2010 Outlook, Part 1: Search and E-Mail Marketing

2009 was a turbulent year, to say the least. Manufacturing and high tech took a good hit. Not quite as dramatic as 2001, but painful nonetheless. For marketers, this turbulence means more attention is being paid to tighter and tighter budgets. The pressure is on to make each dollar, each click, each conversion targeted and relevant. Not surprisingly, that means more of our budgets will be spent in the digital domain.

No matter what industry you’re in, odds are your total marketing budget decreased but your e-marketing budget increased. In part 1 of this multi-part series, let’s take a closer look at search and e-mail marketing.

Search Marketing
According to MarketingSherpa’s 2009-2010 Search Marketing Benchmark Report, “Text ads accompanying search results came into the world with little fanfare, but the real-time, individually targeted, bid-based buying system they spawned is now on the verge of becoming the dominant method for all commodified media buying.”

Search engines are in and industry magazines are suffering. The good news is that the volume of paid clicks on search engines has been steadily increasing over the last few years; Google remains the dominant player. The bad news is that we’ve seen many of our favorite publications go out of business or decrease their frequency because of shrinking advertising dollars.

E-Mail Marketing
On the e-mail side, changes are afoot. In MarketingSherpa’s 2010 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, they ranked the effectiveness of various e-mail marketing tactics. In order, from most to least effective, we see:
• Delivering content relevant to segment
• E-mail to house lists
• Event-triggered autoreponder e-mails
• Sharing e-mail on social networks (less than 10%)
• Ads in third-party e-newsletters (less than 10%)
• E-mail to rented lists (less than 10%)

Content is still king but is the hardest component of the e-marketing program to conquer because it takes work to churn out a regular series of informative and relevant articles.

The one area above that we’ll disagree with is their conclusion about the relative ineffectiveness of ads in third-party e-newlsetters. We find there are some great vertical vehicles within the engineering and technology markets that produce both clicks and conversions.

But changes are coming to the world of e-mail marketing. As the Gen Y’ers age, they bring with them new communication habits. In a recent speech, John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, cited a company survey that found most kids graduating from college today rarely use e-mail. Instead they rely on social media: texting or instant messaging via AIM or Yahoo or Facebook or MySpace. Yes, they will all be assigned an e-mail address once they hit the corporate world, but they may be more likely to rely on messaging than e-mail over the long run.

Next post, we’ll look at social media and what’s in store for 2010.

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