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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Further to the Slow, Agonizing Death of Email

Mitch Joel offers a thought-provoking post about his recent experience transferring his subscription-based email traffic over to a GMail account, to keep his workflow in order.*

This serves as a stunning reminder - though many still refuse to clue in - that the very premise of email marketing, email relationship management, permission marketing, etc., was in fact only a hair's-breadth away from spam. Think about that: the usual email management options given by emailers are basically saying: "we expect you to want to unsubscribe - that's a given, because we're bothering you." So they only give you that option, and put no effort into the footer messages or database functionality that would make an email address change a matter of routine.

So much for anticipated, personal, and relevant.

And now I'm reminded of the (email, of course) newsletter I recently received from a well-known marketing publication. A "case study" on a test of - get this - the efficacy of a campaign to capture email addresses from a pop-up. And part of the background context provided included an explanation of how tricky it is because you have to pique the user's interest before the tip of their mouse cursor literally gets to that little 'x' and closes the annoying box. Woohoo! Little wonder that - as Mitch points out - we fight an uphill battle in terms of a negative image associated with online marketing. As long as troglodytic "experiments" in methods of capturing email addresses (to be used for further intrusive purposes) are presented as business as usual, that battle will continue to be uphill.

Will some email "marketers" still be lamenting the decline of open rates in 2017? Probably not, because it's pretty tough to decline from 0%. :)


* - (Reading stuff like this, I routinely get jealous. It seems that I went through a flurry of rabid interest in signing up for stuff circa 1998-2001, and have had problems ever since. To be "better organized," I have two work email addresses, but the one that matters gets 10X the work-related email as the nice, quiet, spam-free one. So I have to keep the spammy one. Then there is the more recent-gen spammy one, that quite a few friends use, the GMail address. And then, the "main" GMail address that I use to organize a lot of stuff including my main work address, and leads and other information sent to me internally via forms. The threading capability and searchability of GMail have made keeping in touch with clients, the broader network, and close colleagues much easier. Without GMail I'd be in deep trouble. But I'm having little success breaking free from many of the media-based subscriptions (and PR pitches) that come to the main work address. This is the state you get into if you started out in a quote-unquote "job" without adequately distinguishing one role or form of communication from another...)

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