Stop the Spam – Time to be intelligent with e-mail

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Recent research has revealed that the UK is among the worst offenders of sending SPAM e-mails, and more worryingly half of UK companies are now guilty of the practice. Kevin Slatter, managing director of G2 Data Dynamics, argues that the marketing industry needs to put its house in order now.

Glancing through the volume of e-mails relegated to the abyss of my own deleted items today alone, this news comes as no shock. So, we need to stop the format, which can be such an effective component of direct marketing, being written off so readily as a mere nuisance because of the actions of a number of rogue operators.

Isn’t it about time the marketing industry got their act together and started to be more intelligent about their use of this channel before we kill it altogether?

The online environment is a defining aspect of modern life and thanks to the dawn of the smart phone the digital world is never out of reach. Traditional post, telemarketing and other DM platforms, while still have their place, can appear almost antiquated and can’t begin to compete with the wealth of opportunity e-mail can potentially provide.

Understandably, marketers are keen to take advantage of the overwhelming influence of the medium which has become the most powerful method of communication we have at our disposal.

Amongst the many clear advantages, the unobtrusive nature of e-mail is particularly appealing. It takes consumers a few seconds and minimum effort to open an e-mail, decide whether it’s relevant to them or not and either discard or click through for further information. However, brands have a tendency to over-saturate the channel. Consumers, subsequently, are continually inundated with brand messaging.

The idea of sifting through a tidal wave of e-mails to find anything useful is a tiring prospect and the temptation to disregard all marketing as ’spam’ wins over the prospect of discovering any beneficial rewards lurking within your inbox.

Big brands are clearly not measuring the brand damage they are causing by perceived spamming and, perhaps more harmfully, showing a lack of respect of potential customer contact information.

To combat this, a strategy needs to be implemented that weaves the e-mail discipline into a well managed and tightly integrated multi-channel approach. Marketers need to ensure they are targeting the right audience, at the right time and through their preferred medium. If consumer data was analysed more efficiently, brands could begin to gain a more accurate insight of individual customers and determine more precisely where their marketing tactics would be most welcome.

Furthermore, it is crucial for more effort to be placed on encouraging individuals to opt-out /unsubscribe from the emails they are not interested in rather than just deleting them.

Consumers will value that this decision is being handed back to them. Brands will realise that the effects of spamming may not simply lose a single sales opportunity but perhaps a life time customer. A disastrous consequence when you consider how much more difficult it is to win back straying customers who have opted out, than acquiring new ones who are willing to opt in.

Big brands really need to get with the times, stopping mass spamming in return for small short term gains. If instead, emphasis is placed on investing in building a dialogue with existing and prospective customers, they will not only respect you for it but also buy from you when they feel the time is right.”

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Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at marketoonist.com or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here

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