Continuing the discussion of disruptive media from July 12’s “Upsidedownland: How many industries has the Internet disrupted?“, today we look at some digital media tools and tactics that are being pushed out by other emerging media trends in an interview with digital thought leader, Steven Brita, VP, eCommerce and Digital Strategy at Atlantic Coast Media Group (ACMG).
Today, the “tried and true” new media of just a few years ago are themselves getting replaced and having to adapt to even newer media.
Texting and social media displace email
A prime example I brought up in my interview with Steven Brita is email. Formerly the top go-to customer retention marketing method for most digital marketers and a must-have for ecommerce, personal email use is diminishing as mobile devices, Facebook and texting are rising.
As a Gen Xer, my own email has dropped from having 4 to 5 email addresses that I check multiple times a day to just two that I check regularly, my work email that I am required to check and one home email I now check several times a week only.
This trend is borne out by a recent Harte-Hanks report outlining that “email open rates fell to 17% on average in 2010, down 9 percentage points from 26% in 2009. The pharmaceutical and government sectors recorded the highest open rates during the year, whereas the tech sector recorded the lowest.”
Brita concurs, explaining that the trend is accelerating with Gen Y and particularly the Millennials:
“Most of the generation behind us does not use email at all. Some universities do not even issue email addresses to incoming students anymore.”
So what is the best retention method today to replace email? Brita recommends the following integrated digital strategy for outbound communications to and with customers:
- Tie together web, social and email together through an integrated retention program.
- Cross-promote the three channels. For example, say you put together some content regarding protecting yourself from skin damage in the sun.
- You should load the content on our website, add teaser copy in a Twitter tweet, post it on Facebook and your blog, send an email and a text message, and issue a print release.
Liking is displacing Linking: Social media displaces web sites
Continuing the discussion on retention, we talked about the difference in traffic-driving strategies required today.
Just a few years ago, it was all about linking to your site. Now “like” is becoming the new “link” strategy, as it is more important to build a credible and “likable” brand in social media. This video describes the issue:
Brita expands on this, stating:
“Strategy from retention used to be drag back to the site. Now content has to be out there in social and not just your site. Don’t require people to go back to your site and register.”
A Web Site May Not Be Necessary Anymore
Over the past decade, I have had to come into many businesses who had spent exorbitant sums building a complex and expensive web site that did not function well and that they were not capable of maintaining and updating properly. This is common among businesses both large and small, since having a web site has been standard practice for the past ten years. Therefore, somehow money was scraped together to build expensive sites.
However, Brita suggests the shocking concept that even marketers versed in online are just beginning to understand: “If you’re a new company, you may not even need to launch a web site. You could run your whole business on Facebook or social media.”
How can this be? With shopping carts for Facebook, customizable templates for WordPress blogs, alerts on Twitter, and ability to customize your company’s entry on Yelp and other social media like Craigslists, small businesses in particular, but even some medium-sized ones could skip formal web sites altogether.
With all the plug-ins and functionality available via social media, including even shopping carts, contacts, coupon delivery, contests and polls, and more, some companies may not have to build their own site at all. And open source content management systems make those that still need a site able to skip building totally custom sites anymore. What a change a decade makes!
And speaking of launching web sites, even that has changed, explains Brita. Today there is “no such thing as a ‘big launch’ in the digital space anymore. It’s all iterative” in that you go ahead and launch what you have ready at the time, then keep adding and constantly improving your never-completed web site. Web sites are a journey that never ends.
A QUESTION TO MY READERS: So what formerly emerging digital media have you substituted for an even newer media, either personally or professionally?
– Michele Bartram
The interviewee was Steven Brita, VP, eCommerce and Digital Strategy at Atlantic Coast Media Group (ACMG) in New Jersey. ACMG is a
direct to consumer marketer of proprietary nutritional supplement and skin care brands. ACMG’s products are marketed in print, television, online, radio and direct mail advertising channels. Sample brands include Hydroxatone, Bellaplex, Arctic Essentials, Hydrolyze and Celtrixa.