Two out of five people have shared information about brands via social networks in the past six months, but the social media boom won’t usurp the role of email marketing, according to experts following research from the Direct Marketing Association.

The second phase of the DMA Digital Tracker study, launched in March (nma 13 May 2010), was conducted by Fast.MAP on 1,230 UK adults.

Although the number of people sharing brand information on social networks was up just 1% to 39%, Antonia Edmunds, director of client relationships at email marketing agency SilverPop, said this was a “significant rise”, yet doesn’t signal the death of email. “Social media and email marketing shouldn’t be mutually exclusive, they should complement each other,” she said.

A quarter of social network users share brand information a few times a year – a 1% fall since March &- and one in ten share daily – a drop of 2%. However, the number of people who share weekly rose 1% to 13%, while monthly shares were up 3% to 13%.

Chris Combemale, executive director of the DMA, agreed social media is complementary to email rather than a competitor. “It’s early days for social media and there’s no doubt it will continue to grow, but other channels will still have their role, and there’s nothing to indicate email marketing will be affected.”

Brands should pinpoint who’s regularly sharing information about them on social networks and target them with personalised information, according to Edmunds. “It’s important for brands to target these brand ambassadors and form segments such as top buyers or sharers, something some of our own clients are starting to do,” she said.

The research showed two-thirds of those surveyed (65%) find less than one in ten of the emails they receive either relevant or interesting &- the same as in March, although the number of people who find more than half of the emails they’re sent interesting rose to 9%, from 3% in March.

Edmunds said the fact this figure hasn’t changed in the last six months is “depressing” given the amount of data email marketers have access to and the kind of technology available. “Marketers have a lot of work to do,” she said. “They need to think more about engagement marketing and creating a personalised service.”

Combemale agreed that marketers must move away from sending bulk one-size-fits-all emails if they’re to keep up with the digital market. “There’s a need for much more behavioural targeting and dynamic content from marketers,” he said.

Edmunds said the continually evolving services of email providers like Google and Yahoo are forcing change in the market. “They’ve rolled out priority inbox tools, which means if emails aren’t interacted with then they can end up being placed in junk folders automatically or bumped down the priority list,” she said.


Published 4 November, 2010 by NMA Staff

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