The trouble with email opt-outs – they are killing what’s left of email marketing

We had an employee recently depart our company and agreed to forward emails to the employee’s personal email for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks the emails were then redirected to an address back at our company. I was assured by the former employee that the individual had opted out of newsletters and sea of emails they received on a daily basis (many, many emails), yet the deluge continued.

So I opted out on the employee’s behalf. That stemmed some of the tide but far from all of it. What began as a desire to simply stop the madness ended being a study in deception. I have come to realize that despite best practices being an easy email opt-out (most of the companies did have this procedure) there were a good number of companies that did not have an easy opt-out, and even more that ignored the opt-out request by continuing to send daily emails even after an acknowledgment was sent saying ‘sorry to see you go’. Those companies are not only breaking the law, they are taking down the medium day by day.

Our company supports email marketing to current customers as well as those would-be customers that have opted in to receive more information. We rarely use email as a customer acquisition tool. And for the Generation Y folks and Millennials email is a passé form of communication. It is seen as an irrelevant communication tool and my recent experience only goes to support that notion. And ask for an email address from someone and you are 6 times more likely to get it than to get access to their Facebook account. Pretty easy to see which is the more relevant communication.

What possible benefit could a charity, marketer, or anyone for that matter gain from continuing to send out emails to those that do not wish to receive them? Aggravating them? An unusual marketing tactic to be sure but I am hard pressed to think of any other reasons other than dishonesty, laziness or plain stupidity.

Email opt out should be obvious, easy and immediate. Those that are not doing so are just killing it for the rest of us.

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver, baseball lover
This entry was posted in Customer Experiences, Marketing stuff, Social Media. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The trouble with email opt-outs – they are killing what’s left of email marketing

  1. Bart Foreman says:

    Hi Mark:

    You are so right and this goes beyond just e-mail. How about those businesses that text you offers you don’t want. The way we communicate today is crazy. You are right about dishonesty, laziness AND plain stupidity. All three are in play but I believe there is a fourth – CHEAP and EASY. It’s cheap so let’s do it and grab the low hanging fruit.


  2. Nice post Mark.

    I’ve thought for a while that consumers want better tools to organize email into stuff they never want to miss — “must receive” stuff like utility turn off notices, “1 case of Ebola virus has been report in your child’s classroom” etc. and the rest. I wouldn’t mind opting into something that kept key notices at the top of my inbox in some way until I marked them as read if, and this is a BIG IF, it wasn’t abused. My daughter’s school has sent me 665 emails in the last year or so. I had to set a filter to keep them out of my work inbox. Might also be neat to have email rated by recipients as useful and then give us options to receive only the highest-rated email. People who want to get it all can sort through it for the rest of us.

    I still value email and it’s still a great marketing channel for some things. But I do really resent abuse. I have a feeling we’ll have more types of certified mail down the road.

    Then there is google wave and other things headed our way.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.