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Email Marketing vs Social Media Marketing

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This blog post answers the following questions:

  1. With the high popularity of social media marketing, is email marketing still important?
  2. Is social media marketing really effective?
  3. What are the strengths and weaknesses in email marketing and social media marketing?


A report entitled ‘The Collaborative Future’ by ExactTarget and CoTweet discovers that

  • 93% of U.S. online consumers are email subscribers (U.S. consumers who receive at least one permission-based email a day)
  • Only 38% of U.S. online consumers are FANS (U.S. consumers with a Facebook account who have become a FAN (i.e. LIKE) at least one brand on Facebook)
  • Only 5% of U.S. online consumers are followers (U.S. consumers with a Twitter account who follow at least one brand on Twitter)



Strength Comparison:

  • Strengths of Email marketing include ‘Familiarity, manageability, trust & privacy, relevancy, exclusivity’.  Email is the most broadly-used communication channel compared to Twitter and Facebook, and is likely to drive increased purchase intent among the largest number of online consumers.
  • Strengths of Facebook marketing include ‘connection, self-expression, entertainment, discovery control’.  Facebook is the least-effective channel to drive increased purchase behavior.
  • Strengths of Twitter marketing include ‘influence, brevity, accessibility, interaction and versatility’.  It is the channel most likely to drive increased purchases and recommendations after a consumer chooses to become a brand’s follower.


The report indicates that email is the best channel for reaching and retention of customers but ranks low for customer acquisition. Facebook and Twitter on other hand are far superior for customer acquisition and rank lower on reach and retention.

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