4 Habbo 100m chatroom 31 worldwide communities.
5 hi5 75m general, Cyprus, Latin America, Portugal,
6 Orkut 67m Google, Brazil, Paraguay, India. Not liked in
Confused? You should be. MySpace has the population of the
USA pretty well. Eat your heart out NBC. And Facebook
describes itself as a ‘social utility that connects you with people
around you’.
Fact: spam is the biggest communication phenomenon in the
world today. So what was in my junk file over the past two days?
Only 360 messages. Subjects? Sex aids about 35 per cent,
including one claiming it would turn my bedroom life into a
volcano of pleasure; watches about 10 per cent; other luxury
branded goods 10 per cent; gambling 15 per cent; over-the-
counter degrees and PhDs 5 per cent; cheap credit 5 per cent;
Tesco and other supermarket vouchers 5 per cent; travel
offers/foreign homes 5 per cent; others 10 per cent a motley
bunch including ‘Explore Kent’, Autoglass Repair, Beefeater
Free Meal Offer and free music downloads. All over the place
and a waste of my time . . . the unacceptable face of digital mar-
Fact:The usage of email is changing.The 18–35-year-old demo-
graphic use of email is falling quite quickly. Fed up with the
volumes of spam and provided with alternatives such as chat-
rooms, instant messaging and social networking, they use email
about half as much in their social and personal life as an older
demographic will. Even at work, where they are obliged to use it
because it is the de facto communi-
cations system, they seek alternatives
when they can (including the tele-
166 brilliant marketing
the role of email as a
marketing tool is
Digital marketing 167
The jury is out on whether this is a change of behaviour, or an
age-related thing that will not carry across into future behaviour,
but once established, habits are hard to break. So the role of
email as a marketing tool is changing.
Questions you must ask and things you should do
Does your email support your brand claims using truth not
hyperbole, and admitting errors . . . lie on the web and die
on the web.
You’ll need much tighter segmentation of your lists of users
than usual to recognise and reward advocates and
You’ll need to mine other routes, like the customer service,
and have a strong engagement with social network sites.
The average number of ‘friends’ in the 18–25-year-old
demographic in the US in social networking is 102. So if an
email recipient adds something from your email (or the
email itself) to their Facebook page, all these friends are
emailed an alert automatically: ‘Richard has added this
content’, etc. So this gives a multiplier of two orders of
magnitude plus a personal intro/endorsement from the
Facebook person.
If spam is the unacceptable face then the acceptable face lies in
great Google ideas like Google Earth, which enables you to see
the earth from space down to street-level detail; Google Alert,
which searches specific topics for you on a daily or weekly basis
your own researcher; and Google Zeitgeist, which tells you
what’s going on and where it’s at in different countries.

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