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The society is consistenly focused on the next big thing!

Posted by TeamITI on February 23, 2010

Written by Morgan Stewart; director of research and strategy for ExactTarget, a provider of on-demand email and one-to-one marketing solutions. [tweetmeme source=”itimarketing”]

In the technology industry, we constantly focus on the next big thing.

Trends

It started with computers, which were going to do away with paper. Then came Internet shopping, which was going to do away with catalogs and (gasp!) going to an actual store. Then email came, which threatened to replace letters.

Mobile and social are the latest to be added to the mix. So, what are they going to replace? Catalogs and paper (again)? Television? Email? Marketing as we know it? No.

Looking to the next big thing is not inherently a problem. As marketers, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves and our employers about the impact new technologies will have on our businesses.

We need to consider how changes in technology can open up new opportunities and how they change the way we interact with consumers. However, in our zeal for the next big thing, we must guard against assuming that the next big thing will immediately replace the things we already know.

One example is the impact that smartphones are having on the use of email and social networking.

According to data released in December by comScore, 70% of smartphone users have accessed email, and 43% have accessed social networks, on their phones. Compare that with non-smartphone users, and it’s clear that advances in mobile are fueling other digital-marketing channels.
Then again, the ability to access email and social networks on the go are key benefits for smartphones.

Reasons for the rise in email use;

1. People are relying on digital communication more and calling less

As all forms of digital communication increase, people are calling less. As the pace of communication increases, the pleasantries required of a phone call are too cumbersome.

We don’t have time to ask “How’s it going?” After all, the person on the other end might actually want to talk. So, at work, we email instead of call. We text with friends. If we need to communicate with more than one person, we post updates to Facebook or Twitter.

2. Smartphones are fueling an email revival

The Blackberry’s success was built on email. Mobile professionals needed access to email while on the go.

However, the recent successes of iPhone and Android phones are fueling increased email use among younger groups, such as college students, whose email use had declined significantly in recent years.

3. Companies are promoting email, and consumers are responding

As banks and credit-card companies promote paperless statements to reduce expenses, more companies are investing in email programs. When consumers are asked which channel they prefer receiving direct-marketing communications, the overwhelming majority chooses email. The only exception is for unsolicited marketing messages, which consumers prefer to receive as direct mail.

Customers Want a Choice

Working with all three channels together comes down to two simple rules:

  • First, consider the strengths, weaknesses, and cultures surrounding each channel.
  • Second, give consumers a choice, which becomes increasingly essential as consumers become more empowered.
  • Offer consumers the option of getting more information about a service or product through an SMS (short message service) short code. After a user texts in for more information, you can prompt the user for an email address that allows you to send the user a whitepaper or coupon.
  • For impulse or regular purchases, companies can offer consumers the choice of getting deals via email, text, or Twitter Direct Message
  • Use confirmation emails as a tool for driving product reviews. As a way to increase the value of its website content, Netflix consistently asks consumers to rate the movies they just returned.
  • Add functionality to your emails that allows your content to be shared on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. That tactic allows your current customers to introduce you to their friends, helps you reach a broader audience, and can help drive email subscriptions.

In essence, our real challenge is to ensure that our marketing programs are tightly integrated across channels. Working in channel-centric silos won’t cut it. Your consumers don’t live in channel silos. As we strive to engage in one-to-one dialogue, we can’t live in them, either.

This article is published by MarketingProfs , read the original article here.

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