By Erik Qualman
[tweetmeme source=”equalman” only_single=false http://socialnomics.net/%5D
The newest flavor from Ben & Jerry’s is Social Media Mango-Tango. In an e-mail last week to their UK subscriber base Ben & Jerry’s indicated they would be focusing more on communication via social media. Instead of multiple e-mails to communicate with their ice cream lovers, they are focusing their efforts on the 1.3 million fans they have on Facebook & Twitter [@cherrygarcia has over 11,000 followers].
This has risen eyebrows across the marketing industry as Ben & Jerry’s is one of the first major brands to reduce e-mail in favor social media. Time will tell if this is a good move and if their US operations decide to take a similar tact. Speculation for the move centers on:
- Loyalists indicated they were tired of e-mails from B & J; hurting the brand vs. helping
- B & J needed to focus internal resources/reduce costs
- B & J wants all loyalists less digitally fragmented
- Gen Y & Z find e-mail passe
- Social Media success for B & J made this move possible
- Let the loyalists tell the story via social media rather than corporate
I don’t see this [aggressively limiting e-mail] becoming a trend in the foreseeable future for most brands, but for a select few they may follow Ben & Jerry’s UK lead. Below is the original e-mail and also a clarifying note from the PR Team in Vermont [don’t jump off buildings we aren’t getting rid of e-mail completely around the world!]. On a related note, if you haven’t tried the 7-layer coconut brownie ice cream, it is amazing. Oh, look at that, World of Mouth in action.
Sean Greenwood, B&J’s PR Director released this to help clear up any misunderstanding from the HubSpot post and any subsequent speculation [see above]:
“In general, I think it’s a bit of a misunderstanding. The announcement came from our UK team, who was basically sharing that they planned to reach out to their fans via social media moving forward. I think they wanted to alleviate any fears from fans who previously received a newsletter style email to think that they had somehow fallen off the list. I believe they’re still keeping email as a venue for special events/opportunities as they mentioned they might still reach out via email.
Again, this was a note from our UK team. I believe the rest of the Ben & Jerry’s folks around the globe (including us here at the HQ in Vermont who support the U.S. and the globe) are planning to continue to use: email, social media, text messaging, augmented reality, snail mail, vanilla guerrilla marketing, grassroots Social Mission endeavors, sky writers, deep-sea divers and of course… scoop trucks on the road.”
– Sean Greenwood, Ben & Jerry’s
[Source for Sean’s comments are from Jim Ducharme’s theemailguide.com]
It will be certainly interesting to see how this all plays out, in the meantime it’s definitely given us food for thought.
Three articles that go more in-depth on this:
Ben and Jerry’s Abandon Email, and their Fans by Charles Nicholls