Oh, woe is the plight of the marketer. With so many things to do, so many channels to explore, we often forget the one abiding truth in nearly everything we do: No one cares like we do.
We find ourselves today living in the proverbial forest, trying to answer the timeless question: If a tree falls and no one is there to hear it, does it make any sound? Except in our world, the question is more appropriately: If a marketer stands at the peak of a mountain with the largest bullhorn imaginable, touting his wares to the limits of his capabilities, is anyone truly listening?
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Here’s the thing: It’s our job as marketers to constantly assess new opportunities to help sell products and services. This is both necessary and good. And, in fact, if your people aren’t doing the same thing, you need to find new people. The problem comes in the assessment. Just because a marketer thinks something is great, if the target market doesn’t adopt it, it won’t work.
Because of this duty to assess and evaluate, marketers occasionally get wrapped up in “shiny object syndrome”, where we think every new thing is awesome. In reality, some are and some are not (I’m looking at you, Vine.)
As if this assessment wasn’t tough enough, sometimes things take a long time to ramp up and gain traction and sometimes they grab attention seemingly overnight (I’m looking at you, Pinterest.) The real danger is putting too much trust in your instincts and becoming a focus group of one. Much better to test the waters and let the data help determine the direction you go.
To illustrate, here are a few telling statistics from the latest research performed by Exact Target appropriately titled “Marketers from Mars”:

  • 61% of surveyed marketers follow at least one brand or company on Twitter, only 12% of consumers do the same. Likewise, while 86% of marketers have liked a brand on Facebook, only 58% of consumers admit to becoming a brand’s Facebook fan
  • While 90% of marketers own a smartphone, only 51% of consumers do
  • The study shows 48% of marketers use Twitter, and only 31% of smartphone users and 10% of non-smartphone consumers do
  • Interestingly, the consumers have adopted Pinterest, Instagram and Foursquare at much higher percentages than marketers. (Maybe that’s why people are still using them?)

This chart shows adoption of marketing channels and the differences between marketers and consumers

This chart shows adoption of marketing channels and the differences between marketers and consumers

In the statistical analysis, though, there is one channel where everyone– consumers and marketers alike– seem to see eye to eye: Email.
Consider this:

  • 98% of marketers and 93% of consumers say they receive at least one permission-based email per day, according to the study.
  • When asked how they MOST often connect with brands and companies they trust, both marketers (45%) and consumers (36% with a smartphone, 49% without a smartphone), said Email. Facebook was a distant second.
  • And both start their days by checking Email first: 76% of marketers, 69% of consumers.

Finally, relevancy continues to grow in importance. Everyone (67% of marketers, 59% of consumers) reports being more selective about giving companies their email addresses over the past year.
The lesson is clear. It’s extremely important to explore new channels as they become available and open yourself to the possibility that any one of them could become the next big thing. In the midst of this exploration, you simply can’t ignore the channels that continue to drive results. And for the time being, Email continues to be the king of engagement. You need to get both arms around a workable strategy and get it implemented, sooner rather than later. (If you’d like to talk with us about the best ways to do that, send a note to Jim and ask for a free assessment of your situation.)
If you’d like to see the complete Marketers from Mars research report, you can download the full PDF here.