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BizReport : Social Marketing : March 11, 2010

Email and social networks - the perfect partnership

Far from ousting email from marketers' toolboxes, social media is being used to enhance its effectiveness, as eConsultancy's latest Email Marketing Industry Census discovered.

by Helen Leggatt

Email remains a popular tool, accounting for around 17% of the digital marketing budgets of the 900 digital marketers surveyed by eConsultancy. The overriding driver of investment is its return on investment - three-quarters of respondents cited email as "excellent" or "good" in this respect.

However, more and more marketers are eyeing up social media - will this oust email? Apparently not. Most marketers see email as an opportunity to encourage the sharing of content via social networks via links such as ShareThis and SWYN. Currently, 37% of companies and just under a third are planning to do so, found eConsultancy.

Earlier this month, Merkle released data that showed email and social networks work well together. Their survey of over 3,000 U.S. adults age 18+ found that time spent with personal, or social, email had not changed in the twelve months leading up to the time of the survey in the fall of 2009. Instead, 71% of respondents still reported spending 20 minutes or more, each week, with email.

In fact, contrary to what some might believe, Merkle found that active social networkers check their email inboxes far more regularly than those who spend less time on social networks. Forty-two percent of social networkers check their email account four or more times a day, compared to just 27% of their non-networked counterparts.

"While people are moving to social networks in significant numbers to communicate with family and friends, email remains their primary storehouse and conduit for commercial information," said Stefan Tornquist, US Research Director, Econsultancy, in the report.

"That relationship will continue and is likely to flourish in the social age - companies that have already grasped the changing nature of the brand-consumer relationship should realize that this change doesn't simply affect those traditional tactics which are no longer working as well as they did. As an industry, we need to get ahead of the opportunity, and make email a primary and genuinely two-way channel of value to our customers."

Tags: email marketing, social media, social networks

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