The Future of Mass Communication
The channels we use to communicate with end-users and each other, such as RSS and email remain an essential part of effectively marketing online. Engaging in consumer-centric micro conversations, staying on top of the trends and providing users with the most timely, least intrusive and most highly targeted messages will result in the greatest benefit to your enterprise’s bottom line.
Over the course of the past decade, email has become a victim of its own successes and failures. Lauded for its extensive reach by marketers but hated by users for its often intrusive nature, the ability to rely solely on email for communication has become difficult. Today’s biggest email challenges involve not only getting your message read, but simply getting them delivered. Still, innovation is keeping email at the forefront of Internet marketing.
CertifiedEmail from Goodmail Systems helps create a platform that a sender can use to make sure their messages get through. “Consider it a new class of trusted email,” said David Atlas, VP of Marketing at Goodmail Systems. This new class requires senders to be certified before taking advantage of guaranteed delivery through CertifiedEmail. For example, you must utilize opt-in email and have an extremely low complaint rate. Goodmail only qualifies those that have the lowest rate in the industry. CertifiedEmail improves email effectiveness by delivering permission-based email messages specially marked with a unique blue ribbon envelope icon to consumers who have requested them at participating ISPs (AOL and Yahoo for example).
Social communication abounds these days. Not only can you Twitter, you can also Pownce, Jaiku, Tumblr and post messages across the virtual landscape on any number of social sites including MySpace, Facebook and now even Digg. And of course, you can do all of this from the convenience of your iPhone or Blackberry. But engaging in these social networks and the conversations therein presents a wide variety of challenges and outright problems. The viral nature of social networking carries the potential for huge successes but also catastrophic failures. A message considered spam by one user can be carried over to thousands of his contacts across a multitude of networks. The conversation happens now, as it will in the future, not solely from our vantage point as a Web business, but rather within the micro networks of our own users.
As it stands, email will continue to be the preferred method of mass communication, but alternatives must be considered as a part of the marketing mix. Newcomer (elertz.com) is pioneering an entirely new communication medium — a channel to broadcast information to end-users using a toolbar with built-in messaging capabilities. Users sign up for communication from individual merchants and receive these notifications through their toolbar. The benefit is that the subscription process is automated (important considering how unreliable some email clients can be) and you will always know that communication is delivered — for subscribed recipients, delivery is 100 percent guaranteed.
By going directly to the browser, website owners avoid being associated with email viruses, spam or scams. The downside is that subscribers and users are forced yet another download and reeducation on a new communication process is required.
As the tools of mass Web communication change, so does the manner in which we communicate. Toolbars used to be thought of as a pipeline to drop spyware; but as an alternative to serious problems like spam? Now that’s innovation.
Social networking has created a new way for millions to communicate and is currently being integrated into new spaces, such as mobile technology. Several billion text messages are sent every month in the U.S. Who would have thought typing on a small phone keypad would be an effective method of communication (much less marketing) 10 years ago?
Finding the right balance between existing, developing and yet-to-be-seen technologies is where the future of communication will reside. While most of us will not abandon email in the foreseeable future (much like we have not ignored the telephone), serious Web enterprises should be looking at alternative means of communication if we intend to stay close and remain connected with our users and clients now and in the future. Because in reality, the consumers will be who determines the future of mass communications. It is up to us to meet their needs and exceed their expectations.