Over the weekend I read an article that made me think and got me a bit heated. It complained about how the Martech (marketing technology) trend was like a pair of flared trousers (or any bad trend that we later regret and never admit to using or owning). However, the more I think about it and the fact that it was mostly right on email marketing, the only thing it really covered was email marketing versus social advertising. It felt a bit weak, so I'm here to drop my own beat on the matter.
And before I get too far into it, I know several respectable social media agencies right here in my backyard, and I will be the first to admit that there is nothing wrong with it. But the argument this other social media agency presented in their article came across as a bit of a stretch in order to make a point or meet an article deadline. I feel this argument could shine negatively on agencies I know who do this for a living, and so I want to defend both them and what we as Martech companies do.
Argument #1: Social Media is Part of MarTech
I'll be straightforward and say that I'm not the brightest when it comes to social advertising. It's not my primary focus. But from what I know, in order to make your social media advertising effective outside of just using social analytics, you also want to use targeted landing pages and a custom funnel for each ad so you can track its performance and how many people may show interest in the product or service advertised. To me, that sounds like another entrance into a marketing automation platform of any kind, large like HubSpot or specific like MailChimp. And both kinds have email to keep the conversation going.
Argument #2: Martech Goes Way Beyond Email Marketing
Inbound strives to educate and use email as a tool to continue to deliver value to those who make the decision to subscribe and give permission to businesses to contact them with additional value.
MarTech also includes a complete category of software that doesn't even relate to marketing in the traditional sense, but also to SaaS companies and other services that provide internal marketing tools, such as the Digital Asset Management product offered by Widen Enterprises (also in my backyard).
It probably encompasses other breeds of products and services I know nothing about, but this shows a broader category than just email marketing.
Argument #3: Despite Complaints, Email is Still Among the Best Ways to Reach People
Admittedly, I Googled for "email marketing still effective" to make sure I had the latest insight to make a valid point on this argument. Turns out, the verdict has been the same for the past few years and isn't changing: Email Still Rocks.
I personally believe this will be the case for a long while yet. Regardless of what seems to be the vocal minority, most marketers are able to find some kind of balance with delivering value via email, while a majority of consumers appear to be able to consciously decide what they receive and what the unsubscribe from. It's a technology that seems to be more and more mainstream the older it gets.
Argument #4: Social Advertising, While Still Young, Is Another Form of Advertising
This argument is prime for for an article all of its own (and I may write one!), but while social media advertising is super hot right now and only getting hotter, it feels like another form of advertising that will see the light at the end of the tunnel one day. For example:
- Caller ID and the Do Not Call List killed telemarketing
- DVR and Set Top Boxes (like Roku and Apple TV) killed the TV commerical
- Streaming Audio Services (like Pandora and Spotify) like the radio commercial
- The recycle bin regularly kills direct mailers (although a few industries still see some return on these, for now)
- Browser plugins and news feed preference menus may eventually slow and/or kill social ads (see #5 below)
Argument #5: Consumers Will Find A Way to Block It (Just Like Every Form Before It)
While somewhat controversial depending on what platform you use, I am the first case study I know on this:
I haven't seen a Facebook ad in over 2 years.
Actually, I haven't seen my entire news feed in over 2 years. How? I no longer have Facebook on my phone and I use a Chrome browser extension called "Kill News Feed" that blocks all friend and ad feed activity.
I initially installed it because, at the time, I had a really severe case of Facebook addiction and it was beyond a time suck. It was a life suck. But by removing the exact cause of why I stuck on Facebook, I am now able to jump in, check my notifications, events, private messages, business manager, and friend requests, and get out. It's now a task I do a few times a week, but I have my life back.
And for those of you who are affected by "Everyone Has a Happy Life on Facebook Except Me" syndrome, this plugin also made my life happier, less stressed, less frustrated, and cured my social media depression. :)
That whole argument was targeted to Facebook, which isn't fair to single out. Twitter has the option to hide promoted tweets if they aren't relevant or offensive or the user wishes to just block or unfollow someone (ad or no ad). LinkedIn ad options to manage ad preferences or hide a post (ad or no ad).
It will continue to shift in favor of the consumer having the final say in all advertising, which will just cause all us as marketers to jump onto (and ruin) the next big thing, just like we do for everything we touch. :)
Advertising trends have always come and always go. At some point in time, I believe that social media will experience a similar path. But the one thing that remains consistent across all marketing channels, methods and strategies: we as marketers need to consciously and strategically make the customer the central point of everything we do, otherwise we risk falling into that advertising abyss sooner than we ever anticipated.
Have something to add to our thoughts? Leave feedback in the comments below, we'd love to hear from you.