Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Social Media vs Email: Ben & Jerry’s Case Study

Couple of weeks ago I visited the Foum E-Marking in Paris. As I have said in a previous post, I have been pretty deceived about the fair, as I did not see much innovation whereas the market is constantly evolving, toward more social media. @joelbirch said on Twitter it was both funny and scary, and I must agree.

I found this very interesting article on social media.

It is very interesting for 2 reasons:

  • It explains the reasons why Ben & Jerry’s shifted from email to social media strategy.

  • It is an example of a food company using social media, which remains rare.

Ben & Jerry’s decided to stop their emailing program, and to switch its effort onto social media.

Now Ben & Jerry’s count 1,3 million fans on Facebook. Nevertheless, some customers are not happy as they would rather receive offers via email than logging in Facebook.

In terms of customer relationship management, social media offers a great opportunity to bond with customers. But in this specific case, it is bad the fact that Ben & Jerry’s is ignoring a large part of its customers.

On the company’s side, there is one thing which needs to be seen: Emailing are pushed marketing campaign, while social media is pull: That means it does not exactly respond to the same problematic…

Now, does it mean that emailing is dead?
Some people are really thinking it might. In a rea with other media of communication like Facebook, Twitter, Instant messaging, it is difficult to picture the future of emailing. Now, of course, I know that a lot of people will say that over time no communication media disappeared, they tend to add up. But emailing might be considered as a part of microblogging activities (this is just a thought).

Emailing, on the company’s side has great strengths: It is easy to get data and measure the return on investment it might get.

Social media may also be a “push marketing” tool, as updates are getting inside fan’s data feed.

I believe that Ben & Jerry’s decision might be a little bit extreme, and emailing still has a bright future ahead of him, for at least couple of things. But it is very interesting to see how Ben & Jerry’s are using this new medium.