A few days back I asked the question, is email marketing dead? The conversation that sparked had a range of opinions. Some felt it is dead, some that it’s very much alive. Others agreed that it’s evolving. Read the comments and add your two cents, if you like.
One side conversation that developed from ask whether email marketing is dead was whether email marketing is a form of interruption marketing.
Personally, I think it is. So let’s begin on the same foot by defining interruption marketing. Basically, interruption marketing is any tactic used to market anything that works only if they (the marketers) interrupt your life to getï¿½ your attention. In other words, interruption marketing is just that – it interrupts you and what you’re doing and steals away your time.
If we consider email marketing in that light, how is it not a form of interruption marketing?
Is spam email included, absolutely! Spam is the poster child for interruption marketing. You end up on a spammer’s list and they bombard you with a bunch of stuff you neither want or are interested in. The spam that doesn’t get caught by your spam filter certainly interrupts your life because you, at the very least, have to deal with it.
But let’s leave spam out of the discussion. I’d rather talk about the gray area that exists around ezines, enewsletters, event updates, sales pitches, etc – what’s often called permission marketing – where marketers will ask permission before they send advertisements to prospective customers.
So can permission marketing be interruption marketing?
I certainly think so. And it comes down to the definition above – interruption marketing being any tactic used to advertise that requires interrupting your life to get your attention. Isn’t that what email marketing does?
Think about it, you’re waiting for an email from a client or customer. You’re on the phone and they’ve just sent it. You check your email and you have three messages – the first is spam, the second is from your client and the third is an ezine that you signed up for months back.
Now you’re only looking for one email – that from your client. Yet you get three. The spam, definitely an interruption. The client message – what you’re looking for. The ezine – you may have given your email address to receive, but did you ask it to arrive at this very moment in time? Probably not. That would make it an interruption.
You see, whenever you receive an email that’s marketing something at a time you either don’t want it or don’t expect it, it’s an interruption. If it falls into your inbox, it requires your attention. What you do with it – read it, delete it, file it, leave it – is irrelevant. The fact is you’ve received the ezine at a time you didn’t want or expect to receive it.
Now let’s be clear, I’m not saying is that interruption marketing is bad, wrong, immoral or unethical. Interruption marketing is simply what it is – an interruption in your life to gain your attention.
The question is, do you appreciate your life being interrupted by ezines, enewsletters, sales pitches, early-bird discounts, product releases, event updates, etc?
And if you’re an email marketer (which I am, by the way), how affective is your email marketing strategy for growing your business? Have you noticed any change in how people respond over the past 18 months?
And if you’d like to see a great example of how interruption marketing is making people feel today, take a watch of this video.