Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mail moments

On average 294 billion emails are sent every day. Not every week, every day. That is, I’m sure you’d agree, one hell of a lot of emails.

When I came across this statistic last week, it had me wondering how many emails would be sent of people had to pay for the privilege.

You see, like many digital offerings impacting on the offline world, email is and always has been free.

Unlike stamps, envelopes and packages.

Just imagine how many people would be far less inclined to communicate via email if it cost a couple of cents to send one.

And as for the spam industry, well the less said the better. In fact, the minimal cost of emailing thousands of people at any given time is what gave birth to spam in the first place.

Take spam out of the equation and the number of daily emails would probably be reduced quite substantially.

The daily number however would still be enormous. I wonder if it still will be many years from now?

Last year there was a lot of chatter in the blogosphere about Facebook introducing an email service.

Much of the talk centred around Facebook taking on Google’s G-Mail service and Microsoft’s Hotmail.

I spoke to my 18-year-old daughter about it and she couldn’t understand why anyone would want a Facebook email.

When I asked her to clarify why she had said this, she rolled her eyes (as teenagers tend to do) and proclaimed that email is too slow.

Too slow!

She went on to tell me that she had a couple of email addresses but very rarely used them, preferring instead to use instant messaging services, especially the one in Facebook or good old text messaging on her phone.

Which surely points to a decline in email use in the not too distant future, as my daughter and millions of kids younger than her, begin to enter the workforce.

So what then, does the future hold for good old snail mail?

After all, if my daughter says email is too slow, what on earth would she think of the postal service?

Well believe it or not, she holds it in very high regard.

Perhaps because we receive so little personal mail these days, she sees mail addressed to her as something special. Something worthwhile. And definitely something worth waiting for.

Hard to believe I know, but this “I want it now” generation is more than happy to wait for things that are worth waiting for.

My 14-year-old son is the same.

He ordered a skateboard from a website in the USA and is more than happy to wait six weeks for it to arrive. Weird, I know, but I think it bodes well for the direct marketing industry.

At least I hope it does!

Last year I judged at Australia’s greatest showcase for direct marketing, the ADMA Awards. One thing that really struck me during the judging was how few truly great direct mail packs there were.

Obviously email is impacting on direct mail volumes. A lot.

After all, if a stamp costs 60c, then it must be getting harder and harder for marketers to justify not communicating with their customer base via low cost email.

But just as kids hold the future of email in their hands, so too could they represent the saviours of direct mail.

This generation of kids who say email is too slow and, believe it or not, old fashioned, may not like brands to communicate with them via this channel.

What they may appreciate though, is brands sending them offers and enticements using good old snail mail.


Because, like you and me, they like to feel loved. And nothing makes a customer feel more valued than receiving something special in the mail.

That’s something special by the way. Not some cheap and tacky piece of junk mail.

No comments: