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B2B Perspective: Email—Still the Medium of Choice



Patrick Kehoe
Worldwide Director, Product Marketing
HP Exstream

HP Exstream, part of the HP Autonomy organization, is a customer communications management system. Patrick Kehoe, worldwide director of product marketing at HP Exstream, spoke with eMarketer’s Rimma Kats about the effectiveness of email and why personalization is essential.

eMarketer: Is email an effective delivery device?

Patrick Kehoe: Email can be an effective delivery device, but it isn’t always an effective delivery device. You have to make sure that you’ve got the right messaging and the right personalization in it. If someone perceives that the content is not relevant to them, then they’re likely to ignore that message.

We all get bombarded with hundreds of emails a day, and marketers’ focus needs to be to make sure that you’ve got the right subject lines, the right messages and the right content. Making it personalized helps reach specific individuals.

eMarketer: Why not just link to a white paper or a webinar registration page through Twitter or LinkedIn?

Kehoe: Those things are important, and you have to do them. What’s really happened is that almost all communications are multichannel now. We’re all on multiple devices and multiple communication forums, and you can’t ignore platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter.

“Email is a push tactic. It comes to you. LinkedIn is different; maybe you’re going to get an email or a process there, but you’re not necessarily going to see that all the time.”

However, email is a push tactic. It comes to you. LinkedIn is different; maybe you’re going to get an email or a process there, but you’re not necessarily going to see that all the time. The other advantage that you’ve got with email over LinkedIn and Twitter is personalization. You can make email so that it reaches out directly to an individual, and you can tailor the messaging and content for that person. That’s really tough to do when you’re using Twitter.

eMarketer: Everyone is on email, but not everyone is on LinkedIn or Twitter. Is that why it’s more used?

Kehoe: Absolutely. Email is the common denominator that you have. I don’t think we have a single person that we communicate to that doesn’t have an email. It’s the ubiquitous source.

eMarketer: Email has been around for a really long time, and a lot of marketers know exactly how to interpret the metrics and how to manipulate the creative to get the result they want. Do you think that that’s also why so many marketers still choose it?

Kehoe: There’s been a lot of work in the email front, and that’s certainly a comfort factor, but it’s also where people have seen the effectiveness coming in. Email has demonstrated time and time again that it can be effective. Other channels like Twitter and LinkedIn will start to add features and capabilities to be able to have those kinds of analytics and metrics, but they’re not there now.

Email will continue to be the medium of choice for B2B [business-to-business] marketing—it’s the most effective one. It will continue to fit alongside other and emerging channels, whether they are LinkedIn, Twitter or mobile communications. All of those things end up supporting those communication and marketing requirements.

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