After a recent charity marketing group meeting the Chair wrote an email to explain that the group had agreed it would be a good idea to use emails collected at the last event. Nothing wrong with that, their plan was to add them to the e-mailshot, e-newsletter and ask them to join as members. Remembering that I often held a different opinion he wanted to offer a chance to respond.
He’s right and it boils down to the difference between a corporate communications versus a marketing communications mindset. Marcoms folks tend to focus on the sale in this case signing up new members, without a concern for their emails being considered as spam. A Corporate Communications mindset on the other hand is focussed on relationship building and reputation. Yes, you many have left your email when you signed in at one of our events. In doing so your thought might be that you would be sent presentation slides or asked for feedback. You were not given the choice about opting in and out of what else we might like to send you.
It’s just not good practice. What both areas agree on is ‘what’ should be done with contact details where we differ are in the ‘how’ we do it. Why ruin hard won reputation and respect by not being open and transparent about how you wish to use the email. Plan B is now to write and thank them for attending and ask if they would like to hear more about future events, if they are happy then continue with plan A. Volunteers have been provided with key messages that it is optional to do this and how the charity will protect the data. For the future sign in sheets will contain the message “if you wish to be added to our mailing please leave your email”. Do you come across similar situations where a subtle change of tactics keeps everyone happy? Is it unwritten etiquette? Old fashioned good manners? Perhaps the real difference between marketing and corporate communications is to treat people as you would be like to treated yourself and not as a commodity.