Dangerous Extremes in Marketing Analysis

Updated: June 03, 2010

Two quick conclusions can be drawn when analyzing these results. First, the huge disparity between email marketing's perceived death and the others makes me wonder if it is the direct mail and mass marketing folks who are writing about email's death.

The second conclusion is more complex, but begs a follow up question - Why is there such a strong desire to proclaim the death of certain types of marketing?

Very few communications channels actually die off completely. And, if they do, it is a long, slow, and drawn out type of death… the kind we see in old Westerns. Take, for example, the telegram, generally considered a dead medium. Long after old Westerns featured this once advanced form of communication - which first hit the marketplace in 1856 - the telegraph lines became silent. Everyone knows the telegram was not being heavily used in the past decade - or the past five decades - but Western Union did not send its final telegram until February of 2006. After a long, slow, drawn out decrease in telegram usage it was declared dead.

It is for this reason that it is so dangerous to declare the death of a medium. In fact, modern mediums, unlike the telegram, evolve, rather than die out.

Marketers still have a use for mass marketing, direct mail, and email marketing. In fact, the idea that email marketing is being discussed as a dead, or dying, channel lacks credibility. Each channel is evolving in its own way.

Evolving in mass marketing may be a shift from using it as a promotional tool to solely a branding tool. Evolving in direct mail means finding measurable ways to boost customer traffic to offline and online locations. Evolving in email marketing requires more emphasis on lifecycle communications and behavior-based programs.

Direct digital marketing has its role to play in enhancing the evolution of various communications channels. The ability to push personalized and relevant messages to email, mobile, and Web channels with such ease has forced marketers to make budget trade offs during an economic downturn, but those trade offs will likely stay in place. Money once earmarked for direct mail campaigns or TV buys was reallocated to a more accountable, more quantifiable, marketing discipline. That does not mean, however, that mass marketing, direct mail - and certainly email marketing - are dead or even dying out.

Featured Research
  • Why Your Educational Institution Needs to Implement VoIP

    VoIP makes a lot of sense for educational institutions—and it’s not just because of the substantial cost savings. Other benefits include increased efficiency and integration options. Emergency responsiveness can even be improved. more

  • Is Your ERP Solution Out of Date?

    Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a modern, large-scale software program designed to help businesses improve the internal flow of important corporate processes and communication. more

  • How Video Conferencing is Transforming Healthcare

    The telemedicine revolution is finally happening. Experts have been discussing the potential for patients and healthcare providers to connect remotely for years, but the market is just now moving to adopt it—in a big way. Data suggests this market will grow over 14% annually through 2020! more

  • How to Update Your Contact Center Software

    If improving customer experience is important to you (it should be), then 2017 may be a good year to reevaluate the software you use for your contact center. With customer preferences shifting, the importance of an efficient contact center has never been higher. You cannot afford to simply focus on keeping costs low. Significant competitive advantages are available to businesses who manage this area effectively. more

  • Leading the IT Revolution

    The status of technology within an organization is rapidly evolving—and so is the role of the CIO. With breakthrough capabilities enabled by new technologies, a growing shortage of available developers, and an increasingly tech-savvy business user, the role of IT—and the CIO in particular—is morphing into one of strategic advisor to the business and driver of innovation within the company. more