Lately with all of the buzz around social media, it seems as though B2B email marketing may have lost its enviable status as the most valuable marketing tool for B2B focused businesses. Social media has become a very effective way of sending a message to a large audience quickly, just as quickly as say, an email. This rapid speed of information delivery, which used to be found only in email communication, has led some professionals to question the continued efficacy of email marketing campaigns.
B2B Email Marketing: Is It Past Its Prime?
The increasing trend of social media use for marketing is evidenced by MarketingSherpa in their 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Survey. While substituting B2B email marketing for social media communication may seem like a reasonable marketing decision, there are some important factors to consider.
Ease of Communication
Social media platforms such as Twitter are excellent ways to initiate a conversation with a potential customer and drive them to a website or landing page. However the limitations imposed by Twitter’s 140 character limit can prohibit a free flowing conversation, instead producing a stunted, cumbersome, and potentially frustrating discussion. Email marketing, however, allows the business to freely elaborate on any question the customer may ask while encouraging the customer to engage with the business at length.
The exposed nature of social media platforms such as Facebook can certainly prohibit some potential customers from commenting or engaging with comments made by a business. Many customers have very valid reasons for being cautious about what they share on social media platforms. BtoB Magazine columnist Paul Gillin described this accurately when he wrote, “The bigger and more complex the decision, the less likely it is that those who influence it are sharing their recommendations on Facebook.” These customers are likely to be much more open to discussion in the more private arena of email communication.
As illustrated by eMarketer, email marketing remains the number one used marketing tactic because it is effective. The fact remains that no marketing campaign can be complete if the integral piece that is B2B email marketing is missing. Social media works successfully as a compliment to email marketing strategies, not instead of them.