Handling Corporate Spam Concerns

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One common complaint we hear from corporate marketing managers looking to use e-mail as a channel is concern of looking like a spammer. These prospects are surprised when we tell them they could be acting like a spammer, thus getting treated as such. If you don't want your company to look like a spammer, don't act like one.

However, these companies don't know they act like spammers, and they lack systems capable of doing anything about it even if they did know.

Many companies don't realize their customers find it difficult to unsubscribe, change preferences or profiles, get removed or join appropriate lists. They don't know ISPs receive spam complaints from their customers. They don't know four different marketing teams just e-mailed that loyal customer four upsell offers on the same day. They don't know the IT department of their biggest customer just blocked their newsletter, and they continue to send e-mail to thousands of bad e-mail addresses and pay for it.

I could go on, but you see the waste of money, resources and reputation that is happening here. So, shame on the corporate marketing manager? No.

Shame on the leading e-mail vendors for making corporate marketers use first-generation e-mail applications built six to eight years ago.

Leading e-mail vendors failed to invest in product development and new technology, possibly as a result of the bubble burst and struggling economy. Whatever the reason, these outdated systems were built to "upload a list and blast," as this was the main (and only) objective of e-mail marketing when it was introduced in the late 1990s. These simple applications were never meant to provide comprehensive messaging management and visibility across the entire enterprise.

Though these vendors have good intentions and are just trying to make e-mail a popular marketing channel, they fail to realize they are fueling today's spam problem. Instead of providing relief to corporate marketing managers, they are creating headaches and hurting the channel.

Like CRM applications, e-mail relationship management applications use a relational database management system that is designed to meet the unique requirements and workflow of managing e-mail activities across the enterprise. This architecture provides a foundation for the delivery of sophisticated features such as spam-complaint management, global suppression files and customer-specific reporting and analytics. ERM platforms also give corporate marketing managers real-time visibility to e-mail delivery and ISP compliance. And they have system administration features so marketing managers can assign permissions by department or user for activities like template design, list management or reporting access, for example.

The first step for corporate marketing managers to implement strategic e-mail programs and policies is getting comprehensive visibility. For example, we signed a company recently that after sending its first newsletter on the ERM platform was stunned to realize that one of its biggest customers was blocking the newsletter.

This business-to-business software company knew it always had some bounces, but lacked detailed reporting identifying the companies that were blocking it. One phone call to the customer got the block removed immediately. For almost a year, none of the contacts in the company's largest customer received an e-mail from it, and the company had no idea.

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