January 24th 2012
On average people sent over 294 billion emails each day in 2010. That’s more than 107,310trillion emails in the space of a year. Yet over 90% of these emails were purported to be spam, so of no real value to the recipients. This begs the question, how can a communication channel believe it can survive, when over 90% of the activity is by definition worthless, especially when new channels – social media and brand engagement – are biting at its heels to be top dog.
The CEO of technology giant, Atos recently announced that he was banning internal emails. His reason being that Atos needed to “Adapt itself to the new generation of which will become the business colleagues of tomorrow”. The majority of the young people it seems Atos in increasingly hiring do not use email, and instead use instant messaging and social networking in their day-to-day work lives. To further add weight to his argument, Atos conducted an in-depth study which found that the average employee received over 100 internal emails and yet only 15% of these had any real business value. However, one things to note here is that Atos have no plans to ban external email. In fact, CEO Thierry Breton is quoted as saying that “External email is a fantastic tool – it’s a fantastic way to communicate between organisations”.
While some statistics are pointing to the decline of emails, and in particular email marketing; opening rates of emails have been in steady decline since 2007 and currently stand at just 11%. Others predict that email accounts worldwide will grow from 3.1billion in 2011, to over 4.1billion by 2015 (Source: Radicati) so what exactly is going on out there?
Nobody can deny the impact social media is having on communication as a whole, its strength being that it allows b2b marketers to communicate with customised groups of people in a more personalised and direct way. But in doing so, it is a lot more open than a one-to-one email, allowing those not even in the conversation to have an ambient awareness. Whether this is a good or bad thing is open to debate.
In truth, the role of email marketing is just simply changing and evolving. Social media has created a selection of different communication channels and as such, is stripping back email to the function it was designed for – one-to-one communication. Email’s ability to attach things and to provide a tool for secure conversation is still critical for many businesses operating today. So what can us mere b2b marketers do to keep our audiences from suffering from email fatigue? Here at Marketecture we’ve realised that we have to work smarter not necessarily harder. Generic emails are over; instead we need to get personal using targeted, relevant andrelevantly tailored emails. Personalised subject lines are key to increasing opening rates, engaging with the recipient from the moment the email drops into their email box. And more segmented email communication allows a much deeper granular level of relevancy in a communication or promotional email.
Yes, both channels have pros and cons but if email and social media communication is integratedyou have the ability to create a b2b marketing campaign that is significantly more powerful than using either channel alone. Should the two communication channels fail to work together, there is every chance that each channel could start cannibalising the other; the trick is for b2b marketers to realise everything has its place and which tool is the right one for the job at hand.