Opt-out conundrum

I agree with Russell Parson’s sentiments that direct marketers have been dealing with the dreaded ’opt-out clause’ for much longer than their digital counterparts and that, as a result, far from leading to a mass opt-out panic, it has led to a vast improvement on both targeting and ROI (’Direct marketing’s experience on opt-out can benefit digital’ MarketingWeek.co.uk/DM-opt-out).

However, while the opt-out choices are greater and better established in regular mail, the physical cost of print, enclosing and mailing has historically done something to focus the mind. Unfortunately, when it comes to digital, at 1p per email there is no financial barrier to spamming.

At the same time, a cost free medium lessens the pressure to be selective and manage ROI – instead of constantly targeting and refining lists, models and offers, as DM has traditionally had to do, digital has the benefit of having the ability to point, click and almost instantly blast away at any given demographic until they find one that responds.

I feel that it is this approach that has led to such a meteoric rise in the uptake of digital (and companies that provide the online solutions to meet this demand), but not necessarily an overall focus on best practice.

In practical terms, Russell is right that opt-outs are manageable and the majority of consumers generally stay in but, as an industry, we need to work harder to show consumers the benefits of sharing their data in terms of relevance.

Brendan Tansey
Chief executive UK

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