Email and Other Marketing Media: A Comparison

Happy April Fool’s Day!

Hopefully you’ve thought of some good pranks to play on your colleagues and friends. Our agency is infamous for practical jokes. You can be assured my guard will be up today.

Comparing Email With Other Marketing Media

OK, let’s get down to business. Today’s column explores the differences between email — the killer app — and other marketing media. These comparisons are meant to spark discussion and debate, so I look forward to your feedback.

There’s a time and a place for each medium. Often, combining two or more can be complementary, depending upon your goals.

When mixing media, it’s important to bring your brand strategy and execution together. Carefully integrate offline and online efforts.

The Virtues of Email, the Killer App

Email is highly trackable.

Email can become an integral part of the relationship you have with your prospects and customers.

Email marketing can be extremely cost-effective if you clearly define your goals and expectations with regard to cost per lead.

Email allows you to manage undeliverable messages in a cost- and time-efficient manner.

Bounces are quickly identified. You can correct the problem and resend the message inexpensively and painlessly.

Email drives sales.

Email provides quick lead generation.

Email allows you to test quickly and inexpensively.

Email is an opportunity for customer dialogue.

Email can help build your brand.

Email is fun (OK, getting a bit punchy here, but extolling all of these virtues is making me giddy!).

You can find a more comprehensive article on this subject here.

Direct Mail

Direct mail is frequently compared to email.

A report released by GartnerG2 last week suggests email marketing will threaten direct mail by 2005. Gartner suggests direct mail has peaked, while permission-based email marketing will continue to grow in acceptance. Some industry observers say the report is flawed, as it compares two forms of marketing not yet on equal footing. Louis Mastria, director of internal and public affairs for the Direct Marketing Association, is among the dissenters. “It’s too premature to make the assumption that people can go from direct mail to email,” he said.


Almost everyone listens to radio. According to the Radio Advertising Bureau, radio reaches 77 percent of consumers daily, 95 percent of consumers weekly. A radio media buy can cast a very wide net, especially if you’re buying network time across stations. Radio is great for brand building and can be good for direct response. People can be moved from radio to online. We have a client doing that successfully.

Broadcast TV

Sometimes referred to as a “shotgun” medium, TV is great for reaching a lot of people. You can target a demographic and plan media “weight” according to your campaign’s goals. For instance, if you are doing an image and awareness campaign, your media weight would be considerably less than if your campaign had a sense of urgency, such as a going-out-of-business sale. Broadcast TV is an established brand-builder. Like radio, people can be moved from television to online.

Cable TV

Cable TV is more targeted than broadcast. You can buy by cable system. If you’re in a metropolitan area and have broadcast television (without cable) in your media mix, your media weight would probably be more balanced by adding cable TV into the mix. The demographics of broadcast and cable TV vary, which must be taken into account.

Print and Outdoor

Advertising in newspapers, magazines, and other print media can build brand awareness. You can build a call to action in the creative. Other opportunities include advertorials. Print can be expensive on a cost-per-lead basis. It’s also hard to track.


Telemarketing can be effective — or not — depending on your target audience. Everyone will agree telemarketing is intrusive. On a cost-per-lead basis, it can also be expensive.

There Are Many Variables

This is hardly a comprehensive list of media opportunities for your marketing mix; it’s intended as an overview. Many variables are involved in each and every marketing effort — this is “top line” information.

I hope you consider adding or augmenting email to your current marketing mix.

April Fool’s Contest

Hey — let’s have a contest. Email me your favorite prank. The most entertaining entry receives a copy of the book “Permission-Based E-Mail Marketing That Works!

Have a great week!


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