A recent study from ExactTarget found that 58% U.S. online consumers have their first daily interaction with brands via email vs. 20% on search engines and 11% on Facebook. As a marketer in the social media space this study has different meaning to the different groups of people I work with on a daily basis.
My marketing friends will use this as evidence to support their case that customer relationship management is more than just email. Sure email is still the predominant way that people interact with brands; however, Facebook has quickly established a significant share of first daily brand interaction.
My product friends, who spend a lot of time on blogs and social networks, think email is dying, or at the least that it’s not very important. This study counters, to a degree, their argument. People are spending more time on social media sites but email is still the primary way people interact with brands.
So what does this mean? Integrated communications are critical whether you’re managing a CRM program or developing a social media product. Email isn’t going to go away and social media activity is only going to increase. Marketers should continue to think beyond email when designing their customer relationship programs while product developers shouldn’t completely give up on it.