I read an interesting article by Morgan Steward on Email Insider that commented and compared two different panels hosted by two Email Insider Summits (one in May and one in December). The panel from May provided insights into how college students use email and the one in December highlighted moms usage. The writer provides a synopsis of the differences between the two target groups that should be noted by marketers;basically, college kids (who have the luxury of time) are looking for interactivity, connectedness, and engagement, while time-starved moms are looking for facts, structure and streamlined communications. Steward surmises, Seems to me that in all the conversations we have about being relevant or about the influence of social media on email, we need to acknowledge that there is a fork in the road. Moms’ use of email (and the Web in general) is incredibly utilitarian, while students use of the Internet is incredibly interactive.
Here was my response: Marketers need to remember that e-mail is simply another medium, another way to deliver their message. The differences shown between college kids and moms is merely indicative of the multitudinous ways that the medium is used. The visual is not a fork in the road; the image that comes to my mind resembles the myriad computer cables that snake under the floor of the stock exchange! There are as many ways to use e-mail as there are consumer groups that use the medium. Just think of the television. Most providers offer over 600 channels from which to choose — not two. Marketers need to look at their messages and find out how best to convey their message to their audiences, on HGTV, ESPN or Nickelodeon, in fifteen second spots or thirty minute infomercials. Email, just like television, is just the medium. The marketer’s job, AS ALWAYS, is to understand their consumer–their media consumption habits and desires so that they can deliver their message in the most impactful, compelling manner possible.
At the end of the article, Steward re-poses a good question posed by someone at the Email Insider Summit: Have we even really scratched the surface?
If you are involved in email marketing, evaluate your data. Email stats can be tracked in order to give you information — for free! What messages or offers are getting response? What patterns can you find that can help you further segment your lists? In short, what can you do to understand your consumer?