For me it is like Christmas morning when any marketingsherpa report arrives in my outstretched arms. Granted, it does not bring the same joy as new Legos at 4am on the 25th but it is still magical.

I was reading the 2012 Email Benchmark Report where they discuss email’s effectiveness and overall ability to integrate with tools like broadcast media, SEO, and social media. Not surprisingly the top two channels to incorporate with email are social and websites.

Social Media Integration Channels
78% of marketers integrate social media with their email marketing.

Hey! That’s a pretty good number right? As a social media advocate it makes me smile (not unlike Legos) to think about marketers jumping up in down with glee over Facebook and Twitter. It must mean that marketers are truly understanding the intricacies of social media development and data!

Or so we thought…

73% of marketers believe that social media integration with email is somewhat or not effective. Only 13% of marketers believe that it is truly effective.

Shoot. What is wrong?

The issue is the actual definition of true sharing and data integration. How would you define integration? Are we talking about the linking of social media sites or the use of social sharing links? They are two totally different peices of the direct marketing puzzle.

Social sharing is giving the user the ability to share, forward, or “like” content within an email. Social sharing is the integration talked about in the first image from marketingsherpa (78%). There is a reason it is hard to define success. It is hard to measure!

Sharing is very much about consumer advocacy on behalf of the brand.  Data is about the designing of applications that sync with the social environment to pull and understand data.

They are both extremely important (one more than the other). However to effectively reach consumers, brands now have to understand and know the customer. Cultivation and personalization of consumer data brings the customer close

The goal?

The true integration of the consumer and your brand experience. It is about creating an integrated experience with all marketing tools using personalized data from the consumer. It is not about giving the email subscriber the ability to share a post on Facebook. Give them more choices to interact with the brand and create a relationship that lasts.

Legos or not.