The first time I saw the Internet displayed was in 1995 at a Hamilton-Avnet open house for customers in the Boston area. Tom Thorsen, vice president of marketing and communications, showed me the ropes. He described an exciting method to communicate and sell products. And he was right.
Remembering that now, the Internet kind of looked like a simple PDF. It was not very interactive. I really remember the day because I could see the future as to how companies might use the system to market themselves. I sure could not imagine the explosion and impact it has had on the world… and it was really only a few years ago that the names Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn became ingrained in our vocabulary. Since the early to mid-1990s, I have probably sent and received 8 zillion emails.
One interesting question I have been asked a few times: How do I reach a busy executive like you? My answer: A letter. I get only a few direct mail pieces and probably one or two letters per week. I get 300+ emails a day, so old-school snail mail works, because it breaks through the noise. Send a third mailer, and you will really have me.
Avnet employees receive approximately 2 million emails per day, 87 percent of which are determined to be spam, which is filtered out by special software (thank goodness) by our IT folks. I feel like I get the 13 percent left. I sit at my computer way too long deleting emails when I should be out meeting with people or at least taking a nap. My guess is I spend 20 minutes a day deleting spam x 300 days = 100 hours… geez , two-plus weeks a year? How about you?
I shake my head when I see marketers placing too much emphasis on digital efforts. Yeah, I know it's free to send, and you can measure the analytics and ROI. What you can't measure is how many people are pissed off because you sent the damn email, or if your company name is put in the back of your potential clients' brain as a spammer. I will never understand why companies and people don't brand themselves with advertising, PR, or going to or sponsoring an event more. Maybe someone will email you or even call for more information or order something… hmm, that would be novel. In my opinion, branding does not happen sending emails.