Email v RSS, let us move on…


Since my earlier post on RSS in relation to email marketing, I’ve come across many related articles…I thought I’d point to some of these…bottom line is that Email as a sales driver has had dramatic success over the years…the debate should move away from RSS v Email and move to how RSS can become part of the marketing mix.


 


 


 Email v RSS, Email Marketer v Customer Matrix (updated 25 May 2004)


 


























Perspective


Email Positive


Email Negative


RSS Positive


RSS Negative


General


 


Email Marketer


Email is intrusive


 


Email is trackable (open rates, CTR, etc) down to individual level – ROI is easily understood, mature channel with industry standard metrics


 


Email content can be highly targeted


 


Email can be highly cost effective


 


Email can be highly designed / branded / rich content (if HTML version)


 


Viral (marketing) effects well known


 


Email drives sales


 


Email can be to easy to forward


 


Widespread use and knowldge of email (products)


Once opted out, contact is suppressed / not contactable


 


Opt out rates are on the up (normally due to irrelevant communications)


 


Response rates are falling


 


Email blocking / filtering out is increasing


 


Regulation tightening up on opt out / opt in – governance and compliance is becoming harder – risk of legal action by customers


 


Important/critical content / messages can get lost/blocked in fog of spam


 


Spoof emails creating environment of  confusion / distrust about email


 


Total number of emails being sent is not sustainable (i.e. number of emails sent out per year as a ratio to the number of recipients and numbers of emails received)


 


 


RSS provision is fully and automatically opt in – zero opt in / opt out governance and compliance overhead – zero risk of legal action by customers


 


RSS content (through topic  channels) has the potential to deliver highly relevant content to subscribers


 


RSS is able to deliver designed / branded / rich content


 


RSS does not get blocked / filtered out so that important/critical content is sure to be ‘delivered’.


 


Not just email-type content can be provided by RSS


 


RSS content can be accessed through many devices


 


RSS customer use is growing


 


RSS awareness by software developers is increasing, more RSS integration and ease of use)


 


Strong evidence of ‘viral’ (marketing) effects


 


RSS aggregation becoming common portal feature


RSS is not intrusive, customers are in control (although marketers should see this as a positive)


 


RSS is trackable, but there are no industry standard metrics yet


 


Customer does not expect to provide any data in exchange for ability to subscribe to RSS (this will change – early websites were free-to-view, many are now require registration)


 


Little evidence to show RSS feeds drive sales, but early signs are good


 


RSS reader is one more application to download and one more user interface to learn


Marketers (should) recognise, enable and honour customer preferences –  medium (email, web, RSS, DM, IM, etc), frequency, content relevancy


 


If marketers really want data (and/or money) from customers through the provision of RSS content then marketers need to provide a proposition compelling / valuable enough for customers to do so


 


Marketers have opportunity to innovate in provision of personalised single RSS feed


 


Marketers should consider providing an RSS option on current emails


 


RSS tracking metrics need to be defined by marketing industry (so marketers can clearly compare & contrast against standard email metrics)


 


Email as a sales driver has had dramatic success over the years…the debate should move away from RSS v Email and move to how RSS can compliment email marketing. Email is here and ain’t going away, at least in the short-to-medium term)


Customer


Once opted out, not bothered again (theoretically)


 


Email content can be highly relevant


 


Emails can be blocked to some degree


 


Increased power to customers to report spammers though increased regulation of opt out / opt in laws


 


Email can be to easy to forward


 


Email can be easy to add/edit/delete then forward


 


Email can be highly designed / branded / rich content (if HTML version)


 


Email can be filtered, sorted, and archived


Email is intrusive – that is why opt out rates (for irrelevant communications) is on the up


 


Email is trackable (open rates, CTR, etc) down to individual level – potential privacy concerns


 


Email inbox content is mostly highly irrelevant


 


Email subscription often requires the provision of additional PII data


 


Important/critical can get lost/blocked in fog of spam


 


Spoof emails creating environment of  confusion / distrust about email


 


Number of emails is increasing – not enough time (nor inclination) to open and read all


 


Email address obtained by marketer, and once given can never (or hard to) be retrieved


RSS is not intrusive


 


