The Myths of Email Marketing

A few years ago, driven by my curiosity about the state of traditional direct mail marketing vs. online, or email, marketing I proposed an update to a book I had written on direct marketing a number of years ago. My publisher agreed and I had the opportunity to do some research on Direct Mail in the Digital AgeAs I suspected when I proposed the project

online marketing was becoming saturated and some forward-thinking marketers were turning back to traditional direct mail as a means of standing out from the crowd.

That was in 2010 (while the book was published in 2011, the print production timeline can take a while…). Today, I’m continuing to see signs of “online marketing fatigue” and a tendency for clients and others I work with to consider traditional direct mail marketing as a way to more effectively connect with their target audiences. There are, though, a number of myths that still keep some from turning to this traditional approach.

One of the myths I would debunk is that “email marketing is more cost effective than traditional marketing.” That is definitely not the case! While the upfront costs may be less because there are no printing or postage costs involved, online marketers are faced with challenges including finding and using effective lists (especially in light of CAN-SPAM regulations), breaking through spam filters and gaining traction in a very crowded environment.

Another myth is that your message is reaching its intended audience. Too often, especially if you are a B2B marketer, your emails never even reach the junk mail box of your intended recipient. Chances are that, in many cases, your email is stopped at the firewall, never to be seen. That’s a problem.

Finally, I would say that it’s a myth that email marketing is more measurable than traditional marketing. Yes, online marketing lends itself to a wide range of analytics that can be extremely useful. But,  because we can use traditional direct mail marketing to drive our audience online, we have much the same ability to track the actions and behaviors of our target audiences. The use of QR codes, or landing pages, for instance, can be a way to use traditional direct mail to drive consumers online where their actions can be easily monitored and measured.

The bottom line: if you haven’t tried traditional direct mail for a while, it may be time to give it a try!


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