I know what your thinking. Oh boy, Skip has gone round the paranoid conspiracy theory bend, but I would argue that just because you are paranoid does not mean that everybody is not out to get you.
In the nine years that I have been in email, we have been bombarded with the "next email killer", which were in order of appearance:
- Mobile (SMS)
- Mobile again (WAP)
- Social Networking
- Mobile yet again (going for third time lucky with 3G devices)
- Twitter (really?)
I am a big fan of the concept that a rising tide lifts all boats. Instead of thinking that we should be stealing usage (read as budget) from each other we should be working together to create marketing programs that deliver messages to consumers that they find relevant using a channel that is both appropriate to the message and convenient for them.
Looking at these key components in a bit more detail:
- Relevant - I defy any email marketer to speak about the channel for more than five minutes without using this word. The social network proponents would argue that something posted by one of my friends will be relevant to me. To them I point out that while he was a very charming character, would you pop around to Hannibal Lecter's house for dinner?
- Appropriate - Even though it might be legal in some countries. A text message is not the best way to ask your missus for a divorce.
- Convenient - My iPhone is always with me and I would be happy to begin a dialogue with a car company where they collect my details using the mobile channel and them move the conversation to a channel where I can get the details on the car more easily (such as email followed by web).