Opt-in versus opt-out. I've had people in the traditional direct mail world tell me I'm a bit too much of a "opt-in fanatic." "Stop harping on it," they say, "You have to be opt-out to make real money these days. You're just a purist with her head in the clouds." Well, three recent news items have brought the opt-in vs opt-out debate to the forefront again ... and it looks like consumers are on 'my' side, even if many traditional direct marketers are not:
1. A newly released Forrester report reveals that unless email marketing evolves to a purely opt-in, permission-based, process the emarketing industry as a whole could "fade away" because consumers are so fed up with receiving unwanted email, even from companies they know and trust.
2. Proving Forrester's research results are not freakish, a newly released Meta Group research report also says pretty much the same darn thing. According to an eCommerceTimes story on this report, "online customers are raising the bar for what constitutes 'world class' permission marketing, limiting the number of companies with which they wish to have an online relationship to between 10 and 20.... [companies should focus on the] elevation of permission e-mail management into an enterprise-wide issue."
3. The UK's NetImperative emarketing news site just reported that European Union privacy committee members may allow each country to set their own rules about what's legal in gathering and using email addresses. Countries, such as the UK, with strong direct marketing lobbies, are leaning toward opt-out even though it could be detrimental to business in the long run. The article says, "Opt-in campaigner and UK country manager of email marketing firm L-Soft, Rachel Kittridge, said the news represented a blow to the e-marketing industry's future credibility. 'The ruling could be the difference between a bright future for e-mail as a marketing tool, or a tale of what could have been.'"
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