“3 strikes and you are …… still in ?”

I recently returned from the US  where I enjoyed the San Francisco Giants Baseball team versus the Florida Marlins.  Since booking the tickets over the internet I’ve received over twenty varieties of emails from the Giants, the Major League baseball franchise and from various other Major League baseball teams in cities I have never visited. Now as a Digital Database marketer I’m fairly anal about providing my permission but somehow my inbox does not reflect my vigilence?

I’m a believer in the majority of times “errors” are driven by cockup rather than conspiracy – either on my part “did I not understand the boxes I did not tick “ or on theirs – In our networked society how many of us work in truly networked organisations ?

At the same time back in the UK MP Dominic Rabb  fight against  Campaign Group 38 Degrees providing the facility for people to send automated templated emails to him (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-10916309) illustrates the challenge consumers face. He argues that automated templates encourages people to “deluge” his in-box with “cloned messages” that swamp his finite time and resources. 38 Degrees argue this is what he signed up to by becoming an MP and publishing his email.

This highlighted further the ongoing disjoin that exists between sign up perception, sign up reality and on going opt-in. All our inboxes are testament to the irony that in the Digital world email permission and relevance appears to often be simplified to an ongoing opt out link i.e. send if they are not on the unsubscribe list.

However instead of using opt in as the hurdle to overcome maybe it is time to turn this round from a “Can I send it ?” to a “Should I send it ?” approach. To achieve this look regularly at the degrees of demonstrable & demonstrated consent i.e.

  • Can you demonstrate the opt in you actually have i.e. when captured, wording used etc – What you know
  • Can & do you segment based upon what email recipients have done – What you believe

Within each category there will be different sub groups and not only will it provide you with the ability to defend any Information Commissioner Office Audits or subject access request it can also form the basis for a segmentation strategy.

Each organisation is different so a global three emails and you are out rule is not relevant. However three years after signing up for various email communications I still receive weekly updates because I fall into the bucket of we have the email address ….and he’s not opted out ….yet by clicking the link ……..at the bottom of the email ……he never sees.

Social media provides individuals with the ability to easily un follow information suppliers that are no longer pertinent.  As individual email marketers should we not be allocating finite resources on ensuring engagement focuses on optimum opportunity and as an industry should we not encourage email euthenasia ?

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Stef Elliott

About Stef Elliott

"I keep six honest serving men they taught me all I know - There names are what & why & when, and how & where & who".

Commercial Strategist / Pragmatic Practical Marketer with over 20 years experience in Europe / US and Asia. Currently training for the 2012 Olympic Beer drinking team after being banned for testing positive for lager in 2008