Adventures in Mobile Marketing

Is Email the Manual Transmission of the Internet?

I was thinking of this metaphor today- almost everyone in my family drives stick shift. They buy a new car, and it’s manual transmission. I have never really questioned this until I borrowed my Mom’s Element up in Tahoe. I wanted a few friends to drive it on the way back so I could nap, and none of them knew how to drive stick. In asking around- why do you buy a new car with stick, if automatic is an innovation, I hear the following:

“It’s less maintenance down the road if it’s manual transmission.”
“It’s less expensive.”
“You have more control.”

Funny, those things could be said of email marketing, in relationship to social media marketing, or other new technical innovations in the marketing field. The bells and whistles of new adoption- iPhone apps, Facebook Apps, Twitter – all include methods, somewhere of getting on an email list, or at least email notification. Even FarmVille leverages an opportunity to get your email address. So email, if it is the low-tech solution to many, is still sticking around as a kind of underlying layer of customer contact. And, it’s preferred by many marketers who want to build relationships that were started in other channels.

For all those new channels acquiring email addresses- I wonder if they’re going to use them in a way that maximizes the worth of the email’s value. But hey, you get a car, and if you don’t change the oil once in a while it doesn’t matter if it’s stick or automatic!

Why Stick?
One thing about driving stick, it’s great for rapid acceleration while merging onto freeways, and downshifting for grades and conditions.

Email is excellent for release statements, ways of controlling the time and ways that customers come back to your site or recognize your brand/store. The timing aspect, maneuverability and flexibility is there when you’re choosing when and how to contact your customers.

Knowing How
No benefits of driving stick are really there if you don’t know the basics. And that’s of course, very true with email. The big four aspects of email contact must be there:

- courteous and ethical subscription processes
- similar processes for unsubscription
- targeted and meaningful messaging
- acceptable frequency

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Written on Friday, 09. April 2010 at 15:07 In the category campaigns, techniques. Follow the comments via RSS here: RSS-Feed. Share on FriendFeed

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3 Comments

  1. Great analogy! I too have driven stick my entire driving life (for all the reasons you mentioned) and wouldn’t drive anything else. At first I was wondering how far you’d have to stretch to make email marketing fit the metaphor, but you hit it spot on.

    I love the control, speed, and reach of email marketing. If I want to run a sale a make some extra cash, I have the resources in my list to do so. If I want to find new partners or affiliates, my list is there for me.

    Comment: Gregg B – 24. May 2010 @ 2:21 pm

  2. I would definitely agree with the comparison on this post. Driving a manual transmission vehicle gives the driver a more controlled, and in my opinion, personal, experience. Much like an email!

    Comment: SEO Essex – 20. July 2010 @ 1:04 am

  3. Finding cheap email marketing is more important than it ever has been before. Shall we run down the reasons? Let’s see… the economy is slow… unemployment is high… consumers are cautious and weary… and you still have a business to run, with a product to sell or a service to promote. Cheap email marketing can be just as effective…

    Comment: thomas james – 23. September 2010 @ 7:41 pm

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