Birddog

You've Got Spam

By Philip WhitingPhilip Whiting

Email. As long as there have been inboxes, marketers have been filling them up. Although it remains one of the most widely used B2B marketing tools, it is also one of the most hated by recipients (victims?). So does it still have a place, or should we finally lay email marketing to rest?

Monday 26th September, 2016

2016 was a busy year for high-profile deaths. David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, Ronnie Corbett, Terry Wogan, Muhammad Ali. Returning from a 3-day break to find my inbox overflowing with some 100+ unread spam messages, I was keen to see ‘Marketing Emails’ added to that list.

Nonetheless, I resigned myself to wading through the mire – unable to bulk-delete in case I missed that overdue invitation to collect my OBE, or a memo that I’d been selected for NASA’s next moon landing.

As a scrolled and deleted though, I was fuming.

No other form of outbound marketing generates such ire from its intended audience (apart from, maybe, the people who call to inform me that – apparently – I’ve been involved in an accident…).

Yet, if email causes so much annoyance, and is often just ignored or deleted out of hand, why do marketers still stand by it? Rarely does an integrated campaign leave Birddog Towers without the client at least asking us to consider email as a cog in their B2B marketing strategy. There are currently 251 email marketing software solutions on the market.[1] In 2015, 89% of marketers said that email was their primary channel for lead generation.[2] So are these otherwise sane and rational marketing professionals all wrong then? Or is there more at play here?

The answer lies in how email is used.

As we are all aware, the way companies are expected to interact with their customers has shifted dramatically in recent years. Broadly speaking, the story goes like this… With the explosion in communication channels, customers have much more choice in how they interact with brands. They can bank on apps, they can tweet their supermarket, they can renew insurance online. What customers expect though, is a positive, consistent – and above all relevant – experience across all those channels.

So, to reiterate, I’m not some raging emailophobe – in fact, one of my best friends once sent an email…

Email isn’t entirely evil, to be avoided at all costs by marketers. But it should fit in with this customer-first, relevant-content trend. If I’ve just placed an order with your company, I won’t be opposed to you sending me an email to confirm when it’s been despatched; in fact, I’ll probably be looking out for it. However, if I’ve bared my soul (and all mandatory details) to download a whitepaper from your site, I would hope that you’d only use my address to send me related, relevant content. No matter how compelling your offer is, I don’t need to be spammed about it four times a week.

There are many ways of making email messages more relevant. Difficulty should not be an excuse. At Birddog, we have built websites that track user tags, determining what industry or type of content they’d be most interested in. We have developed ABM models, investigating key accounts and/or prospects on social media and online to find what makes them tick. We segment and research target audiences to make sure what we send them is going to hit home…

Or you could take the easy way out and just send more generic spam. That’s fine. The ‘Junk’ folder will welcome you.

Article by Philip Whiting