How can a marketer still prove the value of email as a communications tool when the landscape has become fragmented and dependent on a range of endpoints and devices?
MediaPost and MarketingProfs continually publish pieces on how marketers can integrate social efforts with email messaging. For instance, customer emails should always include links to Facebook pages and vice versa, the Facebook page including a way to sign up to receive emails. Besides the ubiquitous coupon, emails can also include results of Flickr photo contests or other social media promotions.
In efforts to control the Inbox, Facebook announced in November 2010 the launch of Facebook email. Promising seamless messaging (not to be confused with unified communications, which combines voice, video and data in the enterprise) and a “social inbox,” it is clear that the social media companies are rewriting the rules of email and messaging. (The social inbox is similar to Google Gmail’s Priority Inbox, which relies on an algorithm which is supposed to figure out which messages are important to you, and display them with relevance. More on Google and social media in subsequent posts.)
However, last week’s announcement from ObjectiveMarketer reverses this trend entirely: the social media aggregating and monitoring service announced that it is to be acquired by email marketer Emailvision. Why would a social media company agree to be acquired by an email vendor? I had a chance to speak with ObjectiveMarketer founder and CEO Amita Paul, who also provided me with a free demo of the software, and it clearly leapfrogs Hootsuite and other aggregation/propagation tools I’ve demo’d.
This deal shows that email marketers are not falling by the wayside, but instead are deciding to get more involved with social media, as they see it is their future. And social media must still realize that email has about 10 years’ more experience, and is still key to reaching and managing huge audiences.
As for social media marketing tools like ObjectiveMarketer, I am happy that there is some M&A activity starting in the space. There are way too many tools out there right now, and in order for social media to be taken seriously, we need ways to make things more efficient, bundled with solid metrics and reporting.