Good Marketing / Bad Economy

March 24, 2009
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It’s no surprise to hear these days about companies cutting budgets, implementing layoffs, and in some cases closing up shop. Nationally and globally, we are experiencing financial woes. To compound all this psychologically, we keep hearing the phrase, “An economy in trouble”.  As consumers and as businesses we are tightening the belt, so to speak, on […]

It’s no surprise to hear these days about companies cutting budgets, implementing layoffs, and in some cases closing up shop. Nationally and globally, we are experiencing financial woes. To compound all this psychologically, we keep hearing the phrase, “An economy in trouble”.  As consumers and as businesses we are tightening the belt, so to speak, on spending. So what does this mean for the world of email marketing? Well, that depends…

Email is, by all accounts, an excellent channel when marketing budgets are being slashed. The ROI is enticing, and creativity and intelligent design can potentially overcome a budget shortfall. As with any marketing venture, there are risks involved, but with diligent research and using good practices those risks can be minimized. As an analyst at Lashback I see a LOT of commercial email every day. I do not have exact metrics, but it’s my job to know what’s legal, what’s effective, and what is generally high quality in email campaigns. First of all, staying compliant with CAN-SPAM regulations is a must, especially in today’s economy. The last things marketers want to deal with are complaints, legal issues, and poorly performing campaigns due to low inbox deliverability. All of those issues translate into lost revenue, headaches, and bad reputations. It can be hard to always take the high road; there’s a lot of temptation in the world of online advertising. Let us look at the dark side of commercial email…

Deception, supression list abuse, and bad practices all seem like enticing ways to make up for a bad quarter. A quick Google search of “CAN-SPAM lawsuits” will warn you better than I can NOT to fall victim to the temptation of underhanded marketing techniques. In addition to CAN-SPAM compliance, ensuring good ethics in email marketing will have a positive effect on your company’s reputation in the online marketplace, and help the longevity of relationships with other businesses and consumers alike. Building lists from confirmed opt-ins, as well as proper segmentation based on consumer preferences are more likely to lead to reaching out to happy customers who desire your goods, rather than “cold sending” to a bulk list. However, if you must cold send, offer a clear opt out method that functions, and then honor that request.

It might seem like a good idea to hammer your deals into consumers’ minds, but forcing relationships with consumers for short term gain completely undermines the key marketing objective of communicating value. Monitoring reputation and resolving compliance issues may seem like a burden and an inihibitor to immediate sales, but they are the backbone of legitimate growth and long-term, lasting profitability. As consumers think much more carefully about their purchase choices in this buyer’s market, respecting customer needs takes on a profoundly greater significance.

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