Don’t Do It Just Because You Can
Allow me to share Lester Wunderman's "Consumer Bill of Rights for Online Engagement" verbatim, as it appeared in the second edition of his book "Being Direct":
- Tell me clearly who you are and why you are contacting me.
- Tell me clearly what you are—or are not—going to do with the information I give.
- Don't pretend that you know me personally. You don't know me; you know some things about me.
- Don't assume that we have a relationship.
- Don't assume that I want to have a relationship with you.
- Make it easy for me to say "yes" and "no."
- When I say "no," accept that I mean not this, not now.
- Help me budget not only my money, but also my TIME.
- My time is valuable, don't waste it.
- Make my shopping experience easier.
- Don't communicate with me just because you can.
- If you do all of that, maybe we will then have the basis for a relationship!
So, after more than 15 years of the so-called digital revolution, how many of these are we violating almost routinely? Based on the look of my inboxes and sites that I visit, quite a lot and all the time. As I mentioned in my earlier article "The Future of Online is Offline," I really get offended when even seasoned marketers use terms like "online person." I do not become an online person simply because I happen to stumble onto some stupid website and forget to uncheck some pre-checked boxes. I am not some casual object at which some email division of a company can shoot to meet their top-down sales projections.
Oh, and good luck with that kind of mindless mass emailing; your base will soon be saturated and you will learn that irrelevant messages are bad for the senders, too. Proof? How is it that the conversion rate of a typical campaign did not increase dramatically during the past 40 years or so? Forget about open or click-through rate, but pay attention to the good-old conversion rate. You know, the one that measures actual sales. Don't we have superior databases and technologies now? Why is anyone still bragging about mailing "more" in this century? Have you heard about "targeted" or "personalized" messages? Aren't there lots and lots of toolsets for that?
Stephen H. Yu is a world-class database marketer. He has a proven track record in comprehensive strategic planning and tactical execution, effectively bridging the gap between the marketing and technology world with a balanced view obtained from more than 30 years of experience in best practices of database marketing. Currently, Yu is president and chief consultant at Willow Data Strategy. Previously, he was the head of analytics and insights at eClerx, and VP, Data Strategy & Analytics at Infogroup. Prior to that, Yu was the founding CTO of I-Behavior Inc., which pioneered the use of SKU-level behavioral data. “As a long-time data player with plenty of battle experiences, I would like to share my thoughts and knowledge that I obtained from being a bridge person between the marketing world and the technology world. In the end, data and analytics are just tools for decision-makers; let’s think about what we should be (or shouldn’t be) doing with them first. And the tools must be wielded properly to meet the goals, so let me share some useful tricks in database design, data refinement process and analytics.” Reach him at email@example.com.