RSS subscriptions can be easily stopped


 


RSS (through topic  channels) gives easy access to highly relevant content, and lots of it


 


RSS subscription process usually requires no provision of additional PII data (including email)


 


RSS content can be designed / branded rich (although this may be seen as a negative)


 


RSS channels can be managed, ensuring important/critical doesn’t get lost/blocked in fog of spam


 


RSS is efficient – enables much larger amounts of content to be viewed from more sources


 


RSS content can be accessed through many devices


 


RSS content being provided by more and more ‘providers’


 


RSS content can be more trusted (e.g. harder to phish)


 


RSS can be to easy to forward via email (standard feature in most readers)


 


RSS can be easy to add/edit/delete then forward via email


 


RSS can be filtered, sorted, and archived


 


RSS integration and add-ins into existing products is increasing (e.g. Outlook)


 


RSS is trackable – potential privacy concerns


 


RSS reader is one more application to download and one more user interface to learn


 


Customers want choice of medium (email, web, RSS, DM, IM, etc), frequency, content relevancy


 


Customers expect content for free, without providing data or money), but may be willing to do so if the proposition has real value


 


 


 


Comments (94)

  1. Alex Barnett, an Online Customer Experience Manager with Microsoft UK, has posted a matrix that compares the use of email and RSS for marketing. The chart links to many related articles and blog postings.

  2. Anonymous says:

    atmaspheric | endeavors » Email v. RSS in the Marketing Mix

  3. Anonymous says:

    TimYang.com ::: aka alotofblather.com

  4. Anonymous says:

    Robert Scoble comments

  5. Bill Flitter says:

    Alex, this is the first explanation I’ve seen on Email vs. RSS where someone put it into an easily digestible format. Great work!

  6. Anonymous says:

    The Shifted Librarian

  7. Eric Scheid says:

    another email negative:

    The communications channel (ie. the customers email address) is in the hands of the marketer, not the customer, and once given can never be retrieved. Email address can then be passed on to "partners" and such, and eventually spammers.

    RSS positive: no such dynamic is supported in the base architecture.

  8. There are several additional positives for email from the customers’ perspective. For example:

    *) Easily forwarded to friends and colleagues.

    *) Easy to add comments to forwards.

    *) Easy to edit forwards to only include the info you want to show to your friend/colleague.

    *) Can get fullly formatted newsletter in a medium that you are checking every day anyway.

    (There are several more, but these were some of the points to come out of our recent usability study of how users deal with email newsletters, see http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040217.html )

    A negative for RSS for most mainstream users:

    *) One more application to download and one more user interface to learn.

    For expert users, email has the additional advantage that it can be filtered, sorted, and archived, but most users don’t know how to do any of this.

  9. With regards to Jakob comments:

    RSS is integrated both via existing applications (Outlook) as well as through a web client. So no application to download or interface to learn. When my email bell goes off, it’s email I need to respond to not another newsletter or spam. By the way, Bloglines allows me to forward, using email, an article I receive via RSS so how is that any different?

    Fully formated email: Real Simple Shopping provides consumers with a personalized RSS feed of their favorite marketers email promotions. The fully formated marketer newsletter is available on the web site. The RSS feed provides a brief description of the promotion and in some cases the consumer can click directly to the marketer’s site by-passing Real Simple Shopping.

    Alex.. great stuff!

  10. Mark Baartse says:

    Alex,

    An inspired matrix, thanks for your insights (again!)

  11. A wee little table showing the pluses and minuses both for marketers and for customers….

  12. Linotipo says:

    Ya conté hace un par de días que a Bill Gates le gustan los blogs y la sindicación. Bitacoras.com enlazó ayer un par de reflexiones bastante interesantes al respecto. Una, de Antonio Ortiz en Error500: Microsoft sigue rondando los weblogs:

  13. I’m turning into a linkbot at the moment…

  14. Alex Barnett has a phenomenal chart tracking some of the benefits of RSS over email, but the key takeaways for…

  15. Alex Barnett says:

    Thanks to all for the comments here…

    Have updated the Email v RSS matrix today to incorporate *Jacob Nielsen’s* </gulp>, Stuart Watson’s and EricShceid’s input. Thanks to Steve Rubel & *Scobleizer* for picking this up originally…(also had a request to have this chart included in a forthcoming book!)

