A few weeks ago Loren McDonald contributed an article here titled “Show Email’s Impact by the Numbers.” He prefaced his piece by saying that “No, this isn't another ‘email isn't dead’ column… but you may have to prove it to everybody.” The article went on to list of a series of stats that prove the power of the channel -- from its outstanding ROI, to its higher click-through rates compared to other modes of online advertising, to the consistent growth in the number of email accounts opened by people across the globe.
Loren went on to emphasize that the statistics are only an “opening salvo when building a case for email” and that marketers have to further explain not just why, but how email can drive results for their organizations by doing things like “linking email’s value to reducing calls to your call center, increased traffic to stores, direct revenue, greater feature adoption, and less customer churn.”
As powerful as the numbers and business impacts Loren listed truly are, I couldn’t help but feeling that all those “whys” and “hows” still left me (and, more importan, brand marketing executives) yearning for more. Sure, reducing call center calls and driving traffic to stores are great, but do they give email more sex appeal? Does shining the light on them capture hearts and minds? Where’s the fun factor?
I had the privilege of moderating a panel at last week’s DMA annual conference and expo titled “Ripped from the Headlines: Brands Debate the Year’s Hottest Topics” featuring senior marketers from Capital One, Thrillist, Freshpair, and a former Expedia executive. The last question I asked the panel to address was “Is email dead – again?”
While the speakers were unanimous in saying that email is far from dead, they were also all in agreement that the channel needs a makeover. These executives work on the front lines of email marketing -- they know the numbers inside and out and use email to drive big bucks for their organizations -- but still, they want more. The prevailing viewpoint was that email is stale -- that it’s been done the same way for the last decade or longer, and can use an update. And as much as I am a champion for email marketing, I couldn’t agree with them more.
Instead of making the case for email by the numbers, I say, let’s make the case for email by the magic. Instead of competing against “hotter” media like video, mobile, and social, let’s co-opt them. Here are three questions you can ask your boss today to remove that blank stare and get the green light to go further with your email program:
ROI, open rates, click-through rates, deliverability, churn, traffic -- these are metrics and words for us email geeks to worry about. When it comes to speaking to “outsiders,” take off your high school mathletes team hat and put on your Don Draper one. Wow the world with all of the cool things that email can do that they never knew was possible.