The rise of social networking activity, coupled with texting and incessant cell phone use, has created a notable decrease in the use of email. That's what our Bedroomers told us. For many of them, key communication took place on MySpace, Facebook, and on their phones. Email was rapidly becoming a place where they conducted business and/or communicated with adults.
What does this mean for radio? As happy as stations may be when their listener database cracks a certain threshold, it is becoming more difficult to reach consumers with email. According to the JupiterResearch study, "The Social and Portable Inbox: Optimizing E-mail Marketing in the New Era of Communication Tools," nearly one-fourth of respondents report that social networking sites have replaced email.
David Schatsky, the president of JupiterResearch, notes that "marketers need to be aware that consumers are using other forms of communication and must ensure their strategy adapts to consumers' changing behavior."
This is another reason why stations need to go beyond email, and work on initiatives like text messaging, building their own social networking modules, blogs, video streaming, and other conduits with listeners. This is especially true among younger-targeted stations. And as we've seen with just about every other technology, these trends typically start with teens and work their way older.
Today, as a fiftysomething consumer, I have a Facebook site, I text constantly, and I play Guitar Hero - all activities that were off my radar screen just a few short years ago. So, keep building your email database, but keep in mind that trends are rapidly moving in different communication directions.