Monthly Archives: July 2013

Social media vs email. It’s not really a competition.

Social media versus email, the pseudo competition of two marketing platforms. First it was email that was touted as the new, best way to reach target audiences and generate sales. Then social media developed into a formidable force in engaging target audiences, and email was declared dead. The time has come to set aside this pseudo competition by better understanding the marketing value of social media and email, and how each functions in the sales funnel.

Social media is perfectly suited to the “mid sales funnel”, where information is gathered. It provides the platform for brand/target audience interaction with promotions, coupons, news, and entertainment. It is also as much a platform for communication among consumers as it is between brands and consumers.¬†Messages are more controlled by target audiences than by the brands themselves, and interest and engagement may be driven by something “cool” going on at the moment rather than a sincere interest in the brand per se. One of the most important aspects to understand about social media is that it is not really permission based like email.

Email is much better suited to the “bottom sales funnel”, where transaction decisions are made. Since email is typically permission based, the target audience has already expressed a more than a passing interest in the brand, therefore a more likely intent to buy. Email is one-on-one communication, and for that reason the appeal becomes personal and offers/promotions can be tailored to each recipient’s interests or needs. Email marketing is totally focused on the intent to buy, and as such is used as the sales “closer”.

A comprehensive marketing plan should include both platforms, each being used to maximize its unique contributions to brand building and sales. Food and beverage are one of the most talked about categories in the social sphere, presenting marketers with a tremendous opportunity to build brand loyalists and develop opt-in lists for successful email campaigns.

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