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A good e-communications service is more than just supplying email addresses A Manager's View Direct Response October 2007

Some people will be thinking “Is it?” and others will be thinking “Of course it is!” and that is the point I’m trying to make – there seems to be little consistency in the definition of good e-communication.

We all seem to know what a ‘bad’ e-communications is – the terms ‘spam’ and ‘junk email’ are commonplace (normally associated with discounted pharmaceutical drugs, enlarged body parts and lonely women from Eastern Europe!) and, dare I say it, we all know what our Data Protection obligations are, but is that it?

Maybe it’s stating the obvious but from my own experiences with e-list owners it does seem that some think a ‘good’ e-communication is simply an email that complies with Data Protection legislation.

Professional marketers like us think it extends to more than that. It’s no good rushing to market with your offering and risking it being a short product life cycle. It's about listening to the market, taking responsibility for what people receive and making sure it’s relevant. It might even mean turning away a sale to protect the integrity of your service. Basically, it’s ensuring e-communications are successful for both the sender and the recipient. Remember, with an e-communications service both the sender and the recipient are your customers, you wouldn’t have one without the other and they should be treated and respected as such.

We get involved in educating our clients to get the best out of their e-communications. There’s a lot written about how to get around ‘spam filters’ but this shouldn’t be about conning company servers, it should be about NOT conning the recipient. After all, you could get your e-communication through the most stringent spam filters in the world but ultimately, it is the recipient who decides whether an e-communication is ‘spam’ or ‘junk’.

There’s also the issue of understanding the various methods of e-delivery. Different organisations have different ways of interpreting and reporting a bounce. For example, the NHS and other public sector organisations have a multi-tier system of e-delivery. Knowing how this works in-depth is essential to the successful delivery of individual e-communications and any post e-communications reporting.

In conclusion, us professional marketers think a good e-communications service IS more than just supplying email addresses and complying with Data Protection. But let’s not settle for good – let’s aim for excellent. We have a duty to protect the reputation of e-communications and to preserve their use in today’s and tomorrow’s communication environment.

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