Marketers are estimating that they will spend more on email marketing and social media than other tactics in 2011. Some people view these two channels as competitors locked in a battle in which one will eventually triumph over the other and the loser will be relegated into insignificance. Rather than seeing these two mediums as competing forces, these channels can instead be combined strategically to effectively grow a business. These two mediums are becoming increasingly intertwined as marketers continue to come up with clever overlapping campaigns to build customer base and conversation.
Incentives are an effective way to drive customers to social media sites and take the desired action, whether it be liking the page or communicating with friends about the company. Companies like Dingo, Crocs and Timbuk2 are among the first movers to begin to synthesize these two mediums to compliment each other, resulting in a strengthening of the IMC of the campaign. Through the use of incentives, a company can turn its customers into assets to help market the brand.
The Ohio based pet food company Dingo, through the email marketing company Constant Contact , created a promotion that rewarded customers with a $20 coupon for selected products if they subscribed to Dingo’s newsletter and liked its Facebook page. The only condition being that the Facebook fan base needed to increase from 300 to 5000 in order for the reward to be put into effect. The goal was reached in three short days after customers forwarded the newsletter to friends.
Timbuk2 used the strategy of using Facebook applications to manage contests instead of having to build a landing page from scratch. This was a much more effective method of driving customers to the social media site with 6,500 clickthroughs to the give away site as to opposed to the mere 9 clickthroughs that were achieved by simply asking newsletter subscribers to become facebook fans.
The shoe retailer Crocs illustrates that this integration is bilateral in that social media can be used to increase newsletter subscription by informing customers on its pages about deals available only to newsletter subscribers.
Email marketing companies such as Constant Contact and Exact Target made substantial investments in social media when they bought Nutshellmail and CoTweet respectively. These social media tools will allow these companies to leverage the data from these social media sites to more accurately define and target customers. Mark Schmulen, general manager for social media at Constant Contact and a co-founder of NushellMail says that, “What we’re seeing today [is the] social call to action [becoming] the primary call to action inside of newsletters.” The future will see a fusion of channels as technology evolves to allow these mediums to support one another.