Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Direct marketting

Marketing to a mailing list is easier than it has ever been with the availability of email. Email marketing is after all one of the most cost-effective ways to blast your advertising message out to thousands of people. Compared to mailing a direct mailing piece to thousands of people, email is ridiculously cheap and often provides a much better return on investment. However, what if email ended tomorrow?

Of course, email will probably not end tomorrow. It will probably not even end next year. Email may be around for decades. Or it may not. And if and when it is replaced, what happens? What will happen to list building?

There are numerous threats to email marketing. On top of the list is the proliferation of spam. Another is increasing information overload. People are spending more time on social networking sites than on email these days. And many marketers know that social networking sites, while fun to use, are not exactly the first places buyers would go to. Another is the rise of instant messaging services. People are becoming increasingly connected and many feel that email is past it. Then there is the emergence of Google Wave, which will become increasingly popular in the future. The likes of Twitter, Google Wave and social networking sites signal a change towards instant, real-time communication.

So how do marketers counter this? Well, in the future, email may be more advanced and more expensive. Marketers may have to start coughing up more money to do an email blast. The barriers to entry will increase. The entire email medium may be something else entirely. But we must understand one thing.The idea of building a mailing list (on any channel) and marketing products and services to subscribers will always remain. As long as marketers keep a database of prospects and customers (no matter where that may be) and provide solutions to problems, they will never go hungry. The medium may change, but the principles remain the same.