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E-mail Relevancy Powered by Privacy

  |  January 19, 2011   |  Comments

Ensure that the right information at the right time and to the right individual is sent out.

Today, e-mail relevancy is being powered by privacy. "What?" you ask. That doesn't make much sense. What does one have to do with the other? Many of you out there today might fear the practice of privacy. You might think that by asking for permission or giving options to customers, you will lose customers or database size (quantity over quality). But that just isn't the case.

The anti-spam community and many marketing experts have preached the ideals of relevancy within your e-mail campaigns for years, and rightfully so. Relevancy, or targeting of e-mails, can sometimes reduce the heartache of the recipient, reducing their propensity to hit the "This is SPAM" button. Those, like myself, who have preached the relevancy mantra can usually show better delivery rates. Much of that relevancy can be done using behavioral metrics such as open, click-through, website visits, etc. But did you know that it also comes from the process of privacy as well?

When you define it, privacy is the ability of an individual or group to control information about themselves from becoming known to people other than those they chose to give the information to. It is a fundamental human right and a cornerstone of a democratic society in many countries. It lies at the foundation of the rule of law, the secret ballot, doctor-patient confidentiality, lawyer-client privilege, the notion of private property, and the value our society places on the autonomy of the individual. Things like names, addresses, phone numbers, financial data, and e-mail addresses all can be defined in some way as personally identifiable information (PII) by many privacy frameworks.

To make things much more interesting, countries like Canada (PIPEDA) and groups like the European Union (Directive 95/46/EC) have explicit opt-in requirements to process PII. This year, the U.S. is even considering having a federal law or federal framework requiring explicit opt-in as well. Many of your clients are also not just in the U.S., but have operations around the world in countries that have this legal requirement.

CRM systems and marketing process all come down to how the audience reacts to your campaigns. Yes, you can monitor the consumer's digital body language

Permission (privacy) should be at the cornerstone of every marketing process at every business today. Not only because it might be a requirement soon, but because it powers the relevancy of your message from the beginning, and impacts how your e-mail deliverability will move forward. Consumers are not afraid to dump your brand if they feel their needs are not being met, or if they feel threatened by loss of their PII. If you send the customer what they asked for (and gave permission for), then you are giving the relationship a good start. When you get permission, you have the ability to get more relevant targeting information about users, including demographics and the types of information they want.

Privacy should not be feared, but embraced. It helps ensure that the right information at the right time and to the right individual is sent out.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dennis Dayman

Dennis Dayman has more than 17 years of experience combating spam, security issues, and improving e-mail delivery through industry policy, ISP relations, and technical solutions. As Eloqua's chief privacy and security officer, Dayman leverages his experience and industry connections to help Eloqua's customers maximize their delivery rates and compliance. Previously, Dayman worked for StrongMail Systems as director of deliverability, privacy, and standards, served in the Internet Security and Legal compliance division for Verizon Online, as a senior consultant at Mail Abuse Prevention Systems (MAPS), and started his career as director of policy and legal external affairs for Southwestern Bell Global, now AT&T. As a longstanding member of several boards within the messaging industry, including serving on the Board of Directors and the Sender SIG for the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG), Secretary/Treasurer for Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE), Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) Advisory Board, Dayman is actively involved in creating current Internet and telephony regulations, privacy policies, and anti-spam legislation laws for state and federal governments.

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