Forget Social Media – Product Managers Are Focusing On Email Again

Product managers who want an audience, are going with an old standby
Image Credit: Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

Welcome to the era of Google and Facebook. Product managers have had to learn to live in a world that is dominated by these firms. They control what the users of their applications see. Their algorithms determine what their users see in addition to all of the information that they are getting from friends and family. What product managers need is a better way to update their product development definition in order to get in contact with their potential customers. Should we start to use email once again?


Say Hello (Again) To Email

So what value does something as old as email provide to product managers? I mean, email has been around for something like three decades, is it even still relevant? It turns out that it is. Email can provide product managers with the ability to intimately connect with their potential customers. Once somebody becomes a customer, email can allow a brand to reach out and stay in touch with them. Email can also allow product managers for new products to create an army of people who support their new product.

Product managers realize that they have to do a good job of creating interesting content when they reach out to people via email. The ease with which a customer can hit the “unsubscribe” button and drop off an email mailing list forever is generally viewed as being a good thing. This requires product managers to create high-quality, authentic emails. Product managers have to find ways to connect with their customers via email in ways that are deeper than are allowed by tools like Facebook that are primarily driven by advertising.

The thing that product managers have come to realize is that they can get a great deal more business from a mailing list than they can get from groups of followers on Twitter or Instagram even if those groups are what they want to brag about on their product manager resume. It turns out that email still delivers the highest return on investment per marketing dollar spent on it. In the world of Facebook, the company is in charge of the rules that they use that determine how product managers can reach their customers. The problem is that these rules are always changing and the cost associated with reach a customer is also always changing. However, when it comes to email, the product manager owns his or her list and nobody can take it away from them.


How Product Managers Can Use Email To Be Successful

A lot of product managers have not been thinking about email in the past few years as we have all gotten caught up in the excitement about social media. However, the good news is that email never went away. In fact, email has been growing in terms of the number of emails sent at a rate of about 4% per year. In 2018, 281 billion emails were sent each day. So why is email so successful? Well, it’s an open standard that nobody controls. No company can get in between a sender and the recipient.

Another reason that email may be the tool that product managers want to focus on is because there is a new awareness dawning that social media may not be a good thing. A lot of people are starting to scale back how much they use social media and in fact, many people are stopping using it all together. The difference is that people seem to enjoy sending and receiving emails. Email can also be used as a creative outlet for people with the skills to use it that way.

There are some very good features associated with emails. The technology that is used to deliver emails is something that has not significantly changed in a long time. This can be a good thing and a bad thing for product managers. It turns out that it is impossible to embed a video that will start playing automatically when an email is opened. At the same time it is also almost impossible to embed privacy vandalizing tracking tools that are so often found in apps and on webpages. One of the biggest advantages of email is that the person who receives it can consume it at any time.


What All Of This Means For You

We are living in the 21st Century and all of sudden we have a wealth of new ways for product managers to get in touch with their customers. Using our product manager job description to choose which tool to use can be a real challenge. It gets even more complicated when we realize that a few firms, Facebook and Google, seem to control most of the paths that we can use to get in contact with our customers. Despite all of the new and shiny ways for product managers to get in contact with potential customers, it turns out that an old standby might still be the best way: email.

What email can provide product managers with is the ability to reach out and get in contact with their customers and potential customers. Customers can easily “unsubscribe” to emails that product managers are sending to them and so product managers have to create emails that are interesting and which have valuable content. Emails provide the best return on investment. Social media tools have rules that are always changing and product managers don’t control how they can reach their customers using social media tools. Email has been around for a long time and it just keeps on growing in terms of the number of emails that are being sent each day. Customers are starting to change how they view social media and many are starting to use it less or even not at all. Email is an old technology and this means that many of today’s annoying features of apps and webpages cannot be included in emails.

The ultimate goal for any product manager is to find a way to get the message about their product or service to be presented to their customer. These days there are many different ways to go about doing this. However, many of the new tools are controlled by companies that control what customers product managers can contact and how they contact them. It turns out that email, the old standby may actually be a better solution because we have more control over who we can reach and what they will see. Product managers need to rediscover the power of email and take the time to dust this tool off and once again put it to work for them and their product!


– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™


Question For You: Should product managers use email along with social media to get in contact with their customers?


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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When lunch or dinner rolls around and you are hungry, what do you want to eat? If you are like most of us, you start looking for a fast food restaurant where you can go get a good meal and get in and get out. A number of possibilities come to mind: McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, etc. However, if you are like me, all of those possibilities are viewed as being boring and I’ve eaten there so many times my mouth does not get excited about the prospect of eating there again. That’s when, depending on where you live, you might start to think about Chick-fil-A. If so, then you’d be like an increasing number of restaurant goers who are visiting Chick-fill-A more and more. What is the Chick-fil-A’s product manager’s secret to success?

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