Will RSS overtake email as a marketing channel?

RSS seems unlikely to stage a takeover anytime soon, according to panelists at a MarketingProfs Thought Leaders Summit on email marketing held earlier this year.

Rok Hrastnik, owner of MarketingStudies.net and author of the seminal e-book on RSS, “Unleashing the Marketing and Publishing Power of RSS had this to say:

Given the relative maturity of email marketing compared to RSS, you would be hard pressed to find the same level of marketing functionality, targeting, personalization, and metrics capabilities that “come standard” with most email marketing packages in RSS.

“RSS technology is progressing rapidly, but email technology is not standing still either,” said Neil Squillante, president of Landing Page Interactive. “Much is being done to eliminate the spam problem. Mainstream media continues to report that the amount of spam being sent is increasing, but what they are failing to report is the amount getting through is decreasing. What the recipient is experiencing matters, and a lot of recipients are experiencing less spam than they used to.”

Forrester analyst Shar VanBoskirk added that in the end, it is all about user choice. “Just as we have seen with email, some consumers simply won’t want to embrace RSS. But as Yahoo! rolls out RSS and MSN makes it available, consumers will have more exposure to RSS, and marketers will be looking for an additional tool to distribute the marketing messages they couldn’t maneuver past spam filters.”

I agree with all these guys on this. Email marketing isn’t on its way out, not by a long shot. I’m not unhappy about that either, since my company (Netconcepts) owns the email marketing service provider GravityMail. With that said, however, I think it would be foolish to ignore RSS as a marketing channel. It’s about to enter a huge adoption phase.

NOTE: Don’t miss Rok’s webinar on marketing through RSS, this Thursday at 12pm Eastern, on MarketingProfs.com. Sign up HERE.