  16. Hello,

    I am wondering if you would be willing to allow me to publish your

    brilliant RSS v. e-mail chart in my forthcoming book, News Feed Fun for

    Information Maniacs (Tech Fun Books). It would be under a heading of

    "have fun arguing with the marketing guys about e-mail vs. RSS." 😉

    A more or less current outline of the book is available at

    http://www.wfzimmerman.com/article.php/20040415135336765.

    Cordially,

    W.F. Zimmerman

  17. Alex Barnett says:

    W.F No problem at all!

    Alex.

  18. A nice comparison of the marketing uses of Email v RSS. The title is deceptive, since the argument is that…

  19. "Since my earlier post on RSS in relation to email marketing, I’ve come across many related articles…I thought I’d point to some of these…bottom line is that Email as a sales driver has had dramatic success over the years…the debate should move away from RSS v Email and move to how RSS can become part of the marketing mix."…

  20. Seblogging says:

    Since my earlier post on RSS in relation to email marketing, I’ve come across many related articles…I thought I’d point to some of these…bottom line is that Email as a sales driver has had dramatic success over the years…the debate should move away

  21. Rok says:

    That’s true, however RSS can be as well. Basically, RSS and e-mail are only channels, the back-end is what makes content targetable, and the back-end usually doesn’t care what channel content is delivered through.

  22. Anonymous says:

    eBookit.org | digital scripta manent :: La tabella di Alex Barnett

  23. Comme un lecteur de Pourriel.ca le souligne aujourd’hui, il devient de plus en plus prilleux de communiquer par courriel avec un groupe de clients ou de partenaires. Que cela soit cause du ras-le-bol des utilisateurs ou des effets indsirs…

  24. Alex Barnett says:

    Rok,

    Agreed: See the RSS Positive columns in E-Mail Marketer and Customer perspective above:

    "RSS content (through topic channels) has the potential to deliver highly relevant content to subscribers"

    Alex.

  25. Anonymous says:

    lockergnome.com/rss/resources/

  26. Anonymous says:

    joueb.com/news/576.shtml

  27. Anonymous says:

    website-analyst.co.il/lucdesk/lucdesk.html

  28. Anonymous says:

    Alex Barnett??????E????RSS?????????????????????????????????????

  29. Anonymous says:

    edbrill.com/ebrill

  30. Anonymous says:

    emailmarketingblog.de

  31. Anonymous says:

    streamlinewebco.com/blog/_archives/2004/5/25/75766.html

  32. Meen Blog says:

    Alex Barnett hat einen hervorragenden Artikel in seinem Weblog verffentlicht. Eine detaillierte bersicht von RSS und eMail. Lesen:Email v RSS, let us move on……

  33. RSS readers are a wonderful thing. You can read as many blogs as you wish in the same program. I’ve been using NetNewsWire Lite for a few months now and keeping up to date has never been easier. I know

  34. What is Hatch’s Hit List? Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has introduced the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (IICA, ne INDUCE Act) in the Senate. The bill would make it illegal to "intentionally induce" copyright infringement, but is worded so broadly…

  35. sdc{blog} says:

    Can RSS Save Email Marketing … My opinion: most certainly, but its better done in tandem with email. Theres some things that just do better with a graphical layout format, and RSS is not very good at summarizing things just…

  36. Courtesy of Alex Barnett (an Online Customer Experience Manager at Microsoft, whatever one of those might be), here’s a useful matrix comparison of email and RSS for direct marketing purposes, with links to relevant articles. He makes an interesting…

  37. Anonymous says:

    Carnet de notes &raquo; Blog Archive &raquo; Newsletters versus RSS : mais qui va triompher

  38. From Paul Chaney at RMG: More on the RSS vs.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Mais finallement comme le dit Alex Barnett sur son blog : passons d’une confrontation entre RSS et email, à une intégration du RSS dans le mix-marketing. Un lien à visiter absolument tant le tableau dressé est riche ! …

  40. Anonymous says:

    Back in May 2004, Alex Barnett posted a GREAT Email vs. RSS matrix on the pluses and minuses for content creators (publishers, marketers, enterprises) and end-users…

  41. Anonymous says:

    A good comparison from inception to delivery IMHO – but then again – what do I know?:…

  42. Anonymous says:

    Learning to apply a new technology is easier when it is presented in comparison to something you may already be familiar with…

  43. Anonymous says:

    Pour bien comprendre la différence qu’il existe entre l’email et le RSS, on peut consulter le tableau comparatif d’Alex BARNETT expliquant les avantages et les inconvénients respectifs de l’utilisation l’email et des fils RSS pour communiquer avec ses clients. La majorité des points de son tableau renvoie sur des articles plus approfondis.

  44. Anonymous says:

    if you follow this area. RSS has huge unrealized utility, no doubt. One won’t replace the other, however.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Useful matrix, with links, which demonstrates why the now-perennial debate over whether e-mail publishing is dead should be laid to rest. Bottom line: E-mail and webfeeds are complementary.

  46. Pheedo says:

    Blogs and RSS are a cost-effective customer acquisition tool – soon to be an indispensable marketing strategy. But where do they fit into the marketing mix? I’ve listed below the more popular online lead generation techniques employed by marketers today….

  47. Excellent article by Bill Flitter on Pheedo’s blog. I particularly like his point that blogs can be compared to white papers as a way to showcase your company’s expertise. But blogs go a step further. He writes: "However, blogs allow for an ongoing conversation. They can be updated more frequently allowing you to contribute more information and further your position…

  48. M&amp;A NEWS April Fool Actually Fools Apparently, Shawn Collins’ stunt was able to fool… for at least a little while… a few people and earned blog entries from other notables like super-duper affiliate David Lewis. Notably, the folks at Abestweb were fooled fairly well… expressing confusion days later. Urchin AND Webtrends Acquired Overshadowed by the Allmighty Google, Webtrends is to be sold to private equity fund Francisco Partners for $94 million. Some of the more interesting analysis and commentary…

  49. M&amp;A NEWS April Fool Actually Fools Apparently, Shawn Collins’ stunt was able to fool… for at least a little while… a few people and earned blog entries from other notables like super-duper affiliate David Lewis. Notably, the folks at Abestweb were fooled fairly well… expressing confusion days later. Urchin AND Webtrends Acquired Overshadowed by the Allmighty Google, Webtrends is to be sold to private equity fund Francisco Partners for $94 million. Some of the more interesting analysis and commentary…

  50. Jacob Nielsen’s written up a look-back article on the 10th anniversary of his widely read Alertbox column…

  51. Tearfang says:

    A missing email positive (and associated RSS negative) is that content is customizable down to the individual. RSS is one size fits all. On filtering and sorting its important to note that emails can only be sorted as atomic units while RSS can be sorted on a feed item level, a positive for RSS.

  52. Seattle Times quotes&amp;nbsp;Scott Gatz, the senior director for personalization products at Yahoo in reaction…

  53. BJ Gillette says:

    Some propose that email and RSS should be combined into RSS email. Instead of simply using an email client to read RSS feeds, users would actually send and receive RSS messages.

    An RSS email system would force each user to add every correspondent to a white-list. It would create a great deal of additional network traffic, stressing bandwidth.

    And worse, RSS email would present serious archiving problems for organizations that are required to keep copies of all communications.

    The full story is at <a href="http://www.emailbattles.com/archive/battles/email_aacjifjcfh_dg/">Email Battles</a>.

  54. This blog posting is great. Your views are very true. Everyone should start thinking as you are doing.

    Andrea Jasperson

    http://www.emailmarketing4unow.com

  55. Enclick Blog says:

    A subject of discussion among the early adopters. The debate is increasingly heated. The conservative faction insists the problems of spam and unnecessary email can be reduced through common sense; Ready for the rebirth of email? – Information World Review.

  56. SteveRene11 says:

    Could someone help me learn more about the RSS feed process as it appears way to complex for the average internet surfer and could be made easier with the right programming. A Blog is free and easy to establish on many sites today…but RSS feeds seem much more involved to set up on a website or a blog in general?

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  57. Email v RSS, let us move on…