Live from DMD New York: Don’t Blame the Spam Filter

May 27, 2004 2:35 AM  By

New York—Marketers that use e-mail tend to view spam filters as a villain. But Michael Sippey, managing director of e-mail marketing agency Quris, told attendees at the DMD New York conference that such thinking is wrong.

“Your challenge as a marketer is not routing around a spam filter,” Sippey said during his Wednesday session, “How to Successfully Integrate E-mail into a Multichannel Marketing Strategy.” “It’s about creating a connection with your customers and e-mail messages that they want.”

The ideal e-mail message, Sippey said, is personal and timely, and have value-added. “Hitting at least two of the three is necessary to warrant use of the channel,” he continued. Otherwise, even if you don’t trigger the ISP’s spam filter, you could trigger the recipient’s “personal” filters—he could delete the message, for instance, or unsubscribe.

Blockbuster Video is one marketer that Sippey said uses e-mail effectively. It enables customers to opt in to receive a weekly e-newsletter detailing new video and DVD releases. Not only is it timely, but it’s also personal, in that each recipient can choose which genre of film he wants to hear about each week. And by providing synopses of the films, Blockbuster helps customers save time when they visit the store—a value-added feature.

Where across the customer experience can you use e-mail to instigate, facilitate, or follow up on a contact opportunity? Among the examples cited by Sippey: follow-up e-mails to offline or online information requests; appointment reminders; following up on first-time customer experiences. After you brainstorm opportunities, he added, don’t neglect to prioritize them by effect on your business and ease of implementation.