When are "permissioned" email lists not what they seem? Tom shares ways smart media buyers can figure out the reality of the situation.
The idea of getting permission from a prospect or group of prospects strikes me as one of the toughest concepts in email marketing. I say that it’s a tough concept because plenty of people out there just plain don’t get it.
Real permission, the kind that allows for a deeper relationship between a brand and a consumer, starts with the brand specifically asking the prospect whether it’s OK to use email as a commercial communication channel. To claim that anything else constitutes permission is misleading and has the potential to do damage to a brand. Permission comes in three stages:
Once that permission is granted and confirmed, the work isn’t over. Maintaining the permission requires the fulfillment of certain requirements. A company needs to deliver on the original proposition as well as give consumers the ability to opt out of the program whenever they desire.
My point in outlining all of this is to provide some context for looking at an email practice that has been bugging me as of late -- the practice of opting in millions of consumers to a rentable list, which results in people receiving commercial email from a great number of companies. Ostensibly, the consumer email addresses that appear on such lists represent individuals willing to receive email offers from anyone who rents the list. I would argue that that’s not the case.
If you’re a media buyer, think about some of the offers you’ve recently received from list brokers and other email companies. Several of them claim to have email lists consisting of tens or hundreds of millions of consumers who have opted in to receive special offers. The smart media buyers, when pitched on the idea of renting such a list, would try to ascertain the reality of the situation.
In many cases, buyers will find that these consumers, in filling out a form on the Web, failed to uncheck a box next to language that reads something like, "Yes! I’d like to receive special offers from Company XYZ and its affiliated partners." As marketers, we quickly realize that failing to uncheck that box will essentially permanently revoke your right to privacy, and you’ll start receiving offers from anyone and everyone. But consumers who do not possess marketing savvy do not understand that. All they understand is that their email box is being filled up with hundreds of spam communications from organizations they don’t know.
Remember this whenever an email marketing company offers you a huge list of opt-in names. While in theory it sounds OK to ask consumers if they want offers from affiliated companies, in practice consumers can’t grant email permission to a company that they don’t yet know. Any opt-in process that asks a consumer to do so is really just asking them if they want to receive spam.
Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, August 29 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!
Tom Hespos heads up the interactive media department at Mezzina Brown & Partners. He has been involved in online media buying since the commercial explosion of the Web and has worked at such firms as Young & Rubicam, K2 Design, NOVO Interactive/Blue Marble ACG, and his own independent consulting practice, Underscore Inc. For more information, please visit the Mezzina Brown Web site. He can be reached at email@example.com.
The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.
The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.
September 23, 2014