Thursday, June 01, 2006
FeedBlitzed, that is. Yes, I finally got around to enabling visitors to subscribe to new Marketing & Graphic Design ROI posts via email instead of (or in addition to) the RSS/ATOM feed. While I’m an unabashed proponent of RSS and its potential — I prefer to manage my daily information overload via NetNewsWire each morning over coffee — Fred Wilson was right a few months back when he said on A VC that RSS would have to be drop dead easy before it could replace email — and we’re not there yet. I don’t care about the intricacies of how an internal combustion engine works when I want to run out and get a movie from the video store. I just hop in the car and go. As someone who has struggled firsthand with troubleshooting a flaky RSS file, it would be nice to just “get in the car and go” as far as feeds are concerned. With only 12% of users claiming awareness of RSS — 6% if you use numbers from Forrester Research (via Rok Hrastnik’s MarketingStudies blog) — and 4% knowingly using it 1, it’s abundantly clear that even with the ever rising tide of spam, email isn’t going away anytime soon. If, possibly, it’s no longer the Internet’s killer app, email is still the Net’s workhorse. In fact, many (54%) would like email to replace telemarketing, direct mail to a postal address (40%) and even to replace retail offers and coupons (33%).2
This doesn’t mean we should give up on RSS, but it does underscore the need to provide information in as many different formats as possible so that in the ever-fragmenting marketplace we can reach and build relationships with as many prospects as possible. The frequency with which I see FeedBlitz-enabled RSS feeds appearing seems to indicate more marketers (including, apparently, me) are getting the message — we need to do things more on our prospect/customer’s terms.