Posted June 25, 2009 3:46 pm by with 9 comments

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Mail iconsIt has been written that there is nothing new under the sun. Sometimes it feels that way when the talk turns to social media and its impact on marketing as a whole and, more specifically, any Internet marketing efforts. Of course, every bit of marketing is going to be affected by a medium that encourages / celebrates shared information and the ability to color outside the lines. What’s not to like about a communication vehicle that allows the consumer to make decisions based on just about everything other than what is company generated propaganda?

Mediapost has picked up on a study conducted by StrongMail that examines the developing relationship between e-mail marketing and social media. Once again, when you read this kind of thing you probably say “Well, no kidding, duh.” But sometimes it’s good to see some numbers around the accepted theory.

In the case of this research (beware the R word, Pilgrims) that was conducted by an e-mail marketing provider, you can guess what might be ‘found’. Here’s some of the findings which are more related to who owns social media than what it does. This data was collected through 500 marketers between mid-May and the start of June.

  • 29% of respondents state that social media responsibility is owned by multiple departments
  • 36% of survey respondents state that the direct marketing department owns social media
  • 9% of the respondents report that social media is owned by public relations departments
  • 5% have a dedicated social media department

It is still too early in the corporate marketing / social media life cycle to have any clear definition of what department should own social media. It sure makes you wonder, though, what it looks like in some of these companies as they try to implement corporate social media strategies across different departments. Finger pointing may be the most popular activity in those environments. The study then moves into the relationship between e-mail and social media to examine some of the issues around that mix.

  • 55% of respondents report that one of their biggest challenges with integrating social media and email marketing is determining metrics by which to measure success
  • 48% say establishing business goals for the program is the biggest challenge

These are the same kinds of problems that direct marketers have had forever but it is simply occurring through a different medium. Direct marketing is not so much about mail anymore, for sure. For over a year now if you go to the Direct Marketing Association’s website, among the most popular searches on their site is search marketing. Not exactly like the days of trying to master postal codes for bulk mailings. We talk about the upheaval in traditional industries like newspapers, how about the direct mail industry and the impact the Internet has had?

So where are you as it relates to direct marketing (traditional and electronic) and social media? How do they play together for your company? What happens if they are not allowed to play together at all? Are they now so intertwined that the real question is which one leads rather than which one survives?

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  • Expect that 29% to grow. Social media is like a web – like THE Web – very interconnected. There are customer relations implications, sourcing opportunities, distribution possibilities and so much more via social media.

    David Leonhardt’s last blog post..Want a link on a throw-away domain?

  • For companies in hi-tech and internet based industries, it seems as if there is no longer a need for traditional, outbound marketing. Email marketing can be considered inbound or outbound, depending on how it is done, but for the most part, all new marketing efforts are in the digital realm.

    My company relies solely on social media as a means of marketing and while time-consuming, it has proved quite effective. Although we plan to use email blasts in the future as a means of direct marketing, it is not our preferred method of spreading the word.

  • Social media, is just one of the results in the evolving marketing strategies. In the competition , social media became one of the tools in contemporary marketing.Which i think is a success.

  • It is crazy to advertise on TV anymore with DVR’s that zip right through the commercials. It is definitely time for Brick and Mortar stores to move onto the internet and utilize Social Marketing like you suggest!

  • cool post, i think that social media is the way to go and main stream media is going the way of the dodo bird.


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  • Direct Marketing is in the first place a matter of relation building, who do you know and most important who knows you.

    For this reason it is best to use a combination of three:

    – social networking like facebook, marketing mastermind, linkedIn and Twitter
    – email marketing based on your own listbuilding
    – establish a company blog


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