Like Cherries and Chocolate Chunks in Cherry Garcia Ice Cream
To focus on social media efforts, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream announced that it’s cutting back on their email marketing. From a marketing perspective, their decision is short sighted. The move overlooks the fact that social media and email marketing, can reinforce one another as complimentary components of an integrated digital marketing strategy.
3 Reasons social media and email marketing should co-exist happily
Before eliminating either social media or email marketing from your online marketing plan, consider these three points that are validated by recent research from Exact Target, an email service provider.
- Email offers a one-to-one channel while social media provides a forum for many-to-many exchanges. Using only one channel will limit the company’s overall reach. The Exact Target study found that over 90% of adults subscribed to retail emailings versus a significantly lower percentage who were fans on Facebook.
- Email drives social media action, making it an important element in building a social media community around your product. According to research from email technology supplier, Get Response, social network links yield about 30% higher click-through rates than other types of links embedded in emailings.
- Email recipients and social media participants tend to have different online content consumption habits. The research showed that there’s limited, if any, overlap between heavy email and social media channel participants.
3 Suggestions to integrate social media and email
To enhance their online marketing effectiveness, I recommend that Ben & Jerry’s do the following:
- Put together a content creation plan across communications channels including their website, email and social media platforms as well as offline advertising, point of sale and mobile.
- Leverage social presence to create and/or enhance emailings cost effectively. For example, they could gather stories about ice cream shared on social media for an email column.
- Publicize their social media presence, email list and website on their product packaging. This promotion should engage consumers in a fun way such as asking customers for their thoughts on new flavors and names. This provides a call to action rather than a branding message.
Remember social media marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It needs to be integrated into your overall marketing strategy to maximize results.
Check out these related links:
Blog post on The Email Guide.
Photo credit: Ben & Jerry’s website
Ben & Jerry’s Katie O’Brien interview via econsultancy.