketers report that their greatest conversion rates come from emails, rather than from web pages. Email marketing is the method most likely to bring results.
What this study actually reveals is that people now exist in a multi-communication world. It means you can no longer do web marketing OR email marketing OR social media marketing. Instead, it has to be completely integrated. Before the Internet came along, marketing gurus would tell us that we needed a “marketing mix”. Nowadays that mix needs to include more communications vehicles than ever before. And that means you have more “balls to juggle” than ever before. So how can you do it?
Well, because “integrated marketing” is such a hot topic you could head off to several major universities to do a Masters degree in the subject; who wants an MBA when you can do a Masters in Integrated Marketing. Soon, employers won’t want those old MBA-ers, they’ll be looking for those shiny new MIM-ers. But if you don’t want to get extra letters after your name you could sign up for the online courses and research studies that abound on the whole subject. You could spend hours on end reading white papers, delving into the specialist websites and getting to grips with this new topic.
Or you could realise that “integrated marketing” is what successful businesses have been doing for donkeys years, even before the Internet came along. When marketing is truly integrated it is the heartbeat of your business; everything is seen as marketing by you and your staff. It affects your strategic decisions, it impacts upon your choices of employees and it influences your every move within your business – often at a subconscious level.
The issue, really, is that too many businesses – particularly in the online world – see marketing as something that you “do” when you want new customers or when you have the time or the extra cash available. Companies set up marketing “campaigns” as though you can stop and start marketing at will. You can’t; your business is being marketed every moment of the day in one way or another. Merely existing as a business is marketing.
So, rather than looking for fancy ideas or latching onto new trends, perhaps all that is needed for online business success is a change in mental attitude. Instead of seeing marketing as “email marketing”, “pay per click”, “list building” and so on, marketing ought to be perceived as the very essence of your corporate being. “I market, therefore I am.”