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Rich Gorman: Direct Response Marketing Pioneer Cautions, Don't Discount E-mail Marketing

A New Study Reveals That E-mail Still Carries a Lot of Clout With Consumers -- More So Than Social Networking, Even; The Study Has Won a Comment From Rich Gorman

NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 01/30/13 -- According to online marketing trailblazer Rich Gorman, e-mail gets a bad rap among many digital marketing professionals. Ever since the advent of social media, e-mail has become increasingly relegated to second-tier technology status, with new reports coming out on a regular basis that claim e-mail open rates are down, and as such, marketers are better served by focusing their efforts on social media marketing. A new study, reported in Search Engine Watch, calls this popular wisdom into question, however, and indicates that e-mail might still be a pivotal resource for online marketers. The report has won a comment from Gorman.

"There are countless avenues for directly reaching out to consumers, and for cultivating strong user engagement -- and as social networks continue to flourish, those avenues are growing more numerous all the time," says Gorman, in a new statement to the press. "The temptation, among online marketers, is to totally focus on these new technologies and the latest trends, but there is a danger here -- namely, that we might lose sight of more familiar technologies that are still plenty capable of delivering."

The study cited by Search Engine Watch was conducted by ExactTarget. What it finds is that, despite the plethora of new social technologies out there, e-mail remains "the most effective and inclusive" way for marketing professionals to reach consumers. The study finds that, among marketers and consumers, checking e-mail is widely named as the first online task of the day, by a rate of 76 percent and 69 percent, respectively. The results of the study also indicate that one in four marketers, as well as one in three consumers, believe businesses and brands would do well to invest more of their time and money into e-mail marketing. Conversely, only 21 percent of marketers and 20 percent of consumers believe businesses should increase their Facebook marketing efforts; for Twitter, those figures are even lower.

"Social networks are popular, for a wide variety of reasons -- but for many consumers, e-mail is still the preferred form of direct communication," comments Gorman. "Really, it is as simple as that, and yet many online marketers believe social media is the be-all and end-all in today's digital environment."

According to ExactTarget, a big part of the chasm between e-mail and social media preference has to do with technology. Perhaps surprisingly, the article finds that only 51 percent of consumers have smartphones. For consumers with smartphones, the study notes, online behavior is completely different, and may help to explain the relatively low showing for social media sites.

The article's conclusion is that virtually all marketers, and an overwhelming majority of consumers -- including those who own smartphones, and those who do not -- check e-mail on a daily basis. Daily Facebook use is much lower, and Twitter use lower still. Thus, for the online marketer seeking to optimize his or her chances of really reaching consumers, the article suggests that e-mail is the preferred tool.

"Of course, it is really not so simple," opines Gorman. "The savvy online marketer will use a variety of strategies and approaches, and will target his or her marketing channels to match the behaviors of the target audience. For instance, while Facebook may not be the best tool for reaching those who do not own smartphones, Facebook is probably a very good way of reaching college students, or other marketing professionals."

Even so, Gorman says, e-mail marketing offers a wider range of benefits than it is sometimes given credit for. "For all of the talk about e-mail use being on the decline, this article reveals that it is still an inclusive and effective way to reach consumers," concludes Gorman. "As such, marketers are foolish to neglect it."

Rich Gorman is a pioneer in the direct response marketing field; he is also active on Twitter, @richgorman101.


Online marketing pro and direct response pioneer Rich Gorman is known for his personal brand, Direct Response, and for the Direct Response blog, which gives away countless thousands of dollars in trade secrets and insider tips, day in and day out. Additionally, Gorman is a widely praised technology pundit, social media guru, and search engine expert. He routinely offers his thoughts, predictions, and comments on new and breaking developments in the online world.

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