Posted November 15, 2010 7:52 am by with 1 comment

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Today’s research tidbit is about the integration of social media and e-mail. It’s a match that is made in heaven from a theoretical standpoint for sure. In practice, of course, these things tend to be a little more like real life: great intentions but messier than any of us would like.

Today we get more information about how this marriage is something that is being done with great success. We get the data from, you guessed it, a company that does e-mail marketing management for businesses and organizations. If we have learned one thing over the past several years the “research as PR”movement is alive and well. Too bad that doesn’t always mean that the data isn’t ‘influenced’.

eMarketer (research company) is reporting on findings by Lyris (e-mail marketing management company) regarding the success of the integration of social media and marketing. I have circled the two areas that get my attention on this one.

First, the question asked in this case is

If you used social media with e-mail marketing to get better results this last year, how much better were your results?

Fair if somewhat leading but my trouble always comes with the ‘Somewhat’ options. These are the vague / gray areas of research answers that allow for information to get skewed in the direction that is favorable to the research company itself. It’s the place where you can capture the people who don’t want to ever admit if something didn’t work but have a shred of honesty because they can’t say things were significantly better.

In this case though having that kind of research safety net allows for an e-mail marketing company to say that “54% of companies integrating e-mail and social media saw better results!” Woo-hoo! Marketing fodder. The reality is that close to 60% of the ‘better results’ could fall anywhere between ‘I can’t admit failure’ to ‘we saw some improvement’ and all stops in between which isn’t exactly awe inspiring.

Research is a good thing. It needs to be done but the simple matter is that it needs to be performed by an unsponsored (meaning uninfluenced) third party for it to truly have some value. As soon as I see that a piece of research comes from a company that stands to benefit from a positive result I turn into the high skeptic and I suggest you do the same.

Oh if you wanted to see what social media outlets worked best when integrated with e-mail here is that data.

Any thoughts on what is left over to make up 33% of the respondents giving the answer ‘Other’ for what worked best? Would it be location-based services? What else? Now that would be interesting to see.

Oh and isn’t it neat that this is talked about on the day where Facebook is supposedly rolling out its own e-mail service? Oh well, just another day in Internet marketing research / PR, I suppose.

  • Hmm, makes one wonder what kind of an effect the new Facebook mail (or “modern messaging”) will have in marketing…