Simply the Best

(Listen to this post, here.)

Over the past 20 years, science has delivered a ton of interesting and useful inventions.

Smartphones. 3-D printing. And don’t even get me started on the burning-bush-level miracle that is Lady Gaga Oreos.

Overall, the point of innovation is to make life easier, better, more efficient.

Sometimes, however, things move in the wrong direction.

Take liquid “body wash.” Why this is considered an improvement over bar soap (which has been around for 5,000 years) is beyond me.

Whenever I visit someone and this is the only option, I spend my entire shower continually reaching over to replenish the supply, half of which washes away instantly.

My son Evan claims to have solved this dilemma by “keeping a reserve” on his body while showering (don’t ask, I don’t know and I don’t want to know). But it seems to me that this is much less convenient than simply holding a bar in your hand.

In the world of professional services marketing, there is also a new innovation that strikes me as less advantageous than what came before.

I’m talking about social media (new) compared to email (not so new).

Yes, social media allows you to stay visible and interact with people all over the world, quickly and easily, for free.

But if that’s all that existed, and somebody suddenly invented email, you’d be hopping up and down like an excited toddler who had just eaten half a package of Lady Gaga Oreos (you didn’t think I’d just mention those once, did you?).

Here’s why email is better…

#1. Email stays in the inbox.

In the time it’s taken you to read this far, posts made on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc., have already been “pushed down the screen” on all of our accounts.

Sure, they are still down below for anyone who wants to go searching. But given the barrage of posts made, they are essentially gone forever.

The fact is, the vast majority of your social posts will never be seen by the vast majority of your followers.

Of course, these services do give people the option to be “notified,” so that they don’t miss the important stuff.

How do the notifications arrive? Oh right, they use a more reliable, more noticeable medium … they send you an email!

The email inbox – which, by the way, is a much less busy place than social – keeps all the messages there until you or I delete them.

#2. Email is more popular.

You may check social regularly, but you check email a lot more often.

In fact, according to OptinMonster, “99% of email users check their inbox every day, with some checking 20 times a day.”

Even I find that statistic a bit hard to believe (I’d be surprised if 99% of adults brushed their teeth every day).

But the point is, email is used all the time by everybody.

#3. Nobody owns email.

There are no “community guidelines,” the violation of which can get you banned forever.

There are no mysterious algorithms deciding which of your posts are seen by which of your followers.

Email is a completely distributed system with nobody in charge (insert your own Congress joke here). One in which the only people who get to decide if a message is worth seeing are the ones who are on the receiving end of it.

Plus, if tomorrow you decide that you no longer like your email vendor (Constant Contact, MailChimp, etc.), just download your list and move to one of the dozens of other vendors out there.

Social media? Well, you can certainly leave. But the asset you’ve built over months and years isn’t coming with you.

Here’s the bottom line.

Unlike soap, the good news with email and social is that you don’t need to pick one over the other. They work very well together.

But, if you only have the time or attention span to do one well, should you pick the newer/cooler one … or the one that is actually going to grow your business?

P.S. Let me know and I’ll be happy to connect you with Evan directly. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What’s your favorite invention/innovation of the 21st century?
  2. Are you now or have you ever been a member of Congress?
  3. Do you use email, social, neither, or both in your marketing?

Share your answers below…

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25 thoughts on “Simply the Best

  1. Leslie

    IPad is the BEST invention of the 21st century! And if it was invented in the 20th century instead then insert ‘in my lifetime’ instead of a century.

    No and never been a member of Congress but I was once the President of a 400 member professional organization and it was run infinitely better than our government!

    I use everything in my marketing – social media, email, newsletters, website,blogs, word of mouth, strategic partnerships, everything!

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Interesting about the IPad. I’ve never had a tablet – between the phone, computer , and Kindle I don’t understand where it adds anything. Say more if you can, Leslie, about why you like it so much!

      1. Leslie

        Honestly, I don’t use a tablet much any more but I worked on the road for 10 years through 2016 and I would have killed for an iPad. Can’t tell you how many books, cd’s and movies I ordered from Amazon to be shipped to hotels all over the country. These days smart phones do everything a tablet does so why carry two? Zoom is also a big deal (or video chatting in general). If we had high quality video conferencing then like we do now, I probably wouldn’t have had to be away from home every week. 🙂

  2. Albert Kaufman

    favorite invention/innovation of the 21st century: The Grateful Dead

    ever been a member of Congress? – No, but I think about it

    Do you use email, social, neither, or both in your marketing: Yes email (social less thanks to your mentoring and reminders)

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      If you’re still listing the GD as your favorite thing of this century, then I know you are a BIG fan, Albert!

  3. Lindsay Gower

    YouTube is my favorite invention of the 21st century. The DIY “How-Tos” alone have saved me big bucks and then there are the exercise videos, flashmob videos (amusing and inspiring), and reviews of software apps (and cosmetics!). Kitten videos, no. Father Seraphim of Mull Monastery, yes.

    I have never been a member of Congress, nor played one on YouTube.

    Right now, it’s neither. My plan is to launch a newsletter in mid-2022. If I do any SME, it will be *not* be on Facebook because I connect with friends there. If I stay there.

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Good point about YouTube. Between the DIY and exercise videos, I would have to agree!

  4. Bob H

    Hands down, it is Asiago bagels.

    Countless attempts have been made to improve the basic bagel. Some were modest successes (onion, garlic, everything, pumpernickel). They are okay, but didn’t advance bagels to the next levels. But there have been miserable failures that bastardized the fundamental essence of bagel-ness: whole wheat, egg, oat, rainbow, french toast, and, of course, the two most despicable failures: blueberry and cinnamon.

    Asiago took the concept of the bagel to another dimension.

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      I find Dove soap falls apart pretty fast in the shower. But I admit it does leave me baby-soft all over.

  5. Jessica

    My favourite innovation is 3D printing. I am fascinated by homes printed in this fashion. As a former interior architect, I look forward to seeing 3D printed homes used in affordable housing for low-income families.

    No, I have never been a member of Congress since I am not an American. And if I were, I would not want to. So dysfunctional. That said, I have been a board member of my local synagogue which at times was just as dysfunctional. LOL

    I use email and social media in my marketing. I really don’t like social media much. Too distracting, too time-consuming, but a necessary evil….it seems.

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      My youngest son (about to graduate with a mechanical engineering degree) loves 3D printing, so I’ve been more aware of it than I might otherwise. I agree on the housing. Some of those youtube videos showing houses being built are amazing!

  6. Ken Lizotte

    I have been educating everyone I can to this very fact about email being “king” for YEARS. I even do a presentation with that exact title. This brilliant five minutes from Michael is the best take ever (even better than my own!) on why email beats social media every time.

    I am always astonished at how companies, large and small, rush to employ social media “experts” yet ignore building and communicating via an e-list. Makes no sense. (Insert your Congress joke here too.)

    PS to all: I am hosting a Zoomcast in April with Michael as a featured speaker. If you want to be alerted to the exact day, time, topic, pricing etc. … send me … ahh … YOUR EMAILl!!! … send to me at … sorry, bar of soap not included.

  7. Charles Alexander

    1. What’s your favorite invention/innovation of the 21st century?
    The Fizzics draft beer pourer. It’s worth a Google.

    2. Are you now or have you ever been a member of Congress?
    Does Kappa Sigma Grand Master count?

    3. Do you use email, social, neither, or both in your marketing?
    Email by a long shot. I do a lot on LinkedIn too, but just now started posting again, although I am a fan of one-on-one messaging. Probably since it mirrors email so much.

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      I will check out that beer thing, Charles! And I think your #2 makes you overqualified…

  8. Nick Fielden

    Take a sponge or hand cloth into the shower. Turn on the shower, wet yourself all over, together with your sponge or cloth.. Turn the shower off.

    Apply your liquid soap to the sponge or cloth and wash yourself, again, all over.

    Turn on the shower. Rinse yourself, yet again, all over. Do the same to the sponge or cloth.

    Turn off the shower and squeeze out excess water from the sponge or cloth. Step out on to a dry mat and wrap yourself in a dry towel.

    You will not waste any liquid soap and your water usage will be reduced by at least half.

  9. Zita Gustin

    My favorite innovation to my life in this century is my Grandchildren! They changed my life and gave me the incredible gift of seeing life and everything around me through their filter of wonder and joy! Not to mention all the hugs along the way. And, the giggles. Priceless.

    I have never been a member of congress … and wish that some of them that are there now had followed my lead.

    I have used both email and social media in marketing. They both have their place and as you strongly noted, email is far superior.

  10. Elly van Laar

    Favorite invention 21st century: Covid vaccine. Gosh, I felt so relieved to be able to travel to the Netherlands last summer after not having been able to visit my family and friends in the Netherlands.

    Nope, never been a member of Congress. As dysfunctional as it currently is, I believe many of them work their ass off to make this country a better place.

    Email. Love to get responses from my readers in my inbox. And I love the autonomy of it.

  11. Holly

    A month ago I wouldn’t have said this but I now have to say Virtual Reality. We experienced the history of Berlin via VR and it was amazing. Of course, my opinion is based on that one first experience, but I can see how people have gotten hooked.
    We floated over the city and hovered in rooms, and yet we were immersed in the experience. Amazing stuff. We are looking forward to our next opportunity.


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