There's no doubt about it, e-everything has transformed the way we do business. We have email, e-newsletters, ecommerce - and lots of things that don't begin with e but are still electronic: websites, blogs, social media, video, laptops, smartphones, etc.
All these bring enormous benefits in terms of speed, ease of use, ease of reach and cost-effectiveness. But do you ever feel we are losing our sense of balance? Are we in danger of becoming too seduced by the charms of the e-world?
It was Christmas that made me think about this a bit harder. Like many people, in recent years we have turned to emails to send out cheery messages of glad tidings and great joy at Christmas. And we're on the receiving end of a fair few. But are they a good substitute for the traditional, hand-written card? I decided "not in all cases" so this year we took a step back into the dark ages and sent some of our contacts cardboard by snail mail!
Here's my 3 reasons why:
- It's more personal - the email versions are obviously sent as volume mailings, personalised by machine if at all. I like the idea that someone has taken the trouble to write me a card.
- It's more visible - email is fleeting, transient. Seen for seconds and deleted. I love the decorative effect of Christmas cards - having them on display is all part of the fun.
- It's bucking a trend - if everyone else is opting for email then sending a real card stands out and gets you noticed. And I don't really buy the 'better for the environment' argument - if it wasn't cheaper and easier than writing and sending a card most people wouldn't give a Christmas fig about the environment!
Sending greetings by email clearly has a role to play - especially when the message makes best use of the medium, with a animation or game for example. I love email communications. But my thoughts about Christmas cards can also be carried over into our choices about marketing communications for the rest of the year too. Especially when it comes to adding a personal touch and standing out from the crowd.
If you spend a lot of time at a computer, in the e-world, then it is easy to assume everyone else does too. This is a fatal mistake - as we've said before, you are not your client. You need to be aware of the preferences and habits of your target audience. Mixing up your media, integrating the more traditional methods with the new, will give you more opportunities to be seen and get known.
One size does not fit all!
What do you think about sending and receiving cards vs emails? And do you think differently if you're male rather than female? Another factor to consider in your targeting of marketing communications!