Stop Loss: The Power of Attention Messaging (Part 7)

Start with Email

There are multiple push messaging channels: email, SMS, push notifications and even WhatsApp.  The best push channel to implement Attention Messaging is email for multiple reasons. Opens can (still) be tracked on emails, though it will not work for Apple users. Given that in India Android dominates, the impact is small. Email has the best RoI of all channels. It enables rich media to be sent as part of the message. Gmail users can also be sent dynamic (AMP) messages.

There has been some concern about the resilience of email and whether the younger generation will use email in the years to come. New York Times had an article recently about how Gen Z doesn’t do email: “Despite the reasonable qualms of older generations, Generation Z — generally defined as people born between 1997 and 2012 — is pioneering the return of chaotic trends like low-rise jeans, pop-punk and Ed Hardy. But members of Gen Z do seem to agree with their elders on one thing: Email. Ugh… The shortcomings of email have only been exacerbated by the pandemic because it has replaced too much: Decisions that were once made by stopping by a co-worker’s desk have been relegated to inbox ping-pong. Some people wrote about feeling a sense of guilt for not being able to reply faster or for adding emails to their colleagues’ inboxes. Others described how responding to a barrage of emails caused them to lose track of other tasks, creating a cycle that’s at best unproductive and at worst infuriating.”

My take: death of email has been predicted for the past decade or more and it is still there with us and going strong, business messaging is finding alternate channels like Slack, Flock and WhatsApp, brand messaging has few alternatives because email is the only open platform not controlled by Big Tech or Big Telco, and at some point Gen Zers will turn 25 and realise that email is identity.

In India, which is distinctly app-first, many brands tend to ignore email and I think they are making a big mistake. Daily email usage at about 10 crore people, according to a Prashnam survey I had done, is about half of SMS and Facebook, and a third of WhatsApp. At a fraction of the cost of other channels, email continues to offer the best return for a marketer’s investment. Email innovations like AMP and the ideas I have discussed earlier (Ems and Microns) promise even greater engagement in times to come.

Marketers should start by offering rewards (Mu) with their emails. Keep the messages short and informational, make them a daily habit, and become a utility in the recipient’s life. This will ensure that a hotline is established with the customer, and that is the first step to building a lifetime relationship.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.

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