Emailing, SMSing, or About to Walk Into a Tree?

The SMART people (why they are smart at the end of this post) at the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) are asking a DUMB question:

“Will Facebook, MySpace, and SMS marginalize the role of email in communication between friends, family, and peers?”

It’s a dumb question because it implies that there is a different course of action marketers ought to take depending on the answer.

Regardless of whether the answer is yes
or no, marketers ought to be taking the same course of action. The
answer should not impact marketers decisions to invest in these
“new-new” media — to practice getting good at connecting with consumers appropriately and meaningfully through them.

Marketers ought to  be redirecting the energy they spend asking questions like this toward experimenting with all of these “newer-than-email” media (and others). And nothing will provide answers for what level to invest across these media better than experimentation.

The fact is new media forms morph into existence on an almost daily basis—many of them riffs on media/technologies that came before them. Many offer subtly and important different ways of making meaningful connections with consumers.

To wait around for one of them to marginalize another is folly—much learning will be lost in the waiting. Learning that will only help smart marketers dominate with the media that do become juggernauts.

In some cases already (as in the guy in the photo above) devices make two of the media in the question (email and SMS) basically indistinguishable from the consumer’s perspective.

If the guy in the picture doesn’t look up he might walk into the tree. Marketers need to look up too. To quit asking — and start experimenting/playing/tweaking media plans and creative executions across all of these new-new media.

Now.. why are the Minnesota people so smart?  They’re experimenting with blogging as a marketing tool. And in a smart way. They have created a “blog carnival” (via Blog Carnival LLC) tied to their Oct. 1 summit. The idea is to pose questions (like the one above) and draw bloggers who care/know about interactive marketing into their conversation and leverage our content and own networks of readers to promote their conference. They’re not waiting around to find definitive data on whether blogs are marginalizing email newsletters or conferences (or carnivals..) they are playing with it all. They hypothesize that by offering to promote this blog to their audience i will add content to their “carnival” and that i will also promote them to our audience at rassak. They can’t be sure it will work. But they seem to have no fear .. they are trying it out.

MIMA Summit